Success Story: XPO Logistics

Fast, flexible data exchange for seamless B2B flow

  • Headquarters

    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Implement a dynamic business-to-business infrastructure that seamlessly integrates XPO Logistics with its customer and partner community, and creates automated transaction intelligence for both application integration and business-to- business flows

  • Solution

  • Results

      • Faster, easier on-boarding, automation and self-service capabilities decreased time and cost, and increased customer satisfaction
      • Proactive alerting for improved response times to problems
      • Better information flow and real-time visibility of data exchanges through direct integration with partners and customers
      • Automated transaction intelligence helps XPO Logistics meet service-level objectives and customer satisfaction goals

          Established in 1929 as a trucking company (Consolidated Truck Lines), XPO Logistics is now a $5 billion publicly traded transportation and logistics company spanning 440 locations in 18 countries, with more than 30,000 employees. XPO Logistics relies on the latest technology to provide best-in-class services through three main businesses:

          • XPO Logistics Freight. A local, regional, and transcontinental less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation organization
          • Menlo Worldwide Logistics. A supply chain solutions design, implementation, and management company
          • XPO Logistics Truckload. A network of full truckload (FTL) services across North America

          Business complexities

          On the road to supply chain excellence

          For a multi-tiered organization like XPO Logistics — which handles everything from warehousing goods for clients, to transporting goods, to designing and running systems to track goods through the supply chain — an integrated, dynamic business-to-business infrastructure that facilitates multiple layers of activity and meets the needs of customers and partners is essential. Achieving this goal has made XPO Logistics a technology pioneer in its industry, through award-winning EDI solutions that are especially tuned to the global, fast-paced, solution-oriented requirements of its customers.

          XPO Logistics’ partner communities consist of a large mix of trading partners and customers, all of who need to interact and share data with XPO Logistics in the most accurate, secure and efficient way possible. Additionally, XPO Logistics’ continued success has brought rapid growth in customer and partner volume, so it has been critical that the EDI setup and on-boarding process be as fast and easy as possible. And once data exchanges are up and running, transaction automation and alerting capabilities are key to reducing costs, minimizing errors, and providing visibility into EDI processes.

          In order to efficiently and securely share data worldwide, exceed customer expectations with best-in-class services, and provide seamless integration with their customers’ systems, XPO Logistics uses Axway Interchange and Axway Sentinel as a versatile data-exchange system that includes a smooth, fast data search-and-retrieval process, and industry-leading visibility and alerting capabilities, for their customers and partners.

          Flexibility and speed

          Thousands of customers, high volumes of data

          Data is a huge part of XPO Logistics’ business. XPO Logistics and its customers and partners need to move, store, sort, and extract all types of data with ultra-fast response times. Up to 65,000 messages and more than 300,000 transactions (such as orders and shipment status requests) flow through XPO Logistics each day. To add to the complexity, XPO Logistics must maintain business transaction records for as many as 10 years to comply with regulations in Europe and other parts of the world. This means that at any given time there are between 2.3 and 5.5 billion searchable values in the XPO Logistics archives. Despite this massive volume of data, the Axway solution delivers a search response time of less than two seconds.

          But just as important as speed is the solution’s flexibility, which enables XPO Logistics to integrate and exchange data with any company using practically any protocol. This capability has allowed XPO Logistics to extend data exchange services to more customers and partners than ever before, providing a “single door” through which all data flows and can be managed and governed. And customers can receive information in the way that best suits their technical profile — including via a browser using web services. “We have more than 700 partners with managed connections, and we feel it is very important to keep that management in-house,” said John Reich, IT Manager, Document Management/Enterprise Transmissions at XPO Logistics. “We view our B2B connections as another touch point with the customer, so the flexible integration we get with Axway is critical to the relationship.”

          Collaborating and integrating

          For best-in-class services

          One of XPO Logistics’ primary business goals is to offer highly consistent on-time service with the industry’s fastest transit times in its trucking operations, and a flexible array of strategic third-party logistics services supporting supply chain operations — all geared toward helping customers improve efficiencies, reduce waste, and drive dollars to their bottom line. To meet these goals, XPO Logistics needed to be able to share information effectively and efficiently; and they needed on-boarding processes that would get partners and customers up and running — and exchanging data — as quickly as possible.

          XPO Logistics’ legacy community management capabilities, however, made keeping information up to date on its 700 partners extremely challenging — partner information was scattered across several locations; notifications about missing or outdated information had to be sent manually; and when a partnership ended, that partner’s information remained in the system, causing unnecessary clutter and taking up storage space. XPO Logistics needed to store the most up-to-date information on each partner all in one place, and provide self-service capabilities so that partners could maintain their own data.

          XPO Logistics chose to integrate directly with customers and partners using Axway Interchange. Interchange enables XPO Logistics to manage its diverse communities based on the latest partner information, and view partner data that spans multiple communities in one integrated dashboard. Using Axway’s self-service features, new partners and customers can complete their own on-boarding process quickly and easily, regardless of their technology profile. This level of direct B2B integration is also critical for customers who use XPO Logistics’ Menlo Worldwide Logistics division as a third-party logistics provider (3PL). “As a 3PL, we need to be an invisible partner,” said Reich. “With Axway technology, customers don’t even see a difference between their system and ours. In essence, we become part of their business. Seamless integration is very important to us and to our customers.”

          Automated transaction intelligence

          An XPO Logistics differentiator

          With Axway, XPO Logistics benefits from automated transaction intelligence across both external (B2B) and internal (A2A) communications. XPO Logistics’ document management system, which stores and accesses transaction and payload information in real time, is linked to Axway Sentinel. Axway Interchange feeds information to Axway Sentinel as needed or requested, and provides internal and external users with a common view of historical and real-time data and events.

          “Our back office operations — such as legal, finance, etc. — require the same level of visibility into transactions as do our customers and partners. Internal operational visibility and alignment across departments was a primary driver for us; we needed visibility into internal events and data exchanges, and how they correlate to customer events and data exchanges,” explained Reich. Automated transaction intelligence enables XPO Logistics to adeptly meet internal service level objectives and the objectives of XPO Logistics customers.

          Multi-level visibility and alerting

          Across complex environments

          XPO Logistics’ customer environments are complex, and data exchanges often extend to several organizations at multiple levels of the supply chain. These exchanges include business-critical information, such as orders, freight pickup requests, invoicing, warehousing transactions, and much more. Prior to implementing the Axway solution, locating data could be a challenge. For example, an order might have to be flowed through several partners and then shipped to three different locations before reaching the end customer; chasing down a ship date or other event within this kind of complex

          “We have more than 700 partners with managed connections, and we feel it is very important to keep that management in-house. We view our B2B connections as another touch point with the customer, so the flexible integration we get with Axway is critical to the relationship.”

          order flow could take hours, and require assistance from XPO Logistics. With Axway Sentinel, XPO Logistics and its communities now have end-to-end visibility into exchanges, and customers can search for information and get the data they need within seconds.

          “We try to keep it simple for our customers. With Axway, we can provide an easy, self-service interface that helps users with their searches, and empowers them to achieve their goals and get business done without intervention,” said Reich. “With minimal information, such as an invoice number, a customer can drill down for detail, navigate sideways and correlate transactions to find the information they are looking for. They have visibility into events from yesterday, last month, or even two years ago.”

          XPO Logistics’ data exchange systems are critical to their line-of-business operations; when issues arise in either area, XPO Logistics and its customers need immediate answers. Axway Sentinel’s alerting capabilities tell XPO Logistics immediately when a data path is not operational, and whether or not data flow with a customer has been affected. Using Axway Sentinel, XPO Logistics can instantly research and correlate data to locate the problem — even across multiple levels of the supply chain — and move to solve it. XPO Logistics leverages the same level of visibility and alerting for business transactions, using payload research and transaction correlations to locate problems and determine if other parts of the business were affected.

          “We see supply chain networks getting more and more sophisticated, and time getting more and more compressed,” said Reich. “With Axway, our people don’t have to be intermediaries for customer data — customers have visibility as never before, and are empowered to get what they need, when they need it.” With Axway, XPO Logistics’ customers and partners can even search, retrieve and display data integrated from third-party middleware providers, such as TIBCO.

          The Bottom Line

          Improved customer satisfaction

          As a world-class transportation and logistics company, XPO Logistics has had to solve the challenges of slow and cumbersome partner on-boarding and a host of other business service requirements around automation, self-service, alerting, visibility into data exchanges/transactions, and event and data searching.

          Using Axway Interchange in conjunction with Axway Sentinel, XPO Logistics now directly integrates with customers and partners, enabling:

          • Secure, fast data exchange and easy on-boarding with partners and customers (EDI and non-EDI)
          • Enhanced automation, alerting, and self-service capabilities
          • A new level of visibility into events and data exchanges that enables XPO Logistics, and its customers and partners, to search and correlate events and data within seconds

          All of these enhancements to XPO Logistics’ services and information flows have increased customer satisfaction, lowered IT time and cost expenditures, and provided the scalability and flexibility XPO Logistics needs to serve the ever-increasing complexity, scope, and vigor of its supply chains.

          “With Axway technology, customers don’t even see a difference between their system and ours. We, in essence, become part of their business. Seamless integration is very important to us and our customers.”

           

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