Tim Gavronski brings deep carrier insight and comprehensive pricing to IL2000’s Logistics Engineering team.
Gavronski is no stranger to logistics, having worked in warehouses, as a customer supply chain analyst for a brewery, and for ten years on the LTL and TL carrier side. But what motivated him to make the jump to IL2000?
“What intrigued me about IL2000 was the level of detail they put into every customer. A big frustration I felt on the carrier side was being unable to dig down and solve client problems. Whereas here, that's all we do. We dive into our clients’ problems and get to know the people and their frustrations. We ask them, “What are your headaches and how do we solve them?” Then, we find resolutions to those problems and make their lives easier.
“I especially love that there are always new challenges, and every day is different. The ebbs and flows are an innate part of working in this industry. No two days are the same, and no two customers are identical. They have complicated problems that need to be solved.”
Gavronski’s extensive carrier experience is an excellent advantage for a 3PL that negotiates with carriers on a daily basis. “Pricing and operations experience on the carrier side allows me to see both ends and equips me to foster a more collaborative relationship. I can move the conversation beyond just telling them what we want and vice versa. With insight into what the carriers want, I can swiftly cater the data we give them to eliminate the back and forth so we can work together to make it happen.”
Logistics engineering in brief
According to Gavronski, good logistics engineering is about developing comprehensive solutions that address all a client's supply chain needs. This could be dealing with anything from new carriers entering the mix to mode shifting and even warehousing options – anything that gets the client’s supply chain, overall freight spend and service requirements to where they want them to be.
Not every 3PL has logistics engineers, however.
“What makes IL2000 unique is that we’re not transactional. There are a lot of 3PLs out there who only negotiate one set of rates with the carriers on the national level, and that's the one rate they sell to their clients. It’s the same for everybody.
What we do is different. We look at every client’s needs and negotiate specific pricing for each one. We do have some backup blanket rates, but they're rarely used. Most of our pricing and negotiations with carriers and clients will be at the client-specific level. Ultimately, it’s about streamlining that process so they don’t have to and offering them what they need from a saving, service or reporting expectation. Then we take that information to their clients so they don't have to. We even manage RFPs for them and pretty much do all the work for free while giving them savings at the end of the day to enjoy and put back to their bottom line.”
“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At IL2000, everything is engineered to fit the client's need." – Tim Gavronski
Analytics at the heart of data-driven decisions
As Senior Director of Logistics Engineering, Gavronski oversees most of the analytics happening at the client level, both for prospective clients looking for savings and better reporting services and as part of the continuous improvement process for customers.
"We take all their data and analyze it from A to Z, run RFPs with different carriers and carry out onboarding calls with the client to talk about what their needs are and how we can offer creative solutions to help them. That help takes many forms. It might be implementing direct drops and zone skipping. It could be optimizing their LTL and TL or multi-stops. The department I look after runs the full spectrum of supply chain analysis.”
In addition to the onboarding and new client analysis work, Gavronski's department is also in charge of carrier negotiations, including annualized pricing for all clients and carriers and renegotiating client rates that are expiring.
Ad hoc analysis and carrier outreach come into play when carriers purchase other carriers or new carriers come into play, both local and national. And improving those relationships and the data exchanged between those carriers and clients, whether via EDI, API or customer reporting tools, is at the core of the team's responsibilities.
"Client needs can run the full gamut of supply chain hopes or headaches. Whatever their challenge or goal, we analyze the data and come up with solutions. Usually, savings will be one outcome, but it's only a small portion of our total solution and only one aspect of what makes our clients happy. The other big ones are visibility, carrier service level, and improving freight audit and pay." – Tim Gavronski
No snooze button
Gavronski enjoys meeting clients and carriers and building those relationships, but what motivates him most is realizing the potential.
“We have great clients in our pipeline and already in our books. Growing our clients’ profitability, driving their success and ours is what gets me out of bed in the morning."
Gavronski’s focus is on revamping the pricing and analytical department. Recent changes and new hires have strengthened the process for client onboarding, analysis and data management. “Our recent hires are probably the most capable analytical people I've ever met. They’re very independent, self-driven and self-motivated, so we’re changing the department approach from task management to a broader and more strategic project management perspective. The team has the confidence and the tools to be both extremely efficient and unerringly accurate. I'm thrilled to continue enhancing what we do to deliver the best possible value for our clients.”
Gavronski points out that IL2000’s expertise is considerably wider than the logistics engineering team alone.
“One of the things that makes IL2000 so strong is we have lots of seasoned people who are capable of diving into a wide range of areas and are always willing to lend a hand. They’re a great set of people who work to continuously improve our processes; all professionals who do their jobs incredibly well.”
Understanding the market today and anticipating tomorrow
Gavronski explains that the common issue among clients today is trying to rein in the post-pandemic inventory and pricing levels.
"During the pandemic, we saw a massive influx of inventory, and freight was moving like crazy, resulting in rapidly increasing rates and stocks. What we're seeing now is a draw-down and adjustment back to normal. Our clients are looking to lower their rates and reduce their spending, and we're going back to carriers to renegotiate. We're successful at it, and our clients are starting to shift back towards more normal market conditions.
Carriers facing turbulent times
IL2000’s carrier partners are also going through some turbulent times. “Maybe they bought too much equipment during the pandemic, and now they're trying to scale back. Or they are going through an entire shift in the way they operate. And still, others are having issues with unions and are struggling to get negotiations under wraps in a way that works for them and their stakeholders.
“It’s nothing we can control, but we have visibility into it and can work with our clients to mitigate those risks. But at the end of the day, we rely on the carriers for certain lanes or specific scenarios, and they have their own struggles. Sometimes we must make difficult decisions and ensure our clients don't feel that impact. We get ahead of it and shake out changes before they become issues.”
Logistics providers rely on relationships
Gavronski reiterates the critical importance of carrier relationships. “We rely on them to pick up, handle and deliver the freight at the end of the day. The more solid our relationship, the more traction we have with those carriers. When things are going well, we can pat each other on the back and strengthen the relationship. When things go poorly, it’s about getting ahead of it and having that direct line of communication so we can fix not just that one shipment but the root of the problem. Whether it’s a bad API or EDI connection that isn’t working, or maybe a lane shifted on their part and we need to make a change, we can have those honest conversations with them about changing their operation to help our clients.”
Continuous improvement retains clients
When asked what his biggest win was this past year, Gavronski quickly answered - retaining clients.
“We’re able to get them savings by timing the market correctly and pushing our carriers so they can be more competitive in their marketplace. Our clients get to grow their business and, at the end of the day, push out more freight to the carrier. It’s a win-win for everybody when you get those solutions figured out and everyone’s expectations are satisfactorily met. IL2000 gets to continue servicing those clients and maturing those carrier relationships.”
“By continually staying ahead of our client's needs, addressing necessary changes and showing them savings, we can do what no one else can. We get creative and go into the weeds. Ultimately, though, it comes down to this. We offer our clients excellent service and clear, timely and knowledge-infused communication.” – Tim Gavronski
Looking ahead is par for the course
As part of finding new solutions, IL2000 is working on some tech developments.
“I'm excited about the new TMS upgrades being rolled out. The new TMS is very intuitive and robust. It has some great tools for volume quoting, which we're excited about. Crucially, it uses direct connections via API to SMC3 to push those out, which will bring a slew of great benefits for our clients. We just released a video about it.”
In conclusion, Gavronski brings IL2000’s unique position on the market and continued success back to the people that drive its solutions.