Melissa Priest, President
“Every dollar saved in transportation translates to an improvement in the overall profitability of a firm,” begins Melissa Priest, President of Alexandretta Transportation Consulting. In the parcel arena, increasing costs significantly outstrip the U.S. rate of inflation, which makes these costs extremely important for shippers with multi-million dollar parcel budgets. “In addition to the annual General Rate Increases (GRIs) instituted by the integrated carriers, shippers are also incurring peak season surcharges, mid-year fee hikes, more broadly applied and costly dimensional charges and rising fuel,” she adds. And all of this topped with more stringent rules and increases around oversized packages are only adding to the woes of shippers, making it difficult for them to keep up with, manage and mitigate the costs. Rendering a unique way to navigate the increases in parcel costs, Alexandretta Transportation Consulting assists shippers in managing the entire order and shipment lifecycle, from order creation to financial settlement, to realize significant cost savings from their parcel budgets. Interestingly, the company can manage these processes not only for parcel, but for over 600 carriers globally, across most major modes of transportation. “We are looking at the entire shipment lifecycle, from a multi-modal approach, to significantly drive down costs for shippers,” explains Melissa.
Alexandretta begins its client meetings by identifying their pain points. “Many shippers process shipments on a shipment or carrier basis, which lacks a holistic view that can drive savings by carrier, mode, service or even consolidation opportunities. We enable them to get all the data consolidated in one place which optimizes package savings. It also reduces the time to process shipments and can save on the number of employees processing packages and the use of IT resources,” says Melissa. The system also provides base rates from different carriers, discounts, fuel and essential surcharges so that clients can choose the most optimized rate at the beginning of the shipping process. Further, the system identifies the shipments that can be consolidated into one shipment, to reduce the time and cost for creating shipments, and also significantly reduce transportation costs, as one box tends to be less costly than two. From here, Alexandretta's system optimizes the shipment, creates labels, manifests, tracks and traces the shipment, and provides proof of delivery information. At the back end, the system provides freight audit, cost allocation, invoice control and BI capabilities. Alexandretta’s audit capabilities, which range from shipment creation, to carrier selection, to shipment visibility, to rate audit, cost allocation and business intelligence are module-based, and are able to both meet current client needs and scale for growth. To completely make use of the available technology, the company then integrates its system with the client's ERP systems to retrieve data about shipments to kick-start the process of cost management. Layering client-centric strategy over the top provides a powerful, process and results-driven approach. “Because we are keenly focused on adding both short and long-term value for our clients, it is a natural progression of the way we do business that we are solution oriented,” she adds.
The Secret Sauce behind a Powerful Solution
Alongside its technology solutions, Alexandretta offers exceptional consulting services to its clients. The team brings to the table a combined experience of over eight decades in negotiating parcel contracts and providing parcel spend management services. As a consulting firm, Alexandretta is able to determine what savings are available to its clients and finds savings 95 percent of the time the firm engages. “We look at the business from a carrier point of view and review pricing characteristics and marketplace conditions in order to identify savings,” says Melissa. This is one of the prime reasons that she believes is responsible for helping clients save about 10-20 percent of their existing freight budgets. “These savings have a great impact on the overall costs to a company and add directly to the bottom line. Shippers can redeploy these dollars wherever required increasing their competitive edge in the market,” adds Melissa.
To elaborate on their approach towards clients, Melissa narrates how the company recently engaged with a firm that spends approximately $7 million annually on global parcel. In order to implement the best rates, Alexandretta recommended maintaining their current carriers, yet utilized different strategies by region. The company then assisted the client in the negotiations process and identified the scope for savings of nearly 15 percent in their existing contracts while improving service levels.
Going the Extra Mile
Alexandretta’s commitment to saving costs for shippers goes to the extent of identifying additional savings by helping them with long-term decision-making processes and giving them options of switching their current carriers or service. “While deploying a new service or carrier can be a difficult task at the onset, we help clients earn maximum benefits and grow in the marketplace,” elucidates Melissa. She also boasts of the company’s global presence, “We are domestic parcel experts with the expertise to work globally." Alexandretta deploys its offshore employees to assess the global parcel, trucking and airfreight industries, and guide clients in the process of optimizing savings by prioritizing steps towards a profitable outcome and achieve a competitive edge in the market.
We are looking at the entire shipment lifecycle to drive down costs for shippers
As the brainchild of Melissa, Alexandretta is an emanation of her never-ending zeal for the parcel and transportation space. Illustrating a true example of women empowerment, the company is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) that has proudly created a niche in a male-dominated industry. Alexandretta rightly testifies the statement, “Firms utilizing female talent are more profitable and more solution-oriented.”
With the goal of becoming the best audit and contract optimization services company for all modes of transportation worldwide, Alexandretta is set to empower global firms especially retail shippers, with their strategies in terms of transportation. “We are incredibly client and solutions focused and work constantly to understand our clients’ needs to bring the proper solutions to them,” says Melissa. The company practices a win-win philosophy, aligning its goals with clients. Currently, Alexandretta aims at adding bandwidth to reduce the workload on clients and expanding their footprint globally, keeping an eye on the global transportation strategies observed in the retail space. “Keeping up with the current transportation and parcel trends, we can free millions of dollars across the U.S.,” concludes Melissa.