The online news magazine of Atlas® World Group.
October 25, 2019

Full Shipment Visibility and More Control of the Process

  • Logistics
Among its many services, Atlas Logistics® serves two distinct shipment needs of the agent family:

  • For Specialized Transportation Group (STG), Logistics locates tonnage for agent trucks and drivers
  • For Household Goods (HHG), the task is to find the best carriers for containerized moves

In both cases, Atlas Logistics® utilizes systems that provide agents with direct access to shipment opportunities and status updates, with complete visibility of shipment details and performance. “The result is more control of the process,” says Phil Wahl, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Atlas Logistics. “The whole flow of the shipment is managed in one place,” he says.

For STG, Atlas® IT developed a module in AtlasNet® so agents can see hauling opportunities firsthand, online. “Now, when agents are looking for tonnage for their trucks, it’s a one-step process. Before it was three to four steps, including phone calls or emails to us,” says Derek Snyder, Manager, Truck Load Services. Phil adds that “agents can pluck a shipment right out of the system, make it theirs, and keep in direct contact with the whole shipment.”

Tom Brouder, Fleet Planning Manager of Specialty Moving Services, Inc. (1811), says “the system makes it possible for me to do my job with a dispatcher, because it takes care of 75% of what a dispatcher does.” Tom goes on to say that “we use the system for 100% of interstate shipments.”

“We’re always looking for ways to give our agents a competitive advantage in the market. Complete access to available traffic is a huge advantage,” says Phil. AtlasNet lets agents plan their trucks without having to call or email Atlas. It’s much more fluid for the agent, allowing quicker response and planning. “All of our large haulers on the STG side of the business are using the system,” says Phil.

Containerized HHG
On the Household Goods (HHG) side, Atlas provides access to the Mercury Gate TMS portal from DLS, a division of RR Donnelley. Used primarily for HHG containerized shipments, “access to Mercury Gate is part of the Atlas small shipment solution,” says Phil.

Megan Rinearson, Manager, Logistics LTL Services, explains that “when an agent uses the portal to offer a containerized HHG move, they get a price back from seven to nine LTL carriers.” The agent sees the responses directly, and can make their own choice based on price, transit time, reliability, or any other variables. Terri Palmer-Burton, Vice President of National Accounts for Palmer Moving & Storage (1641) confirms that “The ease of quoting, varied LTL carrier, and transit options provide a great opportunity to offer service solutions to
customers with challenging schedules. The portal is a value-added service differentiator for our agent family.”

Updates about HHG shipments come directly from the LTL to the agent, increasing the timeliness of response to Atlas customers. “It’s more time an agent can spend with a customer, and less to tracking down the details of a shipment,” adds Megan. Nita Pennington, Dispatch Manager at Ace Relocation Systems, Inc. of Austin and San Antonio, TX (0066) adds “I can track my shipments, and I don’t have to bother someone for a status. ‘Poof,’ it’s right at my fingertips.”

The reporting feature of Mercury Gate is robust, allowing clear explanations of the performance quality of competing carriers. Atlas Local Movers can pull their own reports, based on criteria they choose.
  For STG, Development Was a Combined Agent and HQ Effort  
   “The vision had to be a group effort,” says Tom of Specialty Moving (1811), when referring to the AtlasNet® module for STG. “Our role was to tell the IT teams what we needed,” he adds. The IT team on this project was headed by Ryan Parmenter, Director IT Development. “Ryan’s team had to have the vision to program it,” says Tom. Atlas Local Movers and IT members discussed the system frequently, and improved it significantly since early 2017. Phil says, “What at first seemed unattainable came together one step at a time. Then, we got there!” Phil, Megan and Derek all three noted simultaneously that “The system will continue to evolve.”