Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Ryan Transportation is one of the industry’s most trusted freight brokerages and managed transportation service providers. The billing department, a team led by Ryan Transportation Controller Joseph Heater, plays a critical role in the company’s success, but until recently, team members were hampered by time-consuming manual documentation processes.
Specifically, the team had to manually extract data from email or PDF formats for input into their system to ensure accurate billing and enable completion of other key tasks that deliver value to customers. Time spent on manual data extraction and input consumed a significant part of up to 40 team members’ workdays, which wasn’t an efficient use of their skills and kept them from doing more strategic work.
Heater was looking for a way to automate those manual processes so that the team could operate more efficiently and spend additional time on work that directly benefits customers. He knew that an automation solution that could capture and process information would also improve team member job satisfaction by enabling employees to fully leverage their skills and focus on critical value-add tasks.
“When we learned of the challenges Ryan Transportation was facing, we knew we could deliver a customized solution to ease their pain,” said Mario Duckett, Senior Vice President of Growth for Brokers and Factors at Transflo. “Our team spent a great amount of time understanding what processes and roadblocks challenged the organization’s efficiency, which made our recommendation to implement Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solution the obvious choice.”
After assessing multiple options, Heater and the Ryan Transportation team chose Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solutions. Heater notes that the Transflo team’s experience in the transportation sector, their ability to speak the industry’s language, and their comprehensive understanding of what the Ryan Transportation team was trying to accomplish with automation were among the decisive factors.
A transportation industry veteran himself, Heater understands the value of working with a vendor that has participated in the sector’s technology evolution. But what sealed the deal was a live demo that proved Transflo’s technology could deliver. The Ryan Transportation team provided documents for Transflo to process via automation, including documents with missing information or mismatched data.
“To see Transflo’s Intelligent Automation process real-world documents and see it do what we needed it to do in real time was the deciding factor,” Heater said.
Heater also reports that phase one implementation of Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solutions was rapid and seamless. The Transflo team offered onsite support and assisted with customizations to improve functionality. Heater noted that, unlike competitors who had never heard of the operating system Ryan Transportation uses, Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solutions are already integrated with the system, which significantly streamlined deployment.
“Transflo knows the terminology from more than 30 years of transportation industry experience, and it was immediately apparent that they understood our pain points,” Heater said. “That gave us a high-level of confidence. It was clear Transflo knew our business, they knew what the problems were, and they had already developed technology to address those issues. They’re not a tech company that is trying to solve a lot of problems for a lot of different industries. They’re specialized in our industry.”
Ryan Transportation met its initial goals after Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solution was implemented in phase one, leading to an immediate improvement of 15% in overall department efficiency.
The billing department previously handled 100% of incoming paperwork manually, and now 90% of it is automated, saving one to two hours per day for each member of the team. This equates to 400 hours saved per week, allowing employees to focus on more strategic tasks. At the time of implementation, it is estimated that the addition of Transflo technology equated to hiring three full-time employees, leading to over $135,000 in savings per year for the organization based on industry average hourly rates.
Heater reports that the time saved increases the billing department’s efficiency exponentially. Department team members, who are knowledge workers, are now able to spend their time more productively on tasks that require their expertise and add value to the operation. This enables the company to scale up more quickly without adding to the headcount as rapidly as it did in the past.
With Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solution onboard, the team can spend more time reaching out to carriers to accelerate billing if paperwork is missing. Automation also allows the team to process more loads each and complete other mission-critical tasks. Since implementation, Ryan Transportation has seen a 10% increase in loads billed per day. The team has spent a sizeable portion of the efficiency gains on training, cross training, reducing outstanding unbilled loads and onboarding new accounts more effectively.
“Transflo doesn’t just give customers a standard, out-of-the-box solution — they partner with you to solve your unique problems,” Heater noted. “The energy and enthusiasm the Transflo team brings to problem-solving is so refreshing. They tailor solutions to address our unique pain points, and they work with us to incorporate workflow solutions we developed internally so that we are solving problems together, all with a goal to improve efficiency and scalability at Ryan Transportation.”
The initial rollout was completed in under four months and has been such a success that Ryan Transportation has plans to expand their use of Transflo’s Intelligent Automation solutions. Soon, the company will add a feature to detect and eliminate duplicate paperwork to reduce document storage requirements, and eventually Ryan Transportation will add a function that automatically verifies data in documents against information in the company’s system, automating another task that is done manually.
“We originally set out to accomplish three goals,” Heater said. “We wanted to eliminate manual tasks that weren’t adding value, improve team member job satisfaction by leveraging their knowledge and talent, and we wanted to make significant efficiency gains. We achieved all three goals with Transflo. The technology works as promised, and the Transflo team continues to work with us to make it even better.”