Case Study: How to Scale Your Last-Mile Operations with Grasshopper

Logistics are the backbone of the economy- supporting global commerce, business growth, manufacturing, to anything that applies to service-based industries. Yet, with the growing demands for freight services today in addition to the rising volumes and higher consumer expectations, there are many challenges confronting the industry to expedite deliveries while coordinating various complex tasks at once. 

Specialized Distribution Solutions, a final-mile logistics service, is one of those companies that experienced operational challenges at their early logistics career. Preparing a delivery from the point of origin to the customer’s location required stressful coordination between various application platforms to confirm the status of a shipment. Through a continuous back and forth process of emails, phone calls, and business softwares, SDS struggled to establish a consistent logistics process to build a sound operation at their control.  

“We were operating 4 different systems to meet our customers’ needs trying to piecemeal it all together using Google sheets and other tools to build routes and make trucks happen. We didn’t have a warehouse management system built in.” said Joel Lafortune, Vice President of SDS.

SDS is a trusted Grasshopper partner that offers nationwide transportation, distribution, logistics and project management services. Located in Syracuse, New York, SDS provides an extensive transportation network to retail, healthcare and FF&E services- powered by Grasshopper Labs final-mile technology platform. 

Like SDS, the freight industry has had some growing pains in finding the right business model that could reduce the multitasking burden into a seamless, automated process. With so much information to process, deadlines to meet, and large expenses to cover- all while trying to stay competitive in the market, it was becoming increasingly difficult for carriers to maintain a high-standard customer service based on a single, established procedure.  

Here are some of the top challenges facing the logistics industry, according to a study in 2019. 

Source: Top 10 Challenges Logistics Companies Are Facing in 2019, Fleetroot

Costs, driver shortage, and business processes were some of the top listed factors for logistics providers in 2019. Additionally, the growing popularity in ecommerce platforms like Shopify has helped to swamp the delivery sector as more consumers began to shop online as well. As a result, this pressured many carriers with an overwhelming amount of orders to deliver, with no way of knowing how exactly they could fit it all in their service levels. 

However, when SDS partnered with Grasshopper, a logistics management platform, its ability to provide real-time visibility into an entire operation helped leverage SDS’ logistics through a unified process. Compared to most other industry-average platforms, Grasshopper’s application achieved higher control, flexibility, and customization into how an operation runs, according to Lafortune. 

“Grasshopper created a universal platform that had the capabilities to handle end-to-end delivery systems to manage all types of platforms and create unity,” said Lafortune. “Build more better efficient routes, create density, delivery areas, more scalability, all while giving high level visibility of your day to day operations.

“Our customers used to dictate what we do and how we operate, whereas Grasshopper dictates how we operate to maximize profit. From inbound to outbound freight, scheduling, routing, returns, warehouse operations, load out, deliveries- all the way to accounting administrative.”  

Grasshopper’s technology supports a vast range of functions through a restful 2.0 API with secure access to data. It connects a set of webhooks to push updates directly to each account’s system as orders are being updated in real-time on the platform- allowing business flexibility and scalability. 

Using Grasshopper’s platform, SDS’ customers receive an end-to-end delivery experience with live updates supported on their mobile, which enables them to: 

  • Self-schedule deliveries online for convenient customer experience + control 
  • Receive real-time, on-site order tracking + alerts from point of origin to customers’ home 
  • Communicate with driver/customer service team for queries and direct communication
  • Sign/Confirm Contactless Proof of Delivery (Go paperless) 
  • Provide honest rating + feedback on the delivery experience 
  • Select payment options online 

Grasshopper was designed with the goal to provide a full ERP solution to retailers, transportation providers, shippers, and 3PLs. Powered by hundreds of thousands of shipments and multiple patents, Grasshopper’s API enabled SDS to manage their entire operation through a single platform, eliminating the need to depend on multiple applications to fill in other logistical gaps (i.e. route planning, WMS, CRM, etc. = all into one). These complete integrations given at  their control have helped SDS to reduce costs and save time when managing their supply chain- which enabled them to further their freight capabilities and take on more customers to their business. By synchronizing data across SDS’ warehousing, CRM, logistics, and carrier partners, Grasshopper uses machine learning technology to automate custom reporting for SDS to track their KPI and business growth. From running out of time, trying to coordinate each delivery and figuring out time-consuming processes, SDS ripped away from the traditional industry process and rebuilt their operations through Grasshopper, which integrated more efficiency, quality, and capacity to expand their transportation network to customers across the U.S. 

“There hasn’t been a system out there that’s partner-friendly that includes the operation. There’s only systems out there that will give you pieces. For example, DispatchTrack will give you routing optimization, but it doesn’t give the warehouse component or the accounting part. But with Grasshopper, we’re dealing with claims, lost freight, and warehouse efficiency that improved drastically from before when we had to search by freight.” 

Overall, Lafortune expressed his great expectations to continue furthering SDS’ operational success with Grasshopper’s technology, as both companies evolve to develop their services towards evolutionary growth. 

“Grasshopper has been more of a forward thinking open API and EDI that can literally run your whole business, which is not custom in our industry,” Lafortune concluded. “There’s nothing like it.” 

To learn more about Grasshopper, feel free to contact us here. For more information about SDS, please visit here

About Grasshopper 

Grasshopper Labs was founded with a single mission in place: to embed technology into the traditional industry’s delivery processes, and help our customers discover the efficiencies a cutting-edge technology can provide in their business. Grasshopper is empowering hundreds of delivery terminals, retailers, and delivery networks that service thousands of customers every day, by providing them with an end-to-end enterprise delivery platform needed to help operate and grow their business.

About SDS 

Specialized Distribution Solutions (SDS) can be easily explained as a transportation solutions company with a customer first approach. At SDS, we realize business success is imperative on their business partners, so we take the guesswork out of transportation and logistics to allow you to focus on what you do best! We are a 1 stop shop for any and all of your transportation needs. Our team specializes in, but not limited to, white glove service, freight brokerage, and office relocation.