On Friday, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Ally Logistics took a big step toward achieving its vision to “create the ultimate freight shipping experience” with the announcement that its application programming interface, CapacityNOW, is now available to all its shippers to receive real-time domestic truckload pricing.
Dan Manshaem, co-founder and CEO of Ally Logistics, told FreightWaves that creating innovative, technology-enabled processes for handling customers’ freight was an essential part of the business plan.
“Our company vision is: ‘To create the ultimate freight shipping experience by operating at the optimal intersection of people and tech,’” he said. “This is our first step towards making that vision a reality for our customers.”
Manshaem explained that from the moment Ally opened its doors in 2012, its goal was to provide better service to its customers not just by covering their loads and providing on-time performance, but to leverage technology in the business to enable its employees to build long-term relationships with shippers and carriers.
“The transactional pricing process is one of the biggest pain points our leadership wanted to address,” he said. “It’s historically one of the least efficient internal processes, our employees spend hours just trying to win a couple of shipments. This task can clearly be done more effectively with an automation tool.”
After spending years working with his team on the pricing algorithm and piloting CapacityNOW with a few of its Fortune 500 customers, Ally is now making the API tool available to its customers through a transportation management system integration, eliminating the need for them to send emails or pick up the phone for rate requests.
While the tool will add efficiencies to how Ally operates, Manshaem said he is excited for his team to use the rating tool to strengthen the company’s long-term contract agreements with both new and existing customers.
“Shippers have been coming to us upset with their current providers backing out of contracted shipping rates,” he said. “Now our sales teams will be able to set contract rates for customers with full visibility into what our available capacity is able to offer throughout the year. This will be key for keeping our hypergrowth strategy in motion.”
Over the last year, Ally Logistics has seen 120% revenue growth as its customers in sectors including food and beverage, automotive and manufacturing have seen unprecedented growth since reopenings after pandemic shutdowns. The growth landed the company its No. 186 spot on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies.
Tech-enabled brokers attract talent
With the expansion of business it has already seen from the few companies using CapacityNOW, Ally Logistics expects to continue seeing unprecedented growth and has plans to double its headcount and double its office space with an additional 20,000 square feet within its current building.
In a hot brokerage talent market, how does Manshaem hope to add that many employees? The same way it got Ally Logistics to this point — attracting them with technology.
Ally Logistics Sales Director Chad Vos explained that during his interview with Manshaem two years ago, the company’s vision of functioning at the intersection of people and technology is what convinced him to enter into the supply chain industry.
“Logistics didn’t always seem like a super sexy industry to me. I always thought it was just about getting a truck on a shipment,” said Vos. “Dan explained that with the right technology there would be much more room for employees to be creative problem solvers for customers.”
Vos, who also oversees the training and development of his team, explained that CapacityNOW is solving a development problem — analytic pricing.
“Pricing is tough to teach. It takes years for somebody to get good at and even then, markets are constantly changing,” he said.
Now leading a group of sales representatives who have been piloting CapacityNOW, he has seen a shift in how representatives are tending to customers.
“Everyone is much more confident in the pricing promises being made to customers with CapacityNOW,” said Vos. “The tool is consistently learning from our available capacity and our customers’ freight and its helping us be more data driven. We can provide capacity without smoke and mirrors, these are our rates and we will find a truck for that price.”