Arrive Logistics

Tracking exceptions in a shipment's journey

Saving $2-6 million by providing clarity and accountability

My Role:
Product Design Lead
I collaborated with the Product, Biz Ops, and Training teams to develop a comprehensive solution for exception management saving $2-6 million annually. I created an accountability and visibility tool preferred by 90% of our users. This current iteration of the solution serves as a baseline for future improvements. With the improved tracking and monitoring of exception mismanagement by our data team, we can provide more efficient solutions going forward.

Exceptions are unexpected situations that occur in the delivery process.

Arrive Logistics connects Customers (e.g., Home Depot) who need to ship products with Carriers (e.g., FedEx) providing truck services. Unexpected situations that occur during a shipment's journey are called exceptions. These exceptions include late trucks, missing paperwork, same-day truck cancellations, or unexpected costs that Customers must reimburse.

Common Exceptions that occur during the delivery process. Exceptions stall shipments during transit and prolong the end-to-end delivery process.

Accessorial Exceptions occur when Carriers have to pay for services that a Customer did not account for.

Sometimes, a Carrier might need to pay for additional assistance (known as a lumper) to unload their truck on time. Arrive would then reimburse the Carrier and charge the Customer for the lumper service expenses.

A preview of the the proposed solution

Without proper notice, Customers can decline to reimburse us— costing us several millions a year.

Our contract with each Customer outlines the notification speed to qualify for reimbursement. The requirements vary for each customer, ranging from within one hour of the exception to 48 hours afterward. If we fail to notify Customers in time, they can decline reimbursement.

This happens so often that we maintain a dedicated bank account to pay carriers if a Customer doesn't reimburse us.

Resolving exceptions is like herding cats. Each team manages their tasks differently— working in silos without consulting the others.

Resolving exceptions involves two teams: one that works with the customer, and the other with the carrier. The two teams manage their tasks on separate spreadsheets without visibility into each other's workflows. Additionally, exception management differs widely among customers and carriers, making it difficult to establish standardized processes.

Using the Swiss Cheese Model, we created a multi-layered approach to improve success.

First, we streamlined the process by standardizing Carrier contracts and proactively notifying Customers.

Standardize every Carrier contract

The Biz Ops team worked with our Carrier Sales representatives to establish standardized contracts. Under these contracts, Carriers are required to notify us within 3 hours of any exceptions to be eligible for reimbursement.

Promote proactive communication

The Customer team will proactively notify customers of potential accessorials before we receive confirmation from Carriers. Customer teams will reach out again in the event of a false exception report.

Then, I created a home for exceptions that provided visibility and accountability on exception progress.

Provide exception visibility

We designed a home for each exception. With one source of truth, anyone has access to all the relevant information for an exception. No more hunting down exception information through Slack and email.

Enforce personal accountability

For each exception, we’ve added a high-level to-do list assigned to each role. Clear accountability with timestamps helps us identify weaknesses in our new exceptions process for future changes.

Optimize email notifications

We redesigned our email notifications to send once a day, providing updates for every exception on a particular shipment. This ensures our reps are updated without overwhelming them with emails.

End users loved the new UI, but expressed concerns about the new Exceptions process.

All test participants completed every user task, finding the interface intuitive. However, some users expressed concerns about the new process. Although the changes saved money for the business, they added extra tasks for our Customer and Carrier teams. Customer teams were especially concerned due to increased workload and friction when communicating with Customers.

The solution sets a baseline to track Exception management. We will continue to streamline the process, allowing teams to focus on revenue-generating activities.

Although Customer and Carrier teams are concerned about the increase in workload and friction with their clients, this solution will help better identify weaknesses in our exception management process. We will continue to work with our Data team to iterate on solutions that streamline the involvement of internal and external parties.