In the United States, products are moved from point to point by a number of different modes of transport; air, rail, water, and truck. Over the road transport by truck is an ever growing part of our national economy and vital to today’s supply chains. Truck freight delivers nearly 70 percent of all transported materials, whether it be raw or finished goods. The US has over 15 million trucks of which 2 million are tractor-trailers and the industry employs 3.5 million truck drivers and another 8.9 million people in trucking-related jobs. With $255 billion in annual revenue, carrying $670 billion worth of manufactured and retail goods across the North American continent you can easily see why it is important to nearly everyone.
With such a complex web of manpower, supply chains, costs, and schedules to consider, shippers must rely on companies such as Keystone Dedicated Logistics (KDL) for the management of their logistics. KDL is a comprehensive, transportation solutions provider that offers its clients services that optimize logistics efficiencies while saving them money. KDL helps clients to get their goods and raw materials from point A to point B in the most cost-efficient and practical manner possible, inclusive of transportation, warehousing, and distribution.
KDL was established in 1999 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of a large transportation and service organization. “We began as a division under an asset-based carrier,” says Ian Tsai, KDL’s Executive Vice President. “When I use the term ‘asset,’ I mean tractors, trailers, and drivers. Our division would procure rates from the asset-heavy companies, connect it to our rate shopping technology, and present it in the most cost effective manner for shippers.”
According to Tsai, KDL’s mission from the past to now is still the same – consulting, managing logistics, and supplying its customers with the best shipping solutions available although the landscape of the industry has changed profoundly with the coming of the computer age.
“Back then, if I was a traffic manager, I probably did not know all the carriers out there,” Tsai says. “A lot of the information was word-of-mouth, trade magazines, long-term relationships. Or you’d see a truck on the road and you’d call them to understand exactly what they do. But information technology has made it so simple for people today to Google search everything you need to know about a company.”
One company characteristic that keeps KDL ahead of the curve is its state-of-the-art technology platform. “Our competition is becoming more intense and the barrier to entry has lowered every year,” Tsai explains. “Because technology is becoming the norm, every buyer and every competitor is becoming smarter because of market research. Therefore, the way we differentiate is through leading edge technology that can help support shippers; it’s user friendly, predictable, and something that can be self-coached. Think of us like an Expedia or a Priceline. We are a technology platform that procures on shippers’ behalf and shows those rates in a single platform.”
While KDL’s services are offered nationwide, currently its customer base is predominantly located in the mid-Atlantic, the northeast, and the southeast. “Our typical customer is somebody that is classified as an SMB – a small to midsized business – somebody that does greater than $30 million on the top line up to $500 million,” Tsai says. “That’s our sweet spot. We do have clients that are much larger and those that are much smaller. Our client base is concentrated in diverse manufacturing and distribution markets ranging from industrial, retail, mining, automotive, oil and gas, parts and many others. We assist all customers with transportation of inbound raw materials, third party drop shipments, as well as, outbound shipments to their end customer.”
In addition to its technology advantage, Tsai says that KDL offers a more personalized service than many of its competitors. “We don’t close a sale without meeting a customer multiple times. At various milestones throughout the process and relationship, KDL representatives are on site interacting with our customers to understand their business goals and what value KDL can continue to add to their company.”
Tsai says KDL is constantly updating its ways of doing business – developing new business models that include à la carte services, expanding sales channels, and ramping up its marketing efforts. “I think KDL is very much a secret in the logistics industry,” Tsai admits. “In five years, we want to be an organization that is known for our technology and product lines that are in the forefront of our business powered by a collective group of employees that views every matter as customer first. In the end, we want to be able to deliver value and make our customers’ jobs simpler, effective, and predictable, while achieving both hard and soft dollar savings” he adds.
And that’s a good hard sell for a company that is transforming itself to be a leader in the logistics industry.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: A third party logistics (3PL) provider that offers its clients transportation services and logistics solutions
WHERE: :Headquarters in Carnegie, Pennsylvania
CTSI-Global – Formerly Continental Traffic Service, Inc., CTSI-Global is an international corporation that provides supply chain management solutions for all aspects of the supply chain. Its core services include transportation management, freight audit and payment, business intelligence, and global consulting. The company processes over three million transactions, daily, and over $9 billion in freight, annually. www.ctsi-global.com