Keeping shelves stocked and the economy going
Integrated, high-availability IT infrastructure helps Nolan Transportation Group support shipping logistics.
“The trucking industry keeps the supply chain moving, which in turn keeps the economy moving. Anything you need or are using has at one point in its life been on a truck.”
Maintaining a commitment to customer service amidst explosive growth
Headquartered in Atlanta, NTG connects businesses that have products to ship with transportation companies, who have the assets to move them. While its customers rely on NTG to seamlessly support their complex networks and deliver high-touch service, carriers value NTG’s ability to access shipments that better utilize their capacity, allowing them to scale their operations and optimize their networks.
Leveraging technology, NTG is able to manage the diverse needs of over 7,000 shippers and 30,000 carriers with simplified solutions that drive efficiencies and enable businesses to better execute their business strategies.
“The trucking industry keeps the supply chain moving, which in turn keeps the economy moving,” said Monica Devereaux, vice president of marketing for NTG. “Anything you need or are using has at one point in its life been on a truck.”
After experiencing dramatic, year-over-year growth, the company needed an IT infrastructure partner that could keep pace with its growth and support its critical phone system. This system remains the central communication vehicle for the transportation industry, and NTG utilizes it to communicate with customers to receive updates, resolve issues and build long-standing relationships. Handling thousands of shipments a day, the reliability of its phone system is essential in providing outstanding customer service and ensuring safe, timely deliveries.
“Reliable phone systems play a big role in providing that human touch in an industry that is both traditional and innovative. It is our job to resolve issues and earn our stripes as a third-party provider and real-time communication is critical in adding that value to our customers and carriers,” explained Devereaux. “At the same time, our ability to work collaboratively across our 13 locations is largely dependent on a unified phone system.
Hosted private cloud supports heavy call volume to keep deliveries on track
NTG chose Flexential based on the level of effort and insight it provided during the presales engineering process. “We were impressed by the solution that was designed and the team that was willing to go the extra mile to help tailor a solution that would work for us,” said Patrick Robertson, Director of IT at NTG. “We really spent a lot of time in presales to make sure this solution and partnership were going to be the right fit. Building long-term relationships is an important part of our growth strategy.”
To achieve the highly reliable environment needed to support its core business requirements—while ensuring it fit both the short-term and long-term goals of the company—Flexential devised a secure, scalable, hosted private cloud for NTG. This dedicated infrastructure was tailored to meet NTG’s specific requirements around the deployment of its new Mitel phone system. This phone system moved the organization from a distributed model with 13 different phone systems across 12 remote offices and its corporate headquarters, to a single, unified system that allowed NTG to implement changes and updates from a centralized location for improved ease of management. This new system also introduced enhanced features that enrich the user experience and provide deeper insights into call volume and other essential metrics.
“Call volume can spike from nothing to a couple hundred calls in a matter of seconds, so the scalability of the system is critical to our business,” said Robertson. “We worked with Flexential to make sure our architecture was designed to handle this level of fluctuation.”
To ensure a high-availability environment, Flexential also architected an active-active, dual-site configuration for backups and Disaster Recovery.
With its production site running out of the Flexential – Atlanta Data Center and its secondary location at Flexential – Louisville, NTG achieved the geographic diversity and resilience to keep its phone systems available during a service disruption. Redundant 1-gigabit connections between the data centers also support data replication and the continuity of its systems. This level of resilience is backed by Flexential’s 100% SLA on power, cooling and network bandwidth.
The solution also delivers 30 days of backups to protect data and to enable recovery in the event of file/folder loss or corruption.
To support its internal IT team, NTG also utilizes Flexential Professional Services to import its phone system and assist in building and configuring new systems during the deployment. Additionally, Flexential’s Managed SQL Services provide proactive database monitoring to ensure all critical services remain available and secure.
Robust, scalable infrastructure without sacrificing the personal touch
Focused on delivering reliable solutions and unyielding customer service in its own business, NTG looks for this same level of reliability and personalized support from its vendors. Flexential checked both boxes for NTG.
“The ability to build a customized solution was critical. We are a complex business and require a customized, consultative approach to partnering with people for the long term, not the short term,” said Devereaux. “Flexential has done a great job taking the time to understand our business needs. Finding that type of partner is always a win for us.”
“Flexential has been key in helping design and deploy a solution that can grow with us,” added Robertson. “The Flexential team has been 100% available to my team and me during this process to make sure that we had what we needed, when we needed it to execute the project efficiently and on time.”
The reliability of the Flexential private cloud has been essential, not only in supporting NTG’s logistics operations and IT team, but also in supporting its frontline workers. Staffing the phones 24/7, these essential employees need a dependable phone system to help them service accounts and grow the business.
Flexential’s flexibility was also critical to the success of the deployment. After a long presales cycle, NTG had a tight deployment timeline. Due to the rapid nature of its business, some target dates were altered during the process. The Flexential project team pivoted in lock-step with NTG to meet its shifting timelines and successfully implement the IT solution.
NTG has continued to experience tremendous growth, expanding from 250 employees and $2 million in revenue in 2015 to 1,000 employees and $875 million in revenue in 2019. Recently, the company acquired two small brokerage firms with plans to continue this growth—and Flexential is ready to accommodate its escalating capacity demands.
NTG is also investing heavily in its proprietary technology to drive and enhance its success. This strategic investment includes a core transportation management system (TMS) that will integrate its phone systems with its CRM solution to automatically provide customer service representatives with relevant account information when a call comes in, enhancing and streamlining service capabilities.
This new comprehensive solution will increase NTG’s ability to aggregate data and leverage data analytics to gain valuable business insights. By extracting business-enabling information, the company can make more data-driven, actionable decisions that will facilitate improved efficiencies and customer experience.
“Leveraging data allows us to optimize our digital strategy and invest in our customer experience,” said Devereaux. “Flexential brings a full-suite, integrated solution that provides immense value to our teams and our ability to service the supply chain.”
Nolan Transportation Group (NTG)
Founded in 2005, Nolan Transportation Group (NTG) is a third-party logistics company that provides freight brokerage services to over 7,000 businesses across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Managing a carrier base of 30,000 independent transportation and trucking companies, the business is responsible for getting products to their destinations safely, efficiently and without delay. To do this, NTG requires a reliable IT infrastructure to support its operations and maintain constant communication with its customers and carriers.