EDI connectivity reduces manual data entry for CAI Logistics

Red truck driving through mountains

CAI Logistics is a leading expert in intermodal, highway, and international shipping. As a division of CAI International, Inc., CAI Logistics uses its well-established industry presence to provide a wealth of benefits including legacy railroad direct contracts, a company-owned and operated office network, freight forwarding and NVOCC services, and non-asset-based capacity solutions to its customers. Its unique customer-centric approach allows CAI Logistics to design creative and custom solutions whether shipping goods regionally, across North America or to destinations overseas.

Automatic data transfer with EDI

For many years, CAI Logistics has managed full truckload and flatbed freight for one of the largest global suppliers of steel products. Two years ago, CAI Logistics’ steel customer switched from managing its freight via a well-known transportation execution system to the Transporeon transportation management platform. The Transporeon platform gives carriers like CAI Logistics a cloud-based interface to book shipments and manage dock scheduling for pick-ups and deliveries.

Currently, CAI Logistics uses its own in-house transportation management system (TMS), which is connected to Transporeon using electronic data interchange (EDI) for seamless data transfer. This allows CAI Logistics’ specialists to work directly within its familiar in-house TMS.

“Everything automatically updates,” says Susan Peacey, Senior Logistics Specialist at CAI Logistics. Noting that the EDI connection eliminates most manual data entry tasks, even when a load does need to be manually updated, “it’s a much quicker process,” she says.

Reduced administrative workload, added visibility

Previously, Peacey was used to setting up appointments and entering planned delivery dates into the shipper’s old execution system. With visibility into only about one week’s worth of appointments, the system had definite limitations.

“You couldn’t get too far ahead,” says Peacey. “On top of that, everything had to be manually updated in the system.”

Every time a shipment was delivered, Peacey had to go into the system and manually enter the details, such as the bill of lading number, the time the driver arrived and the time unloading finished. The process included frequent, hands-on work in the system, requiring Peacey to monotonously type information into one field at a time, save it and repeat the process in the next field in order to update the shipment data.

“It took forever,” Peacey says.

At the time, Peacey was managing 20 shipments per day, on average, for just one of the shipper’s mills, so the administrative workload could quickly get overwhelming.

“Now that we’re using Transporeon, our job has been streamlined due to how user-friendly and efficient it is,” Peacey notes. “Our old system wasn’t as clean, and it was a lot more difficult and time consuming to use.”

Peacey likes the fact that she can now view the available appointments one month in advance rather than being limited to only a week. CAI Logistics set up Transporeon to automatically accept all shipments from their steel customer except for those from one specific mill. For that mill, Peacey manually accepts the shipments, but notes that even the manual updates are much quicker in Transporeon—she simply enters a time, saves it and the shipment is booked.

Improved appointment scheduling

As a non-asset-owning logistics service provider, CAI Logistics also uses Transporeon Dock Scheduling to set appointments for its managed carrier base. If she doesn’t have a truck available right away, Peacey is able to enter the planned delivery date as an open booking. She says she appreciates the flexibility that the Transporeon Dock Scheduling platform offers.

“If the mill has an appointment available or if they’re running late, it’s nice to be able to go in and adjust the appointment if needed,” says Peacey.

Greater control with information from Transporeon

Working with the Transporeon platform helps CAI Logistics streamline its processes and keep a precise history of all transportation moves for its shipper. The carrier also leverages the information in Transporeon to produce an automated weekly report for any internal stakeholders who are involved with that specific customer account.

Peacey uses the report to put together a recap of what happened during the week out of each mill, noting that the report helps her team understand whether volumes are increasing or decreasing at the mill level, and why that might be.

“It helps me see if we’re experiencing issues with a certain mill,” says Peacey, “and it allows everybody to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the company.”

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