Travel and Transportation

Global Freight transportation company transforms business operations and customer experiences with Elastic and Google Cloud

Increased the speed and relevance of search results across its business applications.

Enhanced logging

The company logs around 600 GB of data daily, which is visualized and analyzed using Elastic dashboards for faster issue detection and resolution.

Optimized customer and employee experiences

Delivers superior digital experiences to its shippers, carriers, and employees through more powerful in-app search and systems observability.

Global freight transportation company deploys Elastic Search and Elastic Observability to optimize in-app search and infrastructure monitoring

This U.S.-based, global freight transportation business provides truck brokerage services in 18 countries. The organization is a Forbes Global 2000 company and a leading supply chain partner that works with manufacturers, consumer packaged goods companies, and Fortune 500 companies across every major industry.

The company uses a proprietary online platform to connect shippers with carriers to transport goods. Its 42,000 employees serve approximately 10,000 shipping customers and 40,000 freight carriers. To successfully execute its business, it must ensure that employees, shipping customers, and carriers can always easily search and find data related to their freight transportation processes. The company’s search capabilities in the past were limited to database queries. It needed a more robust search solution, and several years ago started using Elastic for search.

A search strategy for success

Recently, as part of its competitive strategy to continually invest in leading-edge technologies, the company implemented a digital transformation plan to enhance the experiences of employees and customers using its internal and external business applications. The plan included upgrading its Elastic deployment to Elastic Search across several business units and their associated applications. The company also wanted to optimize the search capabilities of its proprietary online platform, available via a website and mobile app, that shipper and carrier customers use to conduct freight business.

The move to Elastic Search helps the Director of Enterprise Architecture at the company provide customers with visibility into the entire shipping process by delivering the information they need via large-scale, fast, and relevant data search results.

"Elastic Enterprise Search helps power the overall functionality of our business. We rely on the robust in-app search capabilities it provides for customers and employees to find the data they need and apply it for successful business transactions."

– Director of Enterprise Architecture, Global Freight Transportation Company

Optimized user experiences with enhanced search and logging

The company now uses Elastic in two ways: Elastic Search for in-app search as well as Elastic Observability for applications logging.

Several of the company’s business units—including brokerage, last mile, and global freight forwarding—have their own transportation management systems, and each has its own Elastic Search cluster for its specific search needs. Employees and customers can use Elastic Search for business queries, such as searching by order or invoice number. Elastic provides data filtering by customer account, shipment ID, and even geospatially—where, for instance, loads that shipped within 30 miles of a specific zip code can be seen. While the number of search requests remains high at 251 per second, the company has been able to keep the average search time to a mere 19 milliseconds with Elastic.

The company also uses Elastic Observability for collecting and processing application logs. App logging is a critical technical support component, and the Director of Enterprise Architecture estimates at least 600 GB of data is logged daily. That data, generated by thousands of sources and often arriving simultaneously, streams into Apache Kafka, which sends it to Elastic. With built-in customizable Elastic dashboards, the company can visualize and analyze the data for debugging and troubleshooting issues.

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Reliability and scalability in the cloud

The company currently uses Elastic on-prem but is in the process of migrating its infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform and Elastic Cloud. Moving to the cloud will provide more reliability for its systems for even better customer and employee experiences.

The Director of Enterprise Architecture says they are seeing tremendous growth on its proprietary online platform, and customers expect extremely high service levels in terms of availability, business continuity, and support. He says the company can achieve those in the cloud.

"Moving to the cloud will enable continued growth and scalability while providing better management, disaster recovery, and security capabilities."

– Director of Enterprise Architecture, Global Freight Transportation Company

The Director of Enterprise Architecture also says that while its proprietary online platform is a SaaS solution, the company doesn’t want to be in the business of handling infrastructure. The company’s aim is to focus on serving customers and building the business while leaving the under-the-hood management to cloud providers.

Its evolving, modern Elastic deployment is helping the company to remain a leader in transportation technology. Elastic Enterprise Search delivers search speed, scale, and relevance for employees using internal apps, and customers using its proprietary online platform.

"It’s all about performance. When users run a search, we want results as fast as possible, and that's where Elastic brings value—in the snappy experience we provide when users search internal apps or our online platform."

– Director of Enterprise Architecture, Global Freight Transportation Company

Using Elastic Observability for logging has also resulted in the company needing less time to detect and resolve issues, which further supports improved user experiences.

Overall, the combination of Elastic Search and Elastic Observability enables the company to deliver optimized digital experiences for shippers, carriers, and employees that improve business operations.