Brokerage-focused TMS with Real-time Visibility and Capacity Sourcing Transforms Operations
SEL Supply Chain Solutions is a third-party logistics provider (3PL) providing over-the-road (OTR) and intermodal transportation services across North American and internationally. To support its rapid growth, SEL implemented the cloud-based Descartes Aljex™ transportation management system (TMS), seamlessly integrated with Descartes MacroPoint™ for real-time freight visibility, load tracking, and automated capacity sourcing. By automating time-consuming manual processes, SEL simplified and streamlined operations to increase productivity, strengthen carrier relationships, and boost top- and bottom-line growth.
SEL Supply Chain Solutions
Challenge: Inefficient Operations Stall Growth
SEL offers a diverse range of load types, including truckload, rail, drayage, flatbed, expedited, and temperature-controlled shipping, using an expansive network of independent freight contractors. With 60,000—and growing—approved carriers under contract and 200 sales reps working with those carriers to develop long-term partnerships, SEL’s business was expanding at a rapid pace. Driven by a vision to build the best freight contractor model in the transportation and logistics industry, SEL was searching for an efficient brokerage-focused TMS that could automate, optimize, and scale its transportation operations to increase load productivity and improve margins while ensuring a frictionless experience for its valued network of freight entrepreneurs. The solution also needed to easily integrate with real-time freight visibility and capacity sourcing technology to fully digitize its freight broker operations.
“To support our explosive growth, we needed a scalable, user-friendly TMS that was purpose-built as a brokerage solution. And by simplifying and streamlining our transportation workflows, gaining real-time visibility into every load, and booking loads faster with AI-driven capacity matching, technology helped us to grow revenue from $13M to $51M in one year!”
–Dennis Martin, President/Chief Entrepreneur Officer, SEL
SEL (Serving Entrepreneurs in Logistics) Supply Chain Solutions is a Top 150 logistics company offering transportation solutions in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Based in Fort Worth, TX, SEL operates its business through a network of independent freight contractors to provide Truckload, Temperature-controlled, Flatbed, Over-sized, Drayage, Expedited, and Intermodal shipping service.
The Solution: Automation + Visibility and Capacity Sourcing Spur Growth
With full EDI/API and all major load board integrations, the user-friendly Descartes Aljex TMS, seamlessly integrated with Descartes MacroPoint, helped SEL simplify and scale its transportation logistics, enabling the 3PL to procure, plan, optimize, execute, and settle freight movements with full visibility and less friction.
“We view the brokers in our carrier network as freight ‘entrepreneurs’ and an integral part of the SEL family. With the aim of empowering these entrepreneurs to succeed in the 3PL space without sacrificing work/life balance, we want to provide a seamless and efficient carrier experience, from onboarding through day-to-day operations,” said Dennis Martin, President and Chief Entrepreneur Officer of SEL.
The automated Descartes Aljex solution simplified and accelerated SEL’s entire transportation workflow with fewer steps—from sourcing and qualifying carriers, rate acceptance, and dispatching to invoicing, accounting, and carrier payments. Typical of customers who invest in Aljex, SEL’s broker staff experienced 20%-25% time savings, freeing them up to pursue higher value activities, such as finding new loads and customers.
By boosting the efficiency and productivity of the team, Descartes Aljex helped SEL expand its carrier network and increase load volume to support growing demand. SEL reduced operational costs and increased profit margins with easy access to actionable data on lane pricing, market conditions, performance, and quote and rate history—helping the 3PL to better anticipate demand and secure the best rates.
“With Descartes’ enhanced data insights and business intelligence, we saved an additional 5%-10% in freight costs thanks to data-driven decision making,” said Martin. “Plus, by employing a state-of-the-art TMS, we witnessed a 10% decrease in staff departures, as well as improved our carrier relations.”
SEL integrated Descartes Aljex with a range of applications, including QuickBooks, DAT, Truckstop, HubTran (EDI), MyCarrierPackets, and Carrier411. “These intuitive and seamless integrations are critical for driving efficiency and elevating the performance of our team, whether accessing load boards, automating billing, or managing accounting tasks,” noted Martin.
The combined solution of Descartes Aljex and Descartes MacroPoint provides the 3PL with access to real-time load tracking capabilities to reduce time-consuming broker communication like check calls and emails. With enhanced visibility into the freight journey, SEL is able to mitigate any potential transportation risk or disruption. Descartes MacroPoint also unlocks previously trapped freight capacity using advanced visualization and analytical capabilities, helping SEL cover more loads, build stronger carrier relationships, and reduce costs.
“When we were able to give our agents access to Descartes MacroPoint from within the Descartes Aljex system, it was a real gamechanger for us,” said Martin. “The tracking piece is the best that I’ve ever seen and being able to have the tools at our fingertips to find capacity—without the need to search manually—has transformed our transportation operations.”
He added, “The Descartes team’s understanding of the freight brokerage industry and transportation logistics is exceptional, and the integrated Descartes platform stood head and shoulders above the other platforms we evaluated.”
The Descartes solution eliminates time-consuming manual processes and boosts operational efficiency by automating SEL’s daily tasks and EDI communication. By combining its established network of carriers with automated AI-driven capacity matching, Descartes MacroPoint helps SEL quickly source carriers, procure new ones, and cover open loads with ease.
Descartes MacroPoint helps SEL gain better control of freight movement through real-time location, status, and estimated-time-of-arrival (ETA) data on their shipments. With real-time load tracking, the 3PL can proactively manage exceptions and enhance the customer experience.
Reduced Operating Costs
Descartes Aljex automatically determines the best mode, lane, and rates based on SEL’s parameters, e.g., cost, lead time, or number of stops—saving the 3PL an estimated 5%-10% in freight spend. SEL can scale the volume of freight shipments with less effort and labor to expand revenue and improve profit margins.
Stronger Carrier Relationships
Using the integrated Descartes solution, SEL is giving carriers more business, increasing their utilization, and helping them achieve a healthier work/life balance. The automated TMS ensures seamless and efficient rate acceptance, load dispatch, and carrier payments.