The way that transportation has been traditionally bought and sold has left shippers and transportation providers siloed and connected only to those partners within their existing networks. Until now, the tools and practices available have left these industry participants unable to get out of the daily operational weeds in order to connect outside of their silos and engage in forward thinking and long-term planning.
Leaf Logistics was founded to rethink the way that transportation is bought, sold, and coordinated. Leaf works with both shippers and logistics service providers, including carriers and brokers, by introducing digital solutions backed with machine learning. Its customers are given the tools to build their most resilient transportation plans that maximize productivity through optimized circuits, and to remove excess carbon emissions associated with wasted miles.
Optimized circuits cut waste associated with empty miles and allow carriers and brokers to maximize their asset utilization to generate more revenue. At the same time, this lowers shippers’ costs and reduces excess carbon emissions associated with empty miles. With Leaf, transportation providers no longer need to search high and low for their next load because Leaf offers a unique contracting capability that provides a forward-looking view of consistent, reliable work and schedules.
“We’ve built a grid that spans the transportation market and we apply advanced machine learning to analyze our customers’ data to match lanes. We then build the best circuits so our transportation providers are able to maximize their productivity and make more deliveries in fewer miles driven,” said Greer Lynch, marketing lead at Leaf Logistics.
Leaf is transforming the industry by giving carriers and brokers the tools to rethink the way they sell transportation through new approaches such as Leaf Flex committed contracts. Traditional RFPs are unenforceable and ultimately provide no more than a handshake and an estimate into a shipper’s real transportation needs or a provider’s true capacity. Leaf Flex contracts offer an alternative with commitments to both shippers and carriers for months, or even years, at a time. This gives transportation providers the ability to schedule out their drivers with a forward view of their business, while giving shippers peace of mind.
“With our Flex contracts, we can schedule and commit to opportunities for carriers months in advance,” said Chip Reeves, head of supply division at Leaf Logistics. “This helps to create predictability and reduce manual operations.”
According to Lynch and Reeves, Leaf Flex contracts create a more dependable, consistent capacity solution so that carriers and brokers no longer have to worry about their next load. Leaf Flex contracts move beyond the transactional, load-by-load way that freight is currently contracted, and allow brokers and carriers to know what load they are moving months ahead of time — something that makes daily operations run more smoothly. These contracts help put a face to a name, create familiar routines and set schedules well in advance.
“Our Flex contracts help carriers because they now have an exact schedule of their trucks every single week,” Lynch said. “Driver retention gets a lot better when you can assure a schedule that meets that driver’s quality-of-life requirements.”
“No other company has tried to do what Leaf is currently doing and build a completely agnostic network of customers’ lanes and volumes. They are unique in the way that they are not trying to build a brokerage or profit from execution. Instead, they are trying to show the market that they are truly investing in creating a confidence in the shipper community to do something truly different and advantageous to both carriers and shippers alike,” said John Rivers, CRO of Summit Eleven.
Founded in 2017, Summit Eleven is a multifaceted transportation provider dedicated to creating customized supply chain solutions, domestically and globally, and a Leaf customer.
Reeves added that Leaf Flex opportunities help carriers and brokers reduce manual operations, and give transportation providers both future planning capabilities and access to enterprise-level freight, which lead to increased growth and driver retention overall.
“What the relationship with Leaf has empowered us to do is overlay our network of customers’ freight over the volume and density of the Fortune 500 customers Leaf is working with today,” Rivers said. “But because we are able to layer our network on top of Leaf’s network, we are able to actually drive a lot of efficiencies for customers that otherwise wouldn’t happen due to the way the industry currently works.”
Summit Eleven’s leadership, which has a combined 50 years-plus of experience, pushes the company to prioritize the importance of forward thinking and planning ahead.
“We don’t want to be the fly-by-night carrier. We are the company that refuses to make revenue decisions based on today. That’s what partnering [with Leaf] means. I can see six months down the road and make business decisions over a longer time horizon,” said Rivers. “A lot of companies are just thinking about how they can profit and execute today, and today is already done. You have to be looking into the future. Right now we are able to punch outside of our weight class from a volume standpoint, which has created a lot of synergies internally for us.”
Rivers compares Summit Eleven’s flexible operations to a speed boat — lightweight and easy to move because of its priority on forward thinking and planning. After starting a partnership with Leaf in January, Summit Eleven and Leaf have doubled volume every month. Summit Eleven has their sights on moving 1,000 loads a month by the summer of 2022 with Leaf, something Rivers believes to be more than possible through this partnership.
Leaf is continuing to bring traction with enterprise-level shippers and big-name companies and is continuing to help them with planning and retention. According to Reeves, Leaf is also working on a handful of other carrier-facing products to help operate in a manner that allows success long term. These will be announced and launched over the next couple of quarters.
“There is nothing more important in this business than your customer and carrier relationships and your execution. I think we have been able to grow and scale very quickly with Leaf because they see that,” said Rivers.