The Custom Cos.
Custom Co Trucks

How The Custom Cos. uses tech to raise the bar

Sept. 20, 2023
The Custom Cos. employs a wide suite of management tech and business process services to handle thousands of shipments each day.

“Comprehensive” is how The Custom Cos. describes its wide range of transportation solutions, which seems to be an apt description.

Consider, for example, that the company offers less-than-truckload and truckload services across North America, along with an array of expedited service options. The full-service transportation business also has leveraged various technologies to streamline service offerings and improve customer experience and satisfaction.

“The Custom Cos. has been at the forefront of technology in the transportation industry for three decades,” said Joseph Klikas, its chief experience officer. “Those capabilities are what allow us to continually raise the bar for customer service.”

Bringing that approach into focus is the LTL division of The Custom Cos., which handles thousands of shipments every day. It has a dedicated fleet for its linehaul operation and many company drivers at facilities in Chicago and Los Angeles. The LTL division fields 140 over-the-road tractors, 130 day cabs, and a mix of trailers.

“Technology is the backbone that connects our fleet and drivers to our dedicated customers,” Klikas said. “Manual processes remain within trucking operations. With systems and services that drive efficiency, we make things easier for customers and drivers and have the ability to grow without adding expenses.”

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Business process outsourcing is one way The Custom Cos. improves its service to customers. The company began using DDC FPO Customer Care services to handle requests for general customer support such as setting up pickups and sending rate quotes. The relationship was then expanded to include administration of ground and air freight operations, accounts payable processes, and dedicated account support.

“The customer support services from DDC FPO are improving the way we serve shippers and help them achieve their goals,” Klikas said. “Outsourcing enables us to find and retain quality talent for specific initiatives while having the ability to quickly scale our business and remain a major employer in our key markets.”

The Custom Cos. also uses the DDC Sync mobile data capture solution. “Like most LTL carriers, we struggle to obtain full shipment detail early enough within the shipment life cycle,” Klikas explained. “With DDC Sync’s image capture capabilities, we can digitize the bill of lading and optimize schedules to make the best use of drivers and equipment.”

See also: DDC Sync mobile app allows drivers to instantly upload BOL data

Drivers at The Custom Cos. use DDC Sync in conjunction with Acordex mobile technology on tablets, and both solutions are integrated with Carrier Logistics’ FACTS freight management software.

Designed for asset-based LTL carriers, FACTS includes customer shipping tools, dispatch and driver management, a rate engine, and a full back-office suite. The company also utilizes the CLI Dock Management System with its handheld scanners to help ensure the freight is moved accurately and efficiently and enable communication without paper notes or verbal instructions.

Technology integrations with FACTS include the Royal 4 Systems warehouse management application. “The warehouse management system provides visibility from the time we receive a shipment,” Klikas related. “In coordination with the CLI DMS, it ensures freight flows smoothly.”

The combination of solutions in place at The Custom Cos. enables employees to provide real-time information about every shipment to customers. Most of that activity occurs on the company’s customer-created website. Site features include quotes and pickup requests, real-time shipment tracking, customized reporting, and analytics that can cover shipments by destination and customer for any period of time.

Customer satisfaction is a crucial measure for The Custom Cos. when it comes to determining the value of its investments in technologies and services, Klikas noted. With outsourcing, for example, the company is addressing the challenges that come with growth and labor availability. “We also find that the right solutions help us attract and retain drivers because they streamline processes and reduce steps that add friction,” he added.

“As a family-owned company that’s been in business for 37 years, we’ve always taken great pride in providing a world-class customer experience,” Klikas said. “We are blessed with great employees and our services and technology provider partners, so we’re able to do that and continue to grow.”

About the Author

Seth Skydel

Seth Skydel, a veteran industry editor, has more than 36 years of experience at fleet management, trucking, and transportation and logistics publications. Today, in editorial and marketing roles, he writes about fleet, service and transportation management, vehicle and information technology, and industry trends and issues. 

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