Real-time Freight Visibility Elevates Customer Experience

A leading producer of graphic, specialty, and packaging paper and market pulp, Billerud (formerly Verso Corporation) deployed Descartes MacroPoint™ to enhance load visibility of paper products delivered to approximately 200 customers across the U.S. and Canada. Fully integrated with SAP Transportation Management (TM) and MercuryGate transportation management system (TMS), the Descartes solution boosted productivity, increased critical tracking efficiency, and transformed the customer experience with real-time delivery updates.

The Challenge: Inefficient & Costly Manual Tracking

With two manufacturing locations, two distribution centers, and 30 local warehouses, Billerud’s time-consuming manual tracking practices created frequent in-transit visibility gaps, forcing customer service representatives to routinely interrupt the logistics team to ascertain the status of customer loads. Manual tracking consumed several hours per person per day, with hundreds of hours per month lost to this inefficient process. When possible, EDI data from carriers was uploaded into a portal used by customers to track their own orders but high carrier turnover rates further complicated the process. Given customers’ tight press deadlines, late shipments were costly; press downtime translated to thousands of dollars in lost revenue for customers—a cost typically covered by Billerud.

“We strive to put as much information into our customers’ hands as possible. With Descartes MacroPoint, we can provide our customers with real-time shipment updates and take proactive action to minimize disruptions and costly late deliveries. The Descartes solution has made a world of difference to our operations and our ability to nurture our longstanding customer relationships.”

-- Mike Dailey, Manager, Corporate Logistics, Billerud

The Solution: Delivery Visibility Drives Performance

The disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and other market pressures led Billerud to refocus its business to create leaner, more efficient operations to better serve its U.S. and Canadian customer base. Verso reduced corporate staffing levels by 50% and made some strategic market and customer shifts to enable the company to meet customer demands with a smaller team.

“While we consolidated our staff, order volume didn’t decrease in parallel, so we needed to find a way to do more with less—and Descartes MacroPoint is a key driver of that capability,” said Mike Dailey, Manager of Corporate Logistics at Billerud.

Verso replaced its manual tracking process with the automated Descartes MacroPoint freight visibility platform, seamlessly integrated with SAP TM and MercuryGate TMS. The paper manufacturer can track shipments in real-time to improve on-time deliveries, reduce late penalties, and heighten customer service by keeping clients up-to-date on the status of their delivery.

Working with mostly ELD-connected carriers, including a large number of smaller carriers, Billerud's mix of users tracks the delivery status of approximately 100 loads per day, either within their TMS or directly from their Descartes MacroPoint screen.

“Our senior management fell in love with the fact that they could now view truck status and location on a map, knowing that they were seeing the latest real-time updates,” said Dailey. “We even projected Descartes MacroPoint onto a big screen in the lobby of our offices!”

He added, “Many of our customers have freight that needs to be tracked over a weekend, when most staff are off. With Descartes MacroPoint, we’re able to track those loads reliably with a skeleton staff, helping to strengthen our longstanding customer relationships.” The Results 

Increased Productivity
Manual tracking practices were costing Billerud hundreds of staff hours per month. By transitioning to real-time freight visibility and automated updates, the company increased tracking efficiency and effectiveness using a smaller team.

Elevated Customer Service
With Descartes MacroPoint, Billerud can keep customers up-to-date with delivery location and status, minimizing the previously high volume of calls from customer service reps. Using real-time data, the company can respond quickly to any transportation disruptions or delivery delays. 

Cost Savings
The automated Descartes solution saves Billerud many hours per day in labor costs. By improving on-time delivery performance, Billerud can meet its customers’ tight deadlines and minimize their press downtime, which translates to reduced late delivery penalties. Simplified Carrier Collaboration
Load status data is pulled into Descartes MacroPoint through carriers’ ELD connections, simplifying the workflow for carriers and the logistics team. Drivers can focus on driving, confident that real-time tracking data is being uploaded automatically.

Success Story



Why Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility is Essential in Today's Environment

This guide explores how companies can leverage supply chain visibility solutions to improve operations and be prepared to pivot in times of extreme volatility.


Descartes MacroPoint™

Descartes MacroPoint is a global freight visibility platform for shippers, brokers and 3PLs. View, analyze, predict, and communicate the status of any shipment in real time using ETAs, predictive analytics, and an automated carrier network enabling “Manage by Exception” capabilities and AI-based capacity sourcing.

Recommended For You

ROI Behind Freight Visibility eBook
Global supply chain visibility is a hot topic in today’s challenging business climate. Effective visibility tools are crucial to meet evolving customer expectations as competitors continue to raise the bar on distribution service and performance.
Albertsons Taps Descartes MacroPoint
Albertsons integrated Descartes MacroPoint with its transportation management system to enable real-time tracking of its fresh produce products. After finding great success, they extended the visibility platform to shipments between its manufacturing and distribution facilities as well.

Interested in learning more about Descartes TM Solutions?