Determined to solve the stubborn problems of managing information from their sprawling networks of truckers, three of the world’s top forwarders have contracted the technology-based service of Ex Works Inc.

These companies - among the more technically advanced in the industry - recognized in the Ex Works’ technology a unique opportunity to put an end to the phone tag and paper chase that characterize forwarders’ current methods of manage trucking data.

The routine is familiar to all forwarders. Each morning, skilled workers in each station are tied up chasing POD information by placing endless phone calls and receiving long faxes from hundreds of truckers that take hours to enter into the tracking system. Other employees open the fat envelopes that arrive daily with trucker billing, checking each transaction and entering the invoices line by line into payables systems.

Information is frequently missing, inaccurate or late, so the process is often ineffective and always expensive.

Ex Works is changing all this. On behalf of its clients, Ex Works manages the connection to hundreds of truckers through a simple Internet screen, or EDI, at the trucker’s option. Truckers provide the POD and billing information; Ex Works automatically checks the validity, and then delivers both to the forwarder electronically.

For large or small truckers, the process is simple, fast and free. For the forwarders, the advantages are even more significant: they gain the control they need over POD consistency and quality, while ensuring that they pay their truckers the correct amount. And forwarders eliminate all data entry, for both POD data and billing.

The technology is straightforward and simple and it works.

“We conducted a detailed study of the costs of processing billing and PODs,” said Tom Outwin, Managing Director of the Northeast for Panalpina North America. “Ex Works automates most back office tasks with truckers, enabling us to focus more attention on customer service and less on approving endless piles of invoices.” Based on the success of initial testing in New York, Panalpina is now rolling the system out to other offices across the United States.

“Trucking is the last frontier in vendor management for large forwarders,” said Gregg Borgeson, Ex Works’ founder and president. Borgeson himself faced the problems of administering national trucking networks when he ran the North American companies for ASG in the 1980s, and Hellmann in the 1990s. “Like other forwarders, we understood how spotty information collected from truckers damaged the integrity of the information we gave our clients. But as a single company, there was no practical solution that we could implement on our own.

“Now, three major forwarders are leading the way to an efficient approach for gathering and controlling delivery and billing data from the thousands of specialized truckers that serve our industry,” he continued. “A practical solution is finally available.”