G&D Integrated: Adapting to Customer Needs and Harnessing Technology for Enhanced Logistics Solutions

To set itself apart as a transportation and logistics service provider, G&D Integrated continues to adapt to its customers’ needs while harnessing technology that will take its services to the next level.

“We are really attentive to trying to avoid commoditization,” Vice President of Transportation Jeff Cohen says. “If you are in a realm like transportation, it’s easy to get put into that bucket. Rather than competing on someone’s view of the cost of a movement we have to emphasize the total value of our services, which is a broader view than just looking at the transportation cost alone.”

The Morton, Ill.-based company’s history dates back to the early 1880s when freight was delivered with horse-drawn wagons. After more than 100 years since it was founded, G&D integrated  now offers a variety of transportation, freight transfer and storage services. Today, G&D Integrated specializes in transportation, warehousing and distribution, manufacturing logistics and information technology.

G&D Integrated prides itself on working with customers it believes are interested in developing long-term relationships. G&D Integrated differentiates itself by getting a more thorough understanding of its customers’ businesses over time through data collection. “We have really evolved with our customers,” Cohen notes. “A lot of our focus is on supporting just-in-time delivery requirements or tight windows. We have always been very service oriented.”

G&D Integrated’s mission is to partner with its customers to grow their business by creating industry-leading logistics solutions. Its ultimate goal is to be recognized as an innovative, global supply chain partner by seamlessly connecting people, products and information.

Smart Fueling

The company operates 15 locations throughout Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia and South Carolina. “G&D Integrated’s business units and operations are strategically located to meet customer’s needs with maximum speed and efficiency,” the company says.

With a large portion of its operations based in Illinois, G&D Integrated is the state’s largest biodiesel customer and uses it for 66 percent of the fuel consumed by its 300-unit Illinois fleet, Cohen attests.

The company also fuels its fleet of 40 units in Charleston, S.C., with biodiesel.

Biodiesel is only produced in certain areas of the county and it has to make economic sense to implement, Cohen believes. “It’s not everywhere and the economics have to support the additional transit cost,” he says. “We are committed to it. As much as we can we are working to try and get supply in Indiana.”

Over the past four years the company has been using the renewable fuel, G&D Integrated has found biodiesel functions well in its engines and historically there have been some cost advantages to using it.

“The consumption that we do here has led us to develop strong relationships with the Illinois Soybean Association and the Illinois Lung Association to promote renewable sources of energy,” he says.

Data Collection

G&D Integrated collects customer data on multiple systems for each of its different services. However, it is working harder and combining all the data it collects, analyses and reports is an important area of investment for the company moving forward.

“We move thousands of shipments per day for a couple of our customers and we are getting a lot of information on how suppliers operate,” Cohen says. “There is a lot of opportunity to work with that.”

Along with combining data for its customers that will result in some cost-savings, G&D Integrated is also looking at the next wave of mobile technology for its trucks.

“The improvements and ease-of-use with the newer generation of mobile technology and the driver experience that comes with that are major benefits,” Cohen explains. “Beyond that, the systems allow us to marry location data with visibility to our dispatchers so we can better time-manage our drivers. That’s an exciting area.”

Its current on-board system tracks the company’s trucks, but doesn’t combine any additional information that would be useful to dispatchers.

For example, marrying the information would show dispatchers not only where a truck is, but also how many hours the driver has left, where the next load is in comparison to a driver’s location and factor in additional time for traffic congestion.

“How much time is it going to take to get there? That’s what really matters,” Cohen explains. “All those things make a difference in an operation, and that information can be collected from the mobile system and integrated with the dispatch system to allow better real-time decision-making.”

G&D Integrated is putting a plan in place to tie all that data together. This year, the company will implement new on-board systems and plans to start combining the data late next year.

“As far as we have been able to tell, no one has commercially developed this so far,” Cohen explains. “Some of this is custom work.”