Making the Leap from Regional to Commodity Planning

Written By: Brian Rejer
Director of Planning, Optimization, and Driver Experience

In January 2014, after years of operating under a regional based planning philosophy, Celadon made the calculated move to transition into a commodity based planning philosophy.  This has set Celadon apart from other major trucking companies by putting a major focus on servicing the customer, along with increasing driver utilization metrics.

Celadon’s dry van truckload operation consists of nine commodity groups.  Each group includes customers with similar specialized demands (e.g. Automotive, Manufacturing, Retail).  Rather than having one planner responsible for numerous types of customers with different types of demands within a geographic region, Celadon aligned its customer service and planning teams to create experts in servicing those specific demands for a group of customers from start to finish.

Two of the major components to adjusting to the new philosophy were the creation of the “commodity planner” and “service planner” roles, and physically sitting the planners within their respective customer service pods. 

The new commodity planner role essentially functions to preplan drivers on loads that are pending to be assigned, while the new service planner role tracks dispatched loads within his/her commodity and works to resolve issues that cause transit delays (e.g. breakdowns, weather delays, driver error).  These two roles work hand-in-hand to ensure the customer is taken care of from pickup through delivery.

By placing these two planners within each customer service pod the communication process has become fluid.  Rather than going to multiple planners with requests depending on where the load picks up or delivers on the map, our customer service teams have two dedicated planners they can go to for anything they need.

Customer service has, and always will be, a top priority at Celadon and by aligning the planning group to our commodity structure we have created a streamlined operation.  This kind of dedication continues to increase service percentages and rankings, which in turn leads to new business and additional opportunities to utilize our fleet of drivers.  This is just another way Celadon sets itself apart as a true solutions provider in the trucking industry.