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Echo Global Logistics Replaces Guesswork with ActivTrak Insights

Echo Logistics needed a better way to measure and improve productivity associated with its operations. When they turned to ActivTrak, everything changed.

ActivTrak

By ActivTrak

Echo Global Logistics Replaces Guesswork with ActivTrak Insights

Customer Overview

Region: North America
Industry: Third-party logistics (3PL)
Results: Optimized workflows, increased productivity and more accurate invoicing

Background

Echo Global Logistics connects businesses that need to ship products with the carriers that transport them. This innovative company has won numerous awards in the third-party logistics (3PL) space and invested significant time and money on in-house technology.

For years, Echo’s business leaders sought a tangible way to measure and improve productivity associated with its brokerage operations. But it was challenging to show evidence of improvement with the existing measures they had. When they turned to ActivTrak, everything changed.

Challenge

It started with a question that proved difficult to answer: Now that we’ve rolled out new technology to improve productivity, is it actually working?

Leadership had devoted hundreds of thousands of dollars to building out in-house technology. Yet there was no way to accurately measure if those investments produced the desired results.

A key challenge was the tremendous amount of task-switching involved in how people do their jobs.

Echo also leverages many multi-screen, multi-application environments which make it difficult to understand how long tasks take to complete. With lots of people now working from home, this was even more challenging.

The team had to rely on either manual or qualitative measures that were insufficient.

“Typically, we measured these things through a combination of surveys and observed time studies,” says Echo’s Vice President of Strategic Analytics. “Anybody who's done any of that kind of work understands that can give you some directionally decent information about universal averages, but it does a very poor job of picking up on variation.

We'd invested half a million dollars in developing some new element of our in-house technology and couldn't get our hands around a tight measurement of how it improved productivity. I watched that happen multiple times.”

Solution

For Echo's Vice President of Strategic Analytics, there was really only one way to solve their challenge.

“I have this belief that analytics can improve any business,” he explains. “If we had the right measurement, we could assess performance and make more data-driven decisions.”

His search for a tool to improve productivity insights ended when he found ActivTrak.

In collaboration with the ActivTrak, the Echo team developed measures of time per task by person and by team, across a multitude of tasks. As a result, they can now see variations between people and teams, as well as variations within an individual. This helps Echo understand which clients demand more time because of how their processes work.

Additionally, ActivTrak allowed Echo to build trust with employees by giving them access to their own activity data for 30 days before sharing it with management. This was a huge step toward establishing credibility with the team and showing how ActivTrak insights can help them measure and improve performance.

If sometimes it only takes two minutes to perform a task, and other times it takes 10, that can prompt a conversation about what those circumstances are. Is it a training issue? A best practice issue? Or just the nature of the freight that makes it more difficult to build those loads?

VP of Strategic Analytics

Results

With ActivTrak, the analytics team at Echo more easily answers the questions leadership set out to answer — plus many more. Today, Echo relies on ActivTrak to:

Improve productivity

The team now regularly evaluates the very metric that once seemed impossible to measure. With ActivTrak reports, managers see when a task that typically takes two minutes suddenly requires 10 minutes, and initiate a conversation about roadblocks the team might be facing before productivity starts to decline.

Identify new opportunities

Tracking the apps people use is valuable as well. For instance, if the analytics team sees that numerous employees regularly visit weather websites, that presents an opportunity to consider how integrating weather data with their platform could be beneficial. These insights ensure Echo’s technology roadmap accurately reflects the needs of the business and its employees.

Optimize client services

Some client operations are straightforward and simple. Others require more time and attention. Which bucket a client falls into isn’t always clear. With ActivTrak, Echo sees how much time employees spend on each client’s tasks which allows them to more accurately price and bill for services.

Pinpoint skills gaps

It is culturally important not to assume one employee is doing a poor job because they take longer than another to complete a task. With ActivTrak, Echo not only sees when different teams yield different results but also uncovers why. Is this a best-practice issue? A training issue? Or just the nature of the freight that makes it more difficult for employees to build those loads?

Analyze automation

ActivTrak empowers Echo to see exactly how much efficiency is gained when a team replaces a manual task with automation. That allows leadership to determine how to move forward with manual labor and when to transition to automated processes.

Benefits

ActivTrak has provided numerous benefits including:

Better visibility

  • ActivTrak helps employees see how work habits impact productivity — and when it’s time to make changes
  • Managers see when someone might need additional training or one-on-one coaching before they fall behind on important tasks

Greater accuracy

  • ActivTrak replaced anecdotal feedback, observed time studies and surveys with real-time, actionable data
  • Managers see when different variables, such as working from home or constant interruptions, impact productivity

One of the biggest differentiators I observe in vendors is how well they adapt to the sophistication level of their client. And that’s been true of my experience with ActivTrak right out of the gate.

VP of Strategic Analytics

About ActivTrak

ActivTrak is a workforce analytics platform used by a wide variety of organizations including financial services companies, healthcare organizations and government agencies to gain visibility into employee work activity. Request a demo today.

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