Since Ben Benazzi joined IL2000 as Product Director a bit over a year ago, he has brought a healthy mix of business process understanding and technology acumen. He combines these domains to improve business outcomes both for IL2000 and the company’s customers.
“Solving complex challenges drives me,” explains Benazzi. “The industry is an ever-evolving beast. It takes the best from my team and from the company as a whole to answer these demands. We stand by the quality IL2000 has always shown its customers. I wake up excited, not knowing what challenges I'll face but knowing I will have a fun day solving them."
Benazzi’s unique ability to communicate with technical people, developers, sales folk and marketing allows him to offer solutions that tick all the boxes for internal stakeholders and customers alike.
“IL2000 is a company with a clear mission. Everything it does drives that mission forward. IL2000 serves its customers to the best capacity it can. I can get behind a company like this.” – Ben Benazzi
Build it and they will come
Benazzi develops and maintains IL2000’s Transportation Management System (TMS) — “a tool which facilitates end-to-end building, tracking and managing shipments for our customers.” Benazzi upholds that IL2000’s TMS stands out in the market.
"Our TMS is unique in two ways. First, it was based on over 150 years of combined supply chain management expertise. Each expert who helped build our TMS enriched the development process with an invaluable industry perspective on how things should work,” explains Benazzi.
“Second, we built our TMS using best-of-breed technology and standards, both in terms of development and in relation to how we handle integrations with customers. As a result, it’s very easy for customers to integrate with us as a company, a software, and a whole system. When we bring customer information into our system to manage their loads, there is minimal -- if any -- load on their IT systems and staff. We handle everything within our company, making integration easy and seamless.”
“Our embedded expertise is not something you get with an off-the-shelf product that's supposed to fit everyone's needs. Our TMS is tailored. It’s pointy, meaning it handles edge cases very well. That is truly unique in our industry.” – Ben Benazzi
Superior features create business value
Benazzi believes the robust and cutting-edge features of IL2000’s TMS afford it a critical marketplace advantage over the competition.
“I have looked at other TMSs when doing market scans and competitive analyses. I can confidently say that the way we extract business value from our features stands alone. No other system out there synthesizes quite so many angles on how supply chains operate in practice. Unlike many of the big names out there who have general features fitted for everybody, we combine market perspective with our tailored features.”
Benazzi lights up when he talks about the next best thing. Though he can’t name this technical secret, he does hint at what's to come. “We’re doing some really exciting work around increasing our capacity for truckload. Once we release this feature, which will be very soon, it will allow us to 10x or 20x what we can handle in terms of capacity for our clients. Our team of developers has done tremendous work for over a year working on this specific feature.”
The know-how embodied in that dev team drives product features and success, so let’s talk more about those individuals.
Great minds make great products
The product development team comprises developers, product managers, project managers, DBAs (database administrators), and quality assurance analysts. Benazzi explains how the team works together.
“The team takes requirements from different stakeholders, both clients’ businesses that we integrate with and internal stakeholders. We translate those requests into software that not only serves their need but also advances the company's mission.”
Benazzi’s team has grown tremendously, doubling its headcount in the past year. With how business has been going, how product development has been evolving, and with all the exciting things they’re doing, he foresees the team growing even more in the coming years, especially as IL2000 consolidates its lead from a technical point of view over its competitors.
“There are a lot of things that I'm proud of when it comes to the team,” Benazzi says, “but one thing that stands out is the way the team has rallied. In terms of developments, we have had some very challenging problems to answer, and the solutions were not always straightforward. Everybody in the team has gone the extra mile to solve problems, and I appreciate that we can all count on each other. Our shared problem-solving mindset has brought the team together and built a sense of camaraderie. That's what makes the team really special.”
Benazzi stresses that there is no typical day in the product dev team. Some days are longer than others, and while they all start with the daily standup to keep the team abreast of all tasks and issues, from there, everybody has specific tasks to do: work on development, gather requirements, test features, and attend business meetings.
“I am a servant leader whose job is to take care of my team so they can focus on their work. I explain the context and the impact of the work they're doing, which keeps motivation high. I manage the workload as it comes in to shield the team from outside distractions. And, of course, I ensure everyone takes PTO to rest and unwind.”
“We all have the mission to make the company better, to answer our client's needs and requests, and to wake up every day hoping to find more challenging problems to solve.” –Ben Benazzi
Problems and solutions
IL2000 is crafty at identifying problems, locking down requirements and concocting innovative, expert-driven and pointy solutions.
“The best thing about working at IL2000 is the problems we get to solve every day. They're all challenging, and there is always an improvement to our current tech stack that needs to happen. We bring the best of my team and the company to the table to answer these demands and stand by the quality we have always shown our customers.” – Ben Benazzi