During ICON 2021, I had the pleasure to speak with Nestor del Rio, Logistics Director at TRAXION Logistics, a leading transportation and logistics company based in Mexico, during the session “E-Commerce-Calibre Services and Digital Supply Chain Execution Solutions.” Here is a recap of the key topics Nestor and I covered during the session.

The Next Wave of Digital Transformation Initiatives

TRAXION is very advanced in leveraging logistics and supply chain technologies. Please tell us about the company and what digital transformation initiatives you have planned?

Nestor: TRAXION consists of different divisions. The Personnel and Student Transportation Division has around 5,800 power units for personnel and school transportation. Another is the Freight Division where we handle logistics with 2,800 power units dedicated to moving people and things from one place to another, both domestically and internationally. Our newest division, Logistics and Technology, is where we developed and created a one-stop logistics solution, integrating warehousing, distribution, and transportation for our 3PL and 4PL capabilities in Mexico. This division offers contract logistics, distribution services, digital brokerage services, parcel services, and 4PL services.

The company has invested heavily in technology as the main capability for our 3PL/4PL services. With our supply chain partner Blue Yonder, our digital path includes:

  1. Cloud: Grow everything in the cloud to allow for a digital transformation.
  2. Integration with Customers: Provide customers with the easiest way to connect into our network.
  3. Digital Customer Engagement: Make it easy for customers to interact with us. Previously, interactions were offline; digital allows customers to feel that we are one entity.
  4. Aggregation: Partner with all the transportation companies that work with us on freight capacity, warehouse capabilities, and customs capabilities.
  5. IoT: Digitalize our fleet and warehouse assets as much as possible.
  6. Democratized Analytics: Have the ability to provide data to customers and partners to make quick and informed decisions.
  7. Omni-channel Readiness: Be an enabler for omni-channel parcel, transportation, and warehouse systems, as well as a service for customers.
  8. Digital Supply Chain: Provide customers with end-to-end supply chain visibility. Luminate Control Tower has helped give customers visibility into trucks and freight lanes through a digital connection with us.
  9. Predictive AI: Plan to leverage Luminate Platform’s AI capabilities.
  10. Sustainable and Green Concept: Use the digital path to track and leverage green and sustainable initiatives.

The Solutions

What has TRAXION been able to achieve thanks to Blue Yonder’s Transportation Management System (TMS) that gives the team the confidence to move to the next stage of the digital journey?

Nestor: When we decided to partner with Blue Yonder, we targeted five objectives to help create the Logistics and Technology Division:

  1. Customer Centricity: Enable our sales force through the technology.
  2. Wide Scope of Services: Provide more advanced digital capabilities.
  3. Visibility and Connectivity: Integrate into one platform: carriers, warehouses, orders, shipments, GPS and security.
  4. Disruption, Prediction, and Collaboration: Combine carriers and shippers into one platform for logistics resources with a service called TRAXPORT.
  5. Omni-channel: End-to-end services for storage, product transformation, distribution, and last mile.

With the Blue Yonder TMS, we acquired a platform that enables us to manage, control, interact, and grow to be able to brokerage services, optimize loads, and optimize freight, creating a seamless solution for cross-border transportation between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Also, the end-to-end visibility it offers was the cherry on the cake.

While many 3PLs use the Blue Yonder TMS, not many have an integrated solution combining TMS and a control tower solution. With this combination, we can create full collaboration and transparency with customers, as well as integrate with carriers that help us to sell the services. We then found out that the freight carriers like having more interaction with us.

With the TMS carrier services, we can function as digital brokers. As a result, with the help of TMS and Luminate Control Tower, we can get into a market that we did not expect to via TRAXPORT. In addition, these combined Blue Yonder solutions have enabled us to provide end-to-end omni-channel services.

We are also able to offer Transportation Modeling and Network Design to enable our consultative selling team of engineers to design the right solutions for our customers.

That is a very comprehensive footprint. Did Blue Yonder’s solutions provide you with the confidence to take these new capabilities further?

Nestor: It is always difficult to find the right partner. In this case, we chose Blue Yonder because of the company’s extensive experience in the supply chain business and TMS, as well as the amazing team who help us solve many implementation challenges. Also, the solutions’ capabilities and how they could help us reach our future goals was another key reason we selected Blue Yonder.

Blue Yonder’s TMS is also a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for TMS. However, more importantly, the company’s credibility in implementation and in exceeding expectations was very important as we needed to implement and deploy new business fast. To do this we needed the right supply chain partner that understands our country and geography. Thanks to our strong partnership, the team broke a lot of records on implementation!

I like to use the phrase from the Olympics: faster, higher, stronger. In many cases working with a big corporation, we observe bureaucratic and slow behavior. But we found Blue Yonder to be very agile with the capability to help us deploy and deliver quickly and efficiently. We now have a Ferrari (or a Land Rover!) that can do almost everything.

What’s Next

What challenges and areas of improvements are you tackling next?

Nestor: The next wave is moving faster than what we expected. We believed the market was going to slow down after the pandemic; however, it is not slowing down! The 3PL market in Mexico and Latin America are moving faster than before. The growth of the market can be 10-25% every year. The customers are growing and transforming and needing us to grow and transform. Last year, with the pandemic, the e-commerce market in Mexico doubled in size and compressed three years into one year. Now our challenges mainly come from how to deploy faster solutions to meet omni-channel needs and how to help customers to do better. We have the challenge of how to enable new wave of technologies in less than one year and how to train the team to use the technologies. That’s where we want to go.

What advice would you like to give others on leveraging solutions to attain success in their digital journey?

Nestor: What I have learned:

  • Implementing a new technology platform takes time. In our case, it took two years.
  • Treat the solution as an MVP, minimum viable solution, that you want to implement and start to exploit the benefits right away – even if it is not totally perfectly. This helped us to make amazing developments, create new business, enable new companies, and achieve new revenue streams.
  • Take a lean approach of using the tools and let the team innovate every month or few months.
  • And, the best lesson learned: Let the team understand how to – and empower them to – build more solutions!

Learn more about Blue Yonder’s transportation management and unified logistics.  For more insights from ICON 21, please go here.