Leonard’s Express began life with a single truck. Four decades later, the truckload operator has grown into a company with 450 trucks and 500 drivers across the nation. Christopher DeMillo, information systems manager at Leonard’s, said this growth has come from the carrier’s “continuous investment in our greatest asset – our people – coupled with recognizing opportunities and being agile enough to adapt to an ever-evolving industry.”
Leonard’s Express is an active user of SMC³’s Cost Intelligence System tool. DeMillo recently spoke with SMC³ about how the carrier uses that tool to increase its profitability and how he sees the current domestic transportation landscape.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities on the horizon for Leonard’s Express?
As the industry matures and we grow with it, keeping up with the vast amount of data we are generating on a daily basis is very demanding. Capturing this plethora of data is challenging on its own, but to analyze and make sense of it all, and to deliver intelligence back to the business, presents an even larger challenge.
At Leonard’s Express, using data to discover and understand the true cost of doing business across our organization is a priority and goal. Being able to understand profitability with a customer or within a lane is critical to stay ahead of industry trends and to maintain best-in-class service. This initiative becomes even more critical due to the elevated speed of change and innovation within our network and the industry.
How does Leonard’s use technology to overcome those challenges?
We have invested in several technology tools that enable us to capture data from multiple systems, store it centrally, and have the ability to view this data intelligently across many data-points. One of the pieces of software we have invested in is the SMC³ Cost Intelligence System, which has proven to reveal true costs of doing business and profitability at a macro and micro level.
This software has helped us provide better service to our customers by providing more accurate pricing and to help correct imbalances within our network of lanes. This lends to better delivery compliance and better performance when handling the freight. The data that the software is providing to Leonard’s helps us know where we perform well at profitable levels versus not. Knowing that is key when deciding to move the next piece of freight.
How has your relationship with SMC³ and the use of the Cost Intelligence System changed your operations?
This software has been used to help identify imbalances within our lanes, and to provide the business greater insight into which pieces of business we want to continue and which we need to part ways with. Our sales team is using this data directly in pricing new lanes, and our operations team has been able to use this when planning out our head hauls and backhauls. The devil is always in the details, and that’s exactly what this piece of software does for us – provide detail.
Having access to the cost breakdown right from our financials on a per-mile basis, we are able to accurately see what is driving our expense per load, per customer and per lane. Before using the Cost Intelligence System, we were not able to confidently part ways with what we considered “good freight,” which after analyzing were found not to be not profitable or conducive to running our operations at an optimal level.
Is it necessary for carriers to partner with technology providers like SMC³ in the current climate?
We feel it is absolutely necessary for carriers to partner with SMC³ in order to help understand their true costs of doing business. The data is invaluable, and the software is another critical tool in the box to use in your daily operations. Knowing beforehand if that next load is going to be profitable or not based on your own performance and financial data is valuable when assessing new business, as well as helping the driving force to become more efficient and happier with the freight that they haul. SMC³’s customer support is top-notch in helping you root out data validity problems, helping you understand the plethora of data points the software provides, as well as configuring the software based on your operational activity.