Gregory Burns, CEO
In a logistics industry where numerous challenges are coming into effect, effectively planning and managing the movement and storage of goods and services has become cumbersome for firms. Since its inception in 1991, PLS Logistics Services has been challenging the orthodoxies in the logistics industry and carving a niche with dependable outsourced solutions that cater to the demands of logistics management services Pan-America. “The genesis of PLS back-pedals to a timeline when one of our customers needed a platform to manage their transportation and we fulfilled their needs with our early version of Transportation Management System (TMS),” recollects CEO of PLS Logistics Services, Gregory Burns. Having conceptualized as a flatbed trucking company, PLS has culminated into a leading provider of technology-enabled transportation management, freight brokerage, and outsourced transportation solutions for shippers across all industries. PLS handles millions of loads annually across all major freight modes: flatbed, van, Less Than Load (LTL), rail, barge, air, and ocean.
According to Burns, the clients today—consisting mostly of millennials—want self-service technologies which can empower their decision making capabilities. “They do not want to go and talk to 100 different trucking firms. They want a technology that allows them to quickly find the best trucking firm specific to their needs, with the best service performance,” adds Burns. PLS reciprocates to this industrial transformation with its proprietary software— PLS PRO—which can incorporate and modify changes seamlessly and quickly. PLS PRO is a SaaS based highly configurable, dynamic, and flexible TMS that allows visibility across a client’s portfolio of shipments and functions through a centralized database, providing actionable intelligence on the data.
The company’s PLS PRO is an online tool to access, manage, and optimize shipments using the largest centralized network regardless of shipment size or customer requirement. PLS has specifically built PLS PRO to be the simplest way to manage, optimize, and monitor logistics. The web-based, proprietary TMS, allows customers to quickly and easily manage their freight on one platform. Within seconds, PLS PRO lists all the carriers available to move a load. No matter the type of freight or trailer required, PLS PRO finds the best carrier to deliver truckload freight efficiently and effectively. “Our TMS allows clients to spend less time managing freight movements and focus on their core business objectives,” asserts Burns.
Apart from the drill-down details like real-time tracking, PLS PRO renders managers with the pliancy to modify, configure, and adjust their logistics across various industrial plants. “PLS PRO allows choosing the highest or lowest priced carrier, or can even limit to the three most preferred carriers of a plant manager,” delineates Burns. The platform’s Dock Scheduling and management module optimizes and schedules the dock for reloading, tracking, and tracing of shipments. Meanwhile, the optimization engine monitors components like shipments being transported per truck, a truck’s capability to contain the shipment, and optimization of routes.
PLS PRO allows choosing the highest or lowest priced carrier, or can even limit to the three most preferred carriers of a plant manager
In addition, users can manage KPIs and centralize information from disparate sources using analytics and dashboard capabilities of PLS PRO. PLS has negotiated national pricing of all major LTL carriers, allowing organizations to find the best rates and lanes easily for their freight.
PLS distinguishes itself by offering the most unique and customer friendly experience. For example, a leading scaffolding, insulation, and fireproofing firm responsible for jobsite deliveries with multi-shipment orders, incorporated PLS’ managed services model and carrier network backstop with integrated PLS PRO. As a result, the client saw an 11 percent cost reduction in core carrier program freight costs, a 5 percent cost reduction in overflow shipments, and eliminated monthly payment to a third party freight bill audit and payment service provider. They also achieved their 98 percent on-time delivery goal while improving operational efficiency through online shipment requests and dock scheduling.
Simplifying 3PL for the Future
PLS empowers their employees to own all aspect of a project, making them the single point of accountability. This leads to employees offering special attention to each of the clients, understanding their requirements, and delivering the best solutions. The company’s technology structure includes a full time product management team that mingle with shippers and carriers, monitoring and discussing the problems they face and the trends that are hitting the space. This enables PLS to execute unique technology initiatives as the first hand feedback allows them to understand the demands of the market. “We are able to recognize the customer needs as a whole, adopt latest technologies, and build a complete solution,” adds Burns.
“In the past few years we have gone from 80 to 8,000 customers; this does not happen by chance. The key is to stay focused, have strong customer relationships, and not dabble in too many things,” states the CEO. He advices budding entrepreneurs to select a niche and then work on it, nurture it, and let it grow in order to be successful, especially when there is a lot of opportunities in the market. Burns also believes that partnering with a seasoned organization like PLS enhances a firm’s chances of establishing themselves in the market, since they will get access to cutting edge technology and additional benefits in a pocket-friendly manner.
With growing digital disruption, Burns believes that the logistics landscape is ripe for transformation and PLS espouses avant-garde viewpoints, laying the groundwork for new, innovative shifts. The company is presently working on projects focused on assisting the micro-shippers. Besides improving their customer service, the company is also in the process of building a next-gen TMS, incorporating machine intelligence that focuses on automating carrier selection.