My Supply Chain Professor Once Told Me…

Harrison Martin

Harrison Martin, System Administrator/Logistics Analyst

Better, Faster, Cheaper… that was the phrase I heard quite often from a supply chain professor in my undergraduate program. The theme has really stuck with me during my career because modern supply chains demand innovation and continuous improvement. In order to remain competitive, it is critical to continually think of ways to do everything better, faster, and cheaper.

In my current role as a Logistics Analyst within managed services at LeanLogistics, I work with one of the leading milk and ice cream producers in North America. I am responsible for reporting transportation metrics, driving continuous improvement initiatives, and ensuring the company is getting the most value from our transportation management system, LeanTMS, based on their business needs.


Operationally, our customer’s network involves transportation moves of milk and ice cream throughout the country and many of these moves require return trips in order to bring back empty cases/pallets. The return trips often didn’t include product so an order was not created in the TMS to associate with that leg of the journey. Because of this, return charges were managed as an accessorial through the carrier rate request process for each particular move. Managing this process became tedious, cumbersome, and involved a lot manual intervention–not to mention the potential variability in rates requested by carriers.

There had to be a way to make this process better, faster and cheaper.


One of the benefits to having a technology company partner in managing your supply chain is the ability to innovate, develop, and deploy systematic solutions within a TMS that solve real business issues. We explained the current problem with the existing process to our development team and created a viable solution within LeanTMS to address the issue.

Today, our round trip charge process has been streamlined through the use of functionality developed specific to our business issue. Here are four ways the development team brought additional value to not only our current customer, but to all of our LeanTMS customers, thanks to our multi-tenant model.


  1. Return trip rates for case returns are now applied faster with the check of a box during the routing process.
  2. Rates are allocated within the base cost charge bucket as desired.
  3. Round trip rates are established within the system ahead of time like any other rate, allowing for better control of charges, and eliminating the potential for rate request variability.
  4. Manual intervention has decreased significantly through the removal of validating and approving charges on repeat occasions.

This solution has been a success and the functionality is being used by other customers as well.


When I think back to what my professor said repeatedly during those long lectures, I am proud to say the same theme applies at LeanLogistics in our approach to our customer partnerships. There will always be a need to continually improve the supply chain, and leveraging technology can be one step to doing it better, faster, and cheaper.


LeanLogistics’ Managed Transportation Services helps companies reduce empty miles, fulfill backhauls, manage inbound shipments, and reduce overall transportation spend through continuous moves and optimization. Want to know more? Watch this video to see a day in the life of a LeanLogistics MTS team, or email questions to

Posted in Blog
Tagged customer value, LeanLogistics, managed transportation, managed transportation services, round trip, SaaS, SaaS TMS, Savings, Supply Chain, transportation management systems

One thought on “My Supply Chain Professor Once Told Me…”

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more, Martin! This a great starting point for any logistics professional.

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