A major focus of logistics and shipping companies this year is providing customers with real-time information about shipment status and exception handling--the ability to quickly correct problems or redirect shipments. Schneider National Inc. uses satellite and cellular technology to help customers track freight-carrying trailers in real time, CIO Steve Matheys says. Schneider's IT spending this year will be 20% more than in 2002. "We see IT as a strategic weapon," Matheys says.
APL Ltd. takes a similar approach with its Quick Report system, which provides shipment-status reports in real time to customers. Ryder System Inc. has integrated its warehouse and transportation-management and supply-chain visibility systems with its customers' enterprise-resource-management systems to give them immediate order, shipment, and inventory information. Yellow Technologies, the technology-services company of Yellow Corp., has upgraded its shipment-tracking system to use a real-time database that provides fresher shipment-status information.
Transportation and logistics companies have also improved their electronic interfaces to customers. FedEx Corp. added more automated shipping capabilities to its Web site, while APL customers can file invoices directly into APL's Homeport Web site. United Parcel Service Inc.'s new Enterprise CampusShip system is used by 3,400 companies to electronically manage shipments. Landstar System Inc. developed a text-to-speech application that provides freight information to contract carriers. And Roadway Express Inc. built a quote-engine app that instantly provides service price quotes through Roadway's Web site or a toll-free call.
While some shipping companies must work with reduced IT budgets, most continue to upgrade their IT infrastructures and processes. UniGroup Inc. has spent several million dollars on an IBM zSeries mainframe, a storage area network, a wide area frame-relay network, and an imaging system. The company also has plans for a data warehouse. And Schneider has undertaken a three-year process-management and system-redesign initiative, including reengineering its entire order-to-cash transaction system, which will improve operating margins by 35%.
|Rank||Company||Revenue in millions||Income (loss)
|15||Con-Way Transportation Services||$2,000||$147||287|
|29||United Parcel Service Inc.||$31,320||$3,182||4,974|
|69||ABF Freight System Inc.||$1,256||--||200|
|81||Alaska Airlines Inc.||$2,224||($119)||250|
|87||Ryder System Inc.||$4,776||$94||443|
|97||Penske Truck Leasing Inc.||$3,400||--||325|
|119||Union Pacific Corp.||$12,491||$1,341||1,340|
|130||Roadway Express Inc.||$3,011||$39||145|
|175||Menlo Worldwide LLC||$2,748||$38||598|
|242||Schneider National Inc.||$2,627||--||355|
|298||Landstar System Inc.||$1,507||$49||156|
|301||Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.||$8,979||$760||450|
|364||Hub Group Inc.||$1,336||$2||65|
|368||Watkins Motor Lines Inc.||--||--||183|
|415||Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group Ltd.||$2,853||($103)||44|
|432||Continental Airlines Inc.||$8,402||($451)||120|
|483||Consolidated Freightways Corp.||$2,200||$136||125|
|Financial data is from
public sources and company supplied.
Revenue is for latest fiscal year.
Employee data is from InformationWeek 500 qualifying survey.