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Five Star Transportation Case Study

Case Study: FIVE STAR TRANSPORTATION

2 December, 2021 | By Jacques Lamontagne

How Five Star Transportation Leveraged a Modern Last-Mile Transportation Management System to Diversify, and Ride out the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Five Star Transportation

  • Started in 2005
  • Based in Honolulu, HI & with satellite offices in Maui, and Kauai
  • Recently acquired shipping company Expediters Hawaii
  • A fleet of employee-driven box trucks, semis, cargo vans, tractor-trailers, and flatbeds
  • Diversified: trucking, logistics, distribution, cross-docking, warehousing, white glove delivery, and fulfillment
  • Serving freight forwarders, logistics providers, retailers, distributors, and home delivery providers
  • Maintains inventory for customers and ships last-mile either internally or transfer to 3rd party partners for small items.
  • Uses QuickBooks desktop for accounting and had an in-house developed delivery management system

OPPORTUNITY

Five Star Transportation needed to quickly diversify its portfolio of services to take advantage of explosive growth in e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment. They also needed to distribute risk across more business units to better insulate the company against unplanned economic setbacks.

”While the Covid pandemic has certainly presented many challenges to the distribution and logistics industry, the impact on Five Star was somewhat reduced since we were designated an essential business and we strategically diversified our business to help insulate it from economic setbacks”

Five Star President and CEO Michael Hruby – Pacific Business News

CHALLENGES

  • Drivers, not dispatchers, manually build their routes and establish what they anticipate as the probable best stop and load sequences, all based on personal experience
  • Dispatchers lack convenient tools to determine order status. Must verbally communicate with drivers to know if an order is on time, at-risk or running late.
  • WISMO (Where IS My Order) call volume from consumer to the customer to Five Star is huge
  • Manual order tracking and notifications. Frequent customer calls to enquire about their orders at pick-up and before delivery
  • Laborious manual system to track email signatures or photo POD (Proofs of Delivery)
  • Must manually maintain over 50 different price models (fixed, piece, pallet, distance, FTL, LTL, cubed, vehicle type, service level, etc.) on different spreadsheets, with quotes delivered manually over phone or email
  • Lack a customer portal for self-service customer order entry, price quotes, and order tracking
  • Custom white glove delivery processes are entirely manual, with no mechanism to ensure compliance
  • Hiring and retaining drivers is an ongoing challenge, and training costs are rising
  • No way to capture wait time for drivers
  • All transportation and delivery documentation are paper-based with verification occurring separately once all documents have been assembled
  • No barcode capture capability
  • With diversification, Five Star must maintain a growing number of one-way and two-way API (Application Programming Interface) integrations with 3rd party systems like Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, UPS, or 3PL Central WMS

5 DISPATCH SCIENCE TECHNOLOGIES THAT HELPED FIVE STAR TRANSPORTATION DIVERSIFY AND GROW


Route Optimization

OMNICHANNEL DELIVERY MANAGEMENT

Before – Poor visibility and different tools between channels
Difficult to plan fulfillment between Point A and Point B depending on the channel: From warehouse to customer, from manufacturer to customer, from 3PL fulfillment center to customer, from store to customer, or from manufacturer to store for customer pick-up.

After – A Single platform for all types of dispatching
The same software platform provides total flexibility for dispatchers to organize deliveries using the best tool for the job to ensure that route quality is always optimized, and costs are kept at a minimum.

Benefits
Best-of-breed delivery management software dramatically increases dispatcher productivity, and new driver training is easier because pre-optimized routes and stop lists are automatically fed to the mobile phones of less experienced drivers.


Pricing

POWERFUL RATING ENGINE

Before – Over 50 different rating spreadsheets with no way to quickly prepare and send quotes to customers
Having to cross-check between multiple rating sheets, and often perform manual calculations to add various kinds of accessorial fees was time-consuming, difficult to explain, and error-prone. 

After – 100% accurate Instant quotes for any type of service
Because the quotes are embedded in the order-entry process, there is no need to search for them or perform manual calculations. Better yet, the customer self-serve order-entry portal allows clients to input their pre-orders directly in the system and instantly receive quotes without having to email or call their Five Star representative.

Benefits
The reduction in time spent preparing quotes and fixing errors allowed Five Star to reallocate sales and support resources to other, more productive tasks.


Notifications and predictive ETA's

NOTIFICATIONS AND PREDICTIVE ETA’S

Before – Poor visibility on orders, hundreds of daily phone calls
A huge amount of time was wasted over the phone between consumers, customers, and Five Star because the only way to know when an order would arrive was to call the driver. 

After – Automated notifications plus predictive ETAs
Customers and even last-mile recipients can see, in real-time and via notification, the status of all their orders, including predictive ETA’s.

Benefits
No more WISMO (Where Is My Order) calls, and end-users stopped worrying about the arrival time of their goods.


Workflows

ENFORCEABLE WHITE GLOVE DELIVERY PROCESSES

Before – Difficult implementation, complex oversight, cumbersome quality control
Specialized retail white-glove workflows like those required for in-store cooler delivery and installation were paper-based and complex to implement and maintain. Management could not easily confirm whether instructions were followed or not, causing compliance issues, and drivers had no easy tools to properly get the job done according to spec.

After – Simple in-house configuration
The in-app workflow capabilities make it easy to implement a paperless custom process for retail customers. Non-technical Five Star staff can build custom enforceable tasks such as:

  • In-app reminder to carry the required tools for installation before departure
  • 2D, 3D, QR barcode capture – with a timestamp – for required items, at pickup, and at delivery
  • Step-by-step installation instructions
  • Paperless in-app PDF troubleshooting guide
  • In-app wait/work time driver input
  • Mandatory photo-proof of the completed installation

Benefits
Dispatch Science’s dispatch app workflow tools help design and implement custom white-glove delivery procedures, ensure compliance, and reduce driver training costs.


API

API

Before – Dependent on software vendor resources and availability
Integrations were dependent on the software vendor’s release calendar, available resources, and immediate priorities.

After – In-house development and deployment
The Dispatch Science open API enabled custom communication between systems via rule-driven flags. It empowers and liberates in-house IT to develop and implement new integrations without external reliance, and to expand the system on their own. They are now able to offer clients an easy-to-use API for ordering, tracking, and updates.

Benefits
Reduced reliance on software vendor for 3rd party integrations.


OVERALL RESULTS

  • Increased omnichannel delivery management capabilities
  • Increased quality and lower costs for each delivery run
  • Greater autonomy for developing custom workflows and integrations
  • Dramatically reduced WISMO Customer Calls
  • Improved driver recruitment and training
  • Increased driver compliance
  • Automated custom communications
  • Increased autonomy for development and implementation of 3rd party integrations

“Dispatch Science is a robust track and tracing platform to support final mile delivery”

Michael Hruby, CEO Five Star Transportation

 

FIND OUT HOW DISPATCH SCIENCE TMS CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LAST-MILE LOGISTICS BUSINESS AS IT DID FOR FIVE STAR TRANSPORTATION

 

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