The essential services that transportation and logistics professionals provide make the world go round. And MoLo Solutions, a third-party logistics firm, is at the vanguard of building a faster and more efficient shipping supply chain.
Since its founding in 2017, the Chicago-based company has been committed to improving communication among its shippers, carriers and employees—wherever they are in the world. That’s why MoLo relies on Slack to drive seamless collaboration among its 1,000-plus employees and network of more than 60,000 carrier and shipping partners.
With Slack as its digital HQ, a flexible space that connects teams, tools and customers, MoLo executes with speed and precision—a key competitive advantage in a traditionally change-wary industry.
Here’s an in-depth look at how the company, which was recently acquired by freight and logistics provider ArcBest, uses Slack to:
- Drive a superior customer experience
- Streamline operations and real-time logistics
- Reimagine onboarding and talent development
“With Slack, we’re able to make decisions in real time, and we’re able to put our drivers and customer partners at the forefront of those decisions.”
Growing revenue with a digital sales floor in Slack
Teammates across MoLo share the same goal: seamless shipment service and delivery. Departments from accounting to sales to customer service must work in tandem to coordinate each successful shipment. Effective cross-functional communication is critical to closing deals with prospective customers and retaining customers, according to Gabrielle Laino, the director of customer operations.
“There’s one shipment and that shipment is the common goal, but operations handles part A, the carrier handles part B and sales handles part C,” Laino says. “If we’re not properly communicating, it’s really hard to transfer the responsibility from part A to B to C.”
Slack channels, digital spaces for team- and project-based collaboration, keep all of this rapid communication moving with the flow of traffic. Large accounts, such as Anheuser-Busch, have a dedicated channel where MoLo employees across departments work together to resolve customer issues in a snap. Everything from the sales handoff to triaging account concerns happens here.
Slack is the digital sales floor that supports MoLo’s account executives throughout the entire sales cycle. When a prospective customer is ready to work with MoLo, a lead notification is piped into the relevant Slack channel so that account executives can immediately assemble the right pursuit team. Other cross-functional teams like pricing and accounting are able to collaborate in the account channel, making it a digital deal room.
Once the contract is signed and the customer is ready for onboarding, the sales rep simply fills out a ticket in the issue-tracking software Jira. This kicks off a cascade of actions via the Jira app for Slack: A Slack notification alerts operations and account management leaders, who then assign a team to the new account, according to Laino. “We have all the information we need to make a fast decision,” she says. “And then everyone in the channel is aware of who’s taking responsibility for the account.”
“If a sales rep alerts the account team in a customer channel that all shipments need to be picked up in the next four hours, we can quickly work out a plan in Slack. This kind of communication would never be so instant in email.”
Transforming the customer experience with Slack Connect
Matt Vogrich, MoLo’s chief operating officer, zoomed out to provide a 10,000-foot view of how MoLo operates. As an example, he used Kraft Heinz, maker of the beloved Kraft macaroni and cheese. MoLo connects Kraft Heinz with trucking companies across the country to ensure that the tasty staple reaches all the right stores.
“My job is to make our people as effective as possible in their day-to-day roles,” Vogrich says. “That way, they can provide the best service to our driver partners, who are shipping the product across the country, and to our customer partners—like Kraft Heinz— that are trying to distribute freight to consumers.”
Historically, this back-and-forth coordination with drivers and suppliers would have taken place over email and text. But with Slack Connect, which extends channel-based messaging to external partners, MoLo can easily get up to speed with its trusted partners, vendors and customers without ever leaving Slack. Using Slack’s Enterprise Grid solution, MoLo can create and sponsor Slack Connect channels with any external party, regardless of whether or not they are on a paid Slack plan.
Working in Slack Connect enables MoLo to forge deeper relationships with everyone in the transportation pipeline, from suppliers, to big trucking companies like Werner and Schneider to mom-and-pop shops that own one or two trucks.
The company also shares a Slack channel with Mastery Logistics Systems, a company providing MoLo with transportation management software through its MasterMind TMS platform. This shared channel allows teams to ask questions and get speedy resolutions without ever leaving Slack.
“Even the 70-year-old mom-and-pop-shop trucking companies have learned to love Slack, thanks to the white-glove service they get with Slack Connect and how easy it is to use.”
Resolving operations and logistics needs in real time
Each day, MoLo’s team of more than 250 carrier sales reps manage day-to-day coordination with customers. This involves matching and booking trucking companies with the right carriers and freight. The team measures performance by time to action, an internal assessment of how quickly operations teammates respond to customer tenders; the metric is one of MoLo’s most important key performance indicators.
With Slack, Laino’s team manages the behind-the-scenes tender coordination entirely in channels. “Slack is a huge help in this because we’re able to quickly communicate tenders that are coming our way and hop on them sooner,” she says. “It really improves our KPIs within the department.”
For driver services reps, Slack is also the command center for triaging carrier problems, such as truck service issues or personal emergencies. Slack enables reps to deliver accurate answers faster by bringing the right people into the conversation in real time in channels such as:
- #am for coordinating during morning shifts
- #pm for coordinating during afternoon and evening shifts
- #overnight for assisting with night shifts
- #fuel-and-lumpers for drivers who need fuel advances or help unloading
The Slack Platform is at the heart of all this real-time collaboration. Slack integrates with out-of-the-box apps and supports the creation of custom bots and workflows. To date, MoLo uses more than 50 apps to ensure smooth deliveries.
One clever custom bot supports MoLo’s call system. When a trucking company dials in and gets put on hold for too long, the requestor can ask for a call back. The Slack bot collects the driver’s motor carrier number and which region they’re trying to book. It then sends an alert to the appropriate carrier sales channel so a rep can quickly follow up.
And with Slack’s enterprise-grade security, MoLo’s IT teams can rest assured that only the right people and approved devices have access to information in Slack. Features such as single sign-on, domain claiming and support for enterprise mobility management allow administrators to tighten security as needed.
“Slack enables leadership to keep everyone in our business informed on how we’re doing, how we need to adjust and what’s happening within the freight market at large.”
Reimagining onboarding and talent development in the digital-first workplace
As MoLo’s co-founder and director of business development, Will Jenkins puts talent development first. Because MoLo is a remote and hybrid workplace, Jenkins and his colleagues rely on Slack as the digital HQ for welcoming new teammates.
“Since March 2020, our team has never been all together in the office,” Jenkins says. “But when we had an in-person training event that included new hires, it felt like we had all been working together forever. That’s because of Slack.”
New hires are automatically added to relevant channels, which provide rich historical context for easy reference. Regularly used channels include:
- #account channels for connecting with all the cross-functional team members involved with deal coordination and account management
- #team channels where reps and sales managers can connect with colleagues and share advice, tactics and updates
- #help channels for sourcing fast answers on specific topics, such as #help-pricing, #help-quoting and #help-competitive
With channels, tenured sales reps, who have all the institutional knowledge, can jump in and help newer reps. For example, if a new rep needs a hand with quoting a shipment, they can put a request in #help-quoting and expect a swift reply; they can even spin up a Slack huddle, a lightweight feature for audio-first conversations, to discuss the answer in real time.
“We created a peer-level Slack channel for new sales reps, and now we’re seeing a lot more high-tenure sales reps engage with new teammates. Slack is driving camaraderie and helping with rep development.”
To pick up the Kraft macaroni and cheese example, a lot had to go right on its trip from Kraft Heinz warehouses to grocery store shelves. A transport tender was issued, a truck secured, a load delivered and lumpers hired to unload the cheesy goods.
MoLo makes all those behind-the-scenes logistics look like magic. With seamless collaboration, supported by Slack, teams across the company ensure that supply chains flow smoothly and customers can access the goods they need and cheesy snacks they crave.