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February 25, 2021

From Point A to Point Possible: Engineering the Future of Logistics

BNSF logistics app
BNSF logistics app
  • settingsIndustry: Logistics
  • clockProject Duration: 1 year+
  • peopleTeam Size: 8

About BNSF Logistics

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Texas, BNSF logistics is a technology and people-driven third-party logistics company providing smart, creative supply chain solutions. With close to 1 billion in annual revenues, BNSF is a market leader in the 3PL space and is focused on a digital first future.

BNSF Intermodal Facility, Memphis

BNSF Intermodal Facility, Memphis

Business Challenge

BNSF Logistics was challenged with an ambitious product roadmap and partnered with Transcenda to help accelerate their development capabilities.

Having not partnered with an external engineering agency previously, BNSF was worried about quality, ability to integrate and work with their existing team, and security and confidentiality.

At the same time, they wanted a partner who could help them ramp quickly and immediately start tackling projects within their roadmap while their internal team continued working on the projects already planned. As for the specific projects, BNSF was interested in building out functionality related to the management and customer experience around booking non-standard loads for shipping include Rail, Wind, and Intermodal.

Solution

BNSF partnered with Transcenda to help accelerate their development capabilities.

The engagement started with a Discovery Phase to define the product requirements and to ensure an understanding of the needs of the end users. The situation was fairly unique as the kickoff was scheduled to take place onsite with the BNSF Logistics team, and due to the start of Covid lockdowns was conducted in an entirely virtual environment using tools such as Miro, Figma and Zoom. The initial team from Transcenda consisted of a Project Manager, Product Manager, Solutions Architect, and Senior Engineer. During the three week discovery phase, user interviews were conducted, solution features were defined, and the product roadmap was prioritized based on overall business goals.

Following the initial discovery phase, the Transcenda team moved into the build phase with a focus on engineering and architecting the solution and ramped the team to full project capacity. The solutions built are responsive web apps and for logistics management. The development approach was focused on agile practices with 2 weeks sprints and regular demos of delivered functionality. A close integration was built between Transcenda and the BNSF engineering team to align on all the architectural decisions and to ensure successful outcomes.

Business Result

One of the largest project challenges was to ensure the delivery of new features in a timely manner while contributing to the overall platform stability and performance improvements. Considering the legacy code and integrations, planning the work while also working with quite a bit of unknown every sprint took considerable expertise and effort by both teams. One of the first initiatives introduced by Transcenda, was building the end2end QA automation framework that would empower a high level of quality, without slowing down the team velocity and ensuring new features would not break any of the existing parts of the system.

Another challenge faced was balancing competing business priorities and ensuring alignment toward the common business goals when considering functionality and technical trade offs. Transcenda overcame this through daily communication with product and logistics managers, regular bi-weekly sessions with the executive team and close alignment with engineering. The time investment, and development approach was worth the effort, and the final solutions were successfully delivered creating measurable business outcomes and value for BNSF Logistics.

  • cost savingsСost savings of over 500k+ annually
  • Increase50% increase of load count per head
  • Improved customer experienceImproved customer experience
  • Market shareAbility to capture more market share

About Transcenda

Transcenda is a global design and engineering services provider focused on helping organizations scale quickly, digitally transform, and deliver new products to market.
We put people first and strive to be a changemaker by building a better future through technology.

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