View This Article in BOSS Magazine
Focusing on customer experience and ensuring success for partners leads to unprecedented growth for Nolan Transportation Group
In the past 18 months, logistics firms learned the hard way that the old adage is true — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. For industry-leading third-party logistics provider Nolan Transportation Group (NTG), the pandemic delivered a different lesson: that crisis is a time to dare. By daring to create outstanding customer experiences before disaster struck, NTG grew at an unprecedented rate during a time when everyone scrambled for survival strategies.
“Our job as a 3PL partner is to service the United States and keep the economy moving,” said Harris Rainbow, NTG’s chief operating officer. “We do that by having great people who want to serve our shippers and carriers and treat their shipments as their own. That’s our foundation.”
That service-driven infrastructure has resulted in enduring growth for the Atlanta-based enterprise, which has doubled in revenue year-over-year for half a decade. Eight years ago, NTG had a staff of 50 and a vision to rise up the ranks as a single source brokerage and 3PL. Today, it employs over 1,300 people in 10 states, serves over 9,000 shippers in North America and boasts a carrier base of over 45,000 independent transportation and trucking partners.
Its transportation services include dry van, expedited, refrigerated, flatbed, partial, LTL, intermodal, as well as drayage.
There’s no doubt that NTG’s pedigree underpins its consistent upward movement. Its parent company, Transportation Insight Holding Company, also guides Transportation Insight, North America’s leading provider of unique supply chain solutions from domestic transportation to full-scale international logistics. Additionally, it’s the developer of an award-winning best-in-class, real-time enterprise logistics reporting software, InsightFusion. In January 2020, the holding company acquired FreightPros, an Austin, Texas-based less-than-truckload (LTL) brokerage that later transitioned to the LTL solution to complement NTG’s strength in strategic truckload shipping.
Named one of the fastest growing private companies in the country by Inc., NTG has landed consistently on the Inc. 500 and 5000 lists for the past several years. Understanding the importance of sustainability, the company garnered Supply and Demand Chain Executive’s Green Supply Chain Award for 2020, for helping its shippers and carriers meet green supply chain goals by measuring, benchmarking, and implementing freight transportation efficiency strategies. NTG is also an EPA SmartWay Partner.
“When COVID disrupted the industry, we were no different than anyone else,” Rainbow said. “Part of what we do is to keep the economy moving, so we immediately went to work on ensuring that our customers, shippers and carriers alike, had what they needed to be successful.”
He noted that one of the biggest challenges in the industry overall was to provide pre-pandemic service levels in the work-from-home environment. Having begun a digital transformation well in advance of the outbreak, NTG leveraged its proprietary TMS system, IT department, and communications systems to enable employees to work from home with the same energy and enthusiasm found in their onsite environment without missing a beat.
Undaunted by Disruption
The firm recognized that supply chains were rapidly becoming disruptive, and that the industry found itself on an unpredictable roller coaster it had never experienced before, and customers were on the same unpredictable ride; at that inflection point, agility became paramount. No matter the size or scope, logistics players unused to making deft strategic and tactical moves would suffer. In response to these market dynamics, NTG developed strategic priorities around new products, optimizing services, an accelerated digital transformation, improved carrier partner relations, enterprise growth, and achieving organizational and operational excellence in many areas.
“Shippers were having to move things to places they’d never moved them to before,” he said. Supply chains have a percentage of scheduled freight shipments that are on a set timeline and are always delivered to the same location. The pandemic threw the schedules and those responsible for meeting them into chaos.
“The flipside happened as well; carriers that were used to moving in the same lane over and over again suddenly found that those lanes weren’t moving at the same speed, price, and frequency as before. Our carriers wanted to know where our shippers wanted to go, and how they could get into the same spaces to meet the needs of their customers, employees, and families,” he said.
NTG adapted, using its human and technology resources to serve customers while everyone in the process learned how to be successful under confounding and challenging circumstances. “The most important thing for carriers is to get back home,” he said. “They needed to know how they were going to take new routes and get back home and trusted us to find the opportunities that would provide for their families financially and get them home during the course of the week.”
NTG’s carrier network is deeply invested in moving products for shippers. “They know we’re going to pay them on time, invest in their growth, treat them right, and they know we care about the health of their business in addition to caring about their drivers,” he said. “We want to develop shipper and carrier partnerships that mutually benefit each other’s growth together. … We are creating our flywheel in response to our customers’ growing needs and becoming a better brokerage partner for it. Our shippers keep coming back to us because we continue to expand our services and are committed to developing stronger relationships with our carriers."
In a world that experienced adversity, carriers became the lifeblood of the economy. “It was our job to make sure that we gave them what they needed to meet that challenge. We jumped, and have come out of it stronger than before,” he said.
“We’re a hybrid-digital brokerage,” he explained, noting their technology investments allow NTG to be transparent across the entire supply chain. NTG’s digital solutions provide real-time tracking and load matching that shows carriers what loads are available, what the optimum routes are, and how they can increase efficiency across the board.
NTGVision, the company’s interactive carrier portal, allows for 24/7 accessibility and communication across its carrier network and lets customers see payment status and load searching in real time, as well as makes uploading documents faster and more efficient.
While the reasons for NTG’s success are multifaceted, Rainbow credits NTG’s mandate to hire great people, adhere to its strategic priorities as a company as well as the investments in future-forward technologies for the lion’s share of its accomplishments. “I’m so proud of our employees and our management team, and so proud that we not only jumped to support our carriers and our shippers, but that we thrived at it.”
NTG provides third-party logistical services to customers across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Leveraging technology, NTG is able to manage the diverse needs of over 9,000 shippers and 45,000 carriers with simplified solutions that drive efficiencies and enable businesses to better execute their strategies.
Whether you’re a carrier that needs help generating revenue through scalable freight opportunities or a shipper that deserves the best possible service in the industry, our team is eager and ready to fulfill your needs and keep you charging forward. Visit our website to learn more about our capabilities and service at www.ntgfreight.com.
NTG has been ranked a 2021 Top Freight Brokerage Firm by Transport Topics and has appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest-growing, private companies for six consecutive years.
NTG offers excellent career growth potential with an immediate opportunity to learn from our industry-experienced team members. NTG is headquartered in Atlanta, GA with 13 other locations throughout the U.S.
Nolan Transportation Group
400 Northridge Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30350