2019Q1NewsletterLogisticsTechnologyLearn how Columbian Logistics Networkis investing in it’s tech infrastructure to providecustomers with competitive advantage.Q1 Leadership Notes2019 is in full swing here at Columbian, and it’s an exciting year. We’re building on our skillsin our software platforms, and developing unique solutions for a number of great customers.Take a look through the next few pages to see where we’ve invested time and money, andwhat’s been happening around the company.Bob ChristianExecutive Vice PresidentPG 2 Synapse WMS PG 3 McCleod TMSPG 4-5 Company News
Q1 NewsletterColumbian Logistics Network Invests InWarehousing Technology Upgrade2019 is well underway and off to a great start. Over the last several months,Columbian Logistics Network has been hard at work implementing anew warehouse management system to better support the needs of ourcustomers. The all-hands-on-deck rollout of Synapse has been completedon time, on budget, and is actively serving customers with optimizedreporting, customizable billing and enhanced ecommerce capabilities.Why Make a Change?Over the last few years, we’ve made upgrades to our transportationmanagement system (TMS), our accounting system, and our yardmanagement system (YMS), all to better service our customers acrossour transportation and integrated service offerings. With those businessunits now operating on world class software, we turned our eye towardour warehouse business. While our legacy WMS system had performedwell for us over many years over a 20 year relationship, we came to therealization that in order to fuel an aggressive growth strategy, we neededto upgrade our capabilities in our core business of public warehousing.Today’s WMS products are more agile, more resilient, and more securethan what we were working with, and it was time to bring our publicwarehouse operations onto a more currentplatform.Why Synapse?Synapse is a WMS product, provided byDowners Grove, Illinois based companyZethcon. The leadership team at Zethcon holds over 100 years ofexperience in the 3PL warehouse industry, backed by a strong foundationin relational databases and software interface development. Zethcon isa highly involved member of numerous industry groups and active on thenational conference speaking circuit. After surveying more than a dozenproviders from around the country, we chose Zethcon for their leadership,their vision, their community of active users, and most importantly, theirproduct. We believe that we now have the best WMS product availableto public warehouse operators anywhere.How did we do it?Let’s be honest, it was A LOT of work. Dating all the way back to 2016, weat Columbian started to consider whether we wanted to take an upgradeto the latest version of our existing system or go shopping. In that process,we executed nearly a thousand different test scenarios, ultimately comingto the agreement that we needed to look around the marketplace for2Learn more about Synapse here: http://zethcon.com/synapse-3pl-wms/another product. In 2017, we executed a RFI process that started with 13providers responding, then 6 of those placing bids, a final 3 candidates,and ultimately Zethcon winning the business. That process took most of theyear in 2017, and we signed an agreement in late December of that year.In 2018, it was all systems go for the rollout. We started with technicalintegration in January, Super User training in February, and our first clientswent live in March. For the rest of the year in 2018, every single memberof the Columbian team had a hand in delivering a successful integration.Some were directly involved, and some not. Some were directly impacted,and some only informed. Either way, the scale and scope of the changeof a WMS system affects more users, more business processes, and morecustomers than any other change in an organization like ours. A heartythank you and congratulations goes out to the project team and the entireColumbian base who made this transition happen.What’s in it for the Customer?So what’s in this change for the customer? A lot! Synapse runs on a SQLdatabase, which makes accessing data, rendering it, and manipulatingit for reporting far simpler. We have more ways to set up and designour billing processes for customers whoneed unique billing solutions that previouslywere tracked manually. We have a betterinterface into parcel shipping systems, aswell as e-commerce platforms for direct toconsumer shipping. To further bolster ourcapabilities in an Amazon-driven world,we also have better order batching and wave releasing capabilities thanwe ever had. We offer a far simpler template for importing orders andreceipts, eliminating the need to contact a customer service representativefor every single shipment. To put it simply, it’s never been easier ormore transparent to do warehousing business with Columbian LogisticsNetwork, and we’re pretty proud of that.Where do we go from here?So where do we go from here? We grow. We are better poised togrow into deeper relationships with existing customers. We are poisedto provide warehousing and value-added services to a broader set ofnew customers. We grow faster. We grow more economical, and wegrow more agile. This transition is directly in line with our core valuesof Performance, Agility, and Legendary Customer Service. We welcomeboth current and future customers to reach out and ask us how Synapsecan help Columbian meet your business goals.Our silence from last year, like our implementation project, is a thing of thepast. Expect to hear and see more from us in 2019, and we look forwardto building Columbian into the preeminent provider of 3PL services in ourarea.
Q1 NewsletterMcCleod Transportation Software Q&ANot to be outdone by the work that went into the WMS in 2018,Columbian’s transportation groups are still building on the foundation ofexpertise that began to build 2017. It was then that CLN’s transportationgroups upgraded their TMS to a state of the art platform provided byMcLeod. Blair Thomas recently sat down with Paul Laidler, the DivisionalManager for Columbian Logistics Management, for an overview of thesystem’s capabilities:Blair Thomas: When did you go live on McLeod, and what did you leavebehind?Paul Laidler: About second quarter of 2017. We went through a searchjust like the organization did for the WMS, and selected McLeod froma group of capable providers. We had been running our asset businesson an old system called Creative, and the logistics management groupwas running MercuryGate. MercuryGate was fine, but it didn’t havean asset-based module built in, and we really wantedto have both sides of the business operating in the samesystem. Creative was extremely old, unsupported, andrepresented an intolerable risk to the business if anythinghad gone wrong. It also caused a lot of manual processesand workarounds. With McLeod, we consolidatedeverything onto one platform.relationships with customer have improved.Thomas: Awesome, is that it?Laidler: Not at all. The ability to mine historical data across service profileshas been huge for customer satisfaction. Our status updates throughMcLeod’s Rapid Alerts feature are event driven, customized, and superuser friendly. We’ve also made improvements to the clarity and structureof our billing to customers, including being able to ring the cash registeron non-standard activities in an automated way.Thomas: You mentioned that customer relationships have improved. Canyou provide an example or two of how McLeod has helped you drivevalue for your customers?Laidler: Of course. A quick one that comes to mind is that we recentlyprovided a dual-factor authentication program fora client who makes a high value pharmaceuticalnutrition product line. Our business rule is that thedriver is never allowed to de-couple from the trailer.The customer embeds GPS trackers into the freightitself, and then we are using Macro-Point, an APIenabled software to constantly sync the driver’slocation and the location of the freight. If thoseThomas: You say “everything”- describe the breadth ofseparate by more than 50 feet or so, red flagsservices you’re currently providing via McLeod.start flying fast. For another one, we’ve had a fewcustomers love our imaging database. Every pieceLaidler: It’s a full range. We run traditional domesticof documentation that gets generated with one ofPaul Laidler, Short Haul Division Managertruckload (TL) and less than truckload (LTL), internationalour load, like a Bill of Lading, packing list, lumpershipments to and from Mexico and Canada, intermodalreceipt, scale ticket, border documents, and others,freight, drayage, and even our hyper-local switching andget imaged, linked to the order and the load, and areshuttling services are all on the platform.available at a moment’s notice. We’ve helped our customers shut down awhole lot of arguments by providing clear, reliable documentation at theThomas: Describe for me some of the capabilities you have now that you drop of a hat.didn’t have before.Thomas: Last question what’s your favorite feature in the system?Laidler: First and foremost, we were being left behind without the abilityto integrate via EDI and APIs, which was hurting our business. Another Laidler: (laughs) Well, the rest of the crew will probably have a differentquick gain was the ability to provide a web portal for load and shipment opinion, but I love the “Performance” button. From any screen in thevisibility to customers, partner carriers, and even drivers. Those are pretty system, I can click one button and get to a real-time dashboard that showsstraightforward, but one of the biggest gains we made was in the ability me load counts, revenue, margin, and a whole bunch of other KPIs overto pass loads “across the fence” between our asset trucking business and variable time frames. It’s made me a better boss!our logistics management business. In the past, if the asset supervisorcouldn’t cover a certain number of loads for a customer, we had to turn Thomas: Paul, thanks for your time today. Your enthusiasm comes throughdown revenue. Now, we can slide anything above our asset capacity palpably, and it was great to learn about your systems and capabilities.over to the logistics side, cover all those loads for the customer, and growour business overall. We call it “selling the blend,” and a lot of customers Laidler: Certainly. If anyone wants to know more, just give me a call orlove it. Some like us to start with partner carriers, and then cover with reach out on our website, and I love seeing how we can help!assets, and some like it the other way, loading our assets first beforewe look outside. Either way, the customer wins with the best pricing wecan find, and broader capacity. It’s been really exciting to see how ourLearn more about McCleod software here: https://www.mcleodsoftware.com/3
Q1 NewsletterQ1 2019 LCS Winners Terrence Morning & Bea MohrTerrence Morning (shuttle/switch driver) and Bea Mohr (GVDCadministrative support) were awarded the Legendary CustomerService awards for 1st quarter 2019 Terrence was given the internalaward after being nominated by three coworkers. They outlined histremendous effort of always going above and beyond, being flexible,working quickly and efficiently, and having a positive attitude (nomatter the situation), and doing everything he can to help out!Bea was also nominated by 3 separate individuals. Two customersacknowledged Bea’s efficiency in getting their drivers in and out ina timely manner to avoid shutting down lines at facilities,as well asher friendliness and excellent customer service skills. Bea was alsoinstrumental in helping the family of an external driver who hadcollapsed in our facility. She handled the situation calmly, called theambulance, translated all communication from English to Romanian,drove the driver’s wife to the hospital, picked up their daughter fromthe airport to take her to the hospital, and stayed with the family(helping translate) until well after midnight! Talk about going aboveand beyond! Congratulations to both Terrence and Bea!Terrence MorningBea MohrQ3 2018 LCS Winners Saeid Mohammadi & Thomas ShearSaeid Mohammadi (shuttle/switch driver) won the external LCSaward for 3rd quarter. He was nominated by one of our customer’sfor his quick response time and being an “excellent driver who is easyto worth with”.Thomas Shear (KW Weekend Warehouseman) was the internal awardwinner for 3rd quarter. He was recognized by his coworkers and supervisors for consistently going above and beyond in his position. Oneday there was a flood in the Kentwood warehouse; he laid down inthe water so it wouldn’t effect the customer’s product. He also helpedwhen there was a power outage at 33rd street. He followed the SDOPbut it was lacking some crucial information so Tom took the time to takenotes so the documents could be updated if the issue were to occuragainSaeid MohammadiThomas ShearQ4 2018 LCS Winners Jessica Ray & Rodney DeardurffCongratulations to our 2018 4th quarter internal and externalLegendary Customer Service Award winners Rodney Deardurff andJessica Ray!Rodney, truck driver, was awarded the external LCS award for histimeliness, friendliness, and focus when making customer deliveries.Our customer is very thankful Rod is part of our team.Jessica, inventory specialist, was awarded the internal LCS awardfor all of her help assisting and training employees on a newwarehouse management system. Several employees recognized herand appreciated her patience and positivity throughout the process.Thank you both for going above and beyond, and exemplifying whatlegendary customer service means.Jessica RayRodney Deardurff
Q1 NewsletterPints With Peers 2019American Heart AssociationFUNdraising EventsFebruary was Heart Healthy month, andCLN employees and partners pulledtogether to raise money and awarenessfor the American Heart Association.Sponsor hearts were purchased anddisplayed across locations.Employeesraised 2,600 at the Annual BowlA-Thon, and an anonymous matchingdonor brought the total to 5,200!Columbian would like to thank thefollowing sponsors for donating raffleprizes for this year’s event :-Priority Health-Advantage Benefits Group-The Escape Room-EyeMed-Douglas J. Aveda Institute Grand Rapids-MVP Sports ClubWorkplace Safety:1000 Days Celebration!Customers and employees network at Pints With Peers 2019For the 5th year in a row, Columbian hosted a happy hour for customers,prospects, and friends immediately following the Midwest SupplyChain Conference here in Grand Rapids. The 5th annual event, knownas Pints With Peers, is a great opportunity to network with other logisticsand supply chain professionals from around the area in a low stress,friendly atmosphere. And since Grand Rapids is dubbed “Beer City,USA,” it’s only natural that the event was held at Atwater Brewery’sdowntown taphouse.Many of the themes from the conference spilled over into Pints WithPeers. Attendees shared a beer and a bite while discussing trendslike economic growth and the Amazon effect, as well as more realworld issues like Diversity & Inclusion programs in the supply chain, orpractical applications of new VR and AI technologies. Many thanks toeveryone who came out this year, and be on the lookout for our 6thannual edition next Spring!Safety is a core value at Columbian Logistics Network. A safeworking environment allows team members to perform withoutthe distraction of occupational hazard. Columbians’ GrandvilleDistribution center achieved a safety milestone, logging 1000days with no lost time to injuries. Employees celebrated with acatered lunch. Congratulations to everyone for their efforts tomake workplace safety Priority #1!Blood DriveMarch 19th, the Kentwood facility held their annualblood drive. 9 pints of blood were donated, impacting 27patients who could receive life-saving blood!Columbian Logistics Network is gearing up for the 2019 Workplace WalkingChallenge, a health & wellness challenge put on by Terryberry to promotehealthy living in West Michigan. Last year, Columbian was a co-sponsor ofthe challenge and we were excited to be awarded the “The Company with thehighest % of employee engagement for a company over 100 employees”. Thisis a huge accomplishment for our 1styear participating in the event. This year’schallenge will run for 6 weeks between April 22 and June 2nd. Columbian isexcited to help sponsor this healthy initiative and we’d like to challenge otherorganizations to join in the fun, click here to learn more.5