Achieving Real-time Visibility into Expedited Freight with Descartes MacroPoint™

The importance of real-time shipment visibility is increasing for shippers and carriers. Descartes MacroPoint is an elegant way for carriers to provide accurate, reliable location data, and a critical way for all supply chain participants to benefit from real-time insights that can increase productivity and save costs.

Justin Scrivner, General Manager,  Atlantic-Pacific Express

As one of the largest freight brokers in the Southeast and one of the 25 fastest growing companies in South Carolina, providing on-time and dependable trucking services is essential for expedited freight specialist Atlantic-Pacific Express. In a business where every shipment is extremely time-sensitive, whether longer haul or last minute overnight deliveries, the company was able to automate load tracking efforts to improve productivity and service performance by using the Descartes MacroPoint™ freight visibility platform for its 24x7 operations.

The Challenge: Gain Greater Supply Chain Visibility

Since 1999, Atlantic-Pacific Express has been a trusted leader in serving diverse industries with shipping needs, with some of its larger customer segments including automotive, fabrication and nuclear manufacturers. When its shipper customers expressed a growing need for more real-time insight into the location and status of freight, Atlantic sought a technology-based solution to provide greater supply chain visibility. Simple manual track-and-trace methods were no longer an adequate way to gain insight into increasingly complicated supply chains. With 1,500 loads per month on average, Atlantic’s 10-person team was consumed with 3-5 check calls—per load—to carriers and drivers. By automating freight tracking, Atlantic could eliminate the need for these calls and provide faster, more accurate status information—boosting its own productivity, enhancing carrier operations and improving driver safety.

The Solution: Cloud-based, Automated Load Tracking

Priding itself on punctual deliveries and communication that goes beyond customer expectations, Atlantic has forged excellent shipper relationships and developed many long-standing partnerships with both owner/operators and carriers. Two years ago, then, when freight visibility gained traction with the company’s customers as a competitive advantage for bringing products to market, Atlantic replaced its manual track-and-trace practices with a technology-enabled solution, integrated with its TMS, for true end-to-end visibility.

While most carriers in its pool of freight haulers did not have any automated load tracking capabilities at the time, today, the majority of Atlantic’s 1000+ carriers are now using the Descartes MacroPoint solution to help monitor the on-time delivery of goods. The cloud-based software provides real-time load location visibility using cell phone, as well as in-cab ELD/GPS device or trailer and container tracking system. Atlantic’s customers now receive automated departure, pre-arrival and arrival notifications—as well as notifications in the event of a delay (e.g., weather, traffic, etc.), which helps them better plan their business operations accordingly.

With Descartes MacroPoint, carriers no longer get 20+ check calls a day from the track-and-trace department to update the status of every load, and Atlantic no longer has to call drivers—increasing on-road safety by removing the potential distraction of phone use while driving. “Freight tracking is now much more intelligent and the solution has really cut down on the redundancy inherent in a manual approach,” said Justin Scrivner, General Manager at Atlantic-Pacific Express.

Descartes MacroPoint has also helped to minimize the risk of late deliveries, unreported delays and finding out after the fact about costly detention time. For Atlantic, this is especially important for overnight deliveries or for loads with longer transit times, typically 300 miles and over. “Now, detentions are rarely a surprise,” explained Scrivner. “In the event of a potential delay, having real-time freight visibility data helps all parties communicate more effectively and work through issues proactively.”

Freight transportation is a fast-paced, oftentimes sensitive process that can be affected at any moment by a variety of factors. With Descartes MacroPoint, Atlantic is more responsive to challenges that can slow down the process for all stakeholders, and it helps the company with its guiding mission to “treat each job as the most important one we could perform.”


The Results

Increased Productivity

By eliminating more clerical manual load tracking efforts and automatically meeting carrier freight visibility requirements, Atlantic has gained between 65% and 75% of higher value productive time to secure new freight hauling opportunities and boost revenue.

Reduced Costs

Integrated with Atlantic’s TMS, Descartes MacroPoint quickly and accurately provides updated freight location and status information, eliminating the need to manually track loads. With 1,500 loads per month on average, this has saved the company from making hundreds of check calls to carriers and drivers.

More Efficient Operations

Descartes MacroPoint has helped Atlantic eliminate the need for time-consuming and ineffective check calls to determine load location details, streamline transportation operations, improve communication about in-transit freight across the supply chain, and enhance driver safety.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

By using a single platform for more frequent and detailed automatic updates on load status, including in-transit updates and arrivals/departures at pick-up/destination locations, Atlantic has enhanced overall supply chain communication and coordination for the brokerage, its carriers and drivers.