Getting Started with Breakthrough | Q&A with Ali Barrett


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Hear from one of our experienced Client Account Managers about what happens after you say “yes” to Fuel Recovery. We sat down with Ali Barrett to learn what clients should expect during the implementation process, and answer commonly asked questions.

Thinking about getting started with Breakthrough?

Q. You’ve said yes to Breakthrough…. Now what?

A. After a client decides to move forward with a Fuel Recovery program, we dive into making an implementation and go-live plan for your Fuel Recovery program. We start by reviewing your old parameters –for example, fuel efficiency and base rate– and then decide what is in scope moving forward. Breakthrough has an extensive list of design levers that we can pull based on your company’s specific goals. Common levers that first-year clients prioritize are fuel consumption improvement initiatives, and mode optimization and conversion.

Lucky for you – everything we do is fully configurable.

Q. What support does Breakthrough provide during implementation?

A. Breakthrough is committed to making this transition completely seamless. To do that, we give you a dedicated team of Fuel Recovery experts. You’ll have direct access to our Director of Client Value Creation. This role is dedicated to ensuring that the exchange of data between your system and Breakthrough has minimal impact on your daily processes. They will collaborate with your IT team and TMS provider to facilitate system integration—regardless of your file cadence. From testing to go-live, and continued support, our Director of Client Value Creation is your technology liaison.

You are also assigned a Client Account Manager who becomes your day-to-day contact throughout the implementation and executes your fuel strategy after go-live.  This CAM facilitates communication throughout our Breakthrough teams to make sure your implementation plan is moving forward accordingly. Throughout the implementation process, they will become familiar with the nuances of your system and the scope of business.

Q. What is our responsibility, as the client, to ensure successful implementation?

A. On the client-side, we only need a few people to connect our systems. First, a Project Sponsor. This has a minimum time requirement but is crucial in advancing your strategy. The Project Sponsor makes strategic business decisions during the initial program design meeting and keeps a general awareness of key milestones throughout the process.

We will also need a Project Lead. This only takes up 30-45 minutes of their time per week to handle day-to-day decisions and operational questions we come across during implementation.

IT Lead – This person is often a contact from your TMS provider. They will be responsible for helping Breakthrough with system connectivity and making sure that all testing is complete and functioning prior to go-live.

The last, but an integral member of your team is someone from your finance department. One short meeting lets us work out the best means of monetary flow, and determines your requirements for reporting your savings metrics and service requirements from Breakthrough.

Q. Once processes are underway, how are changes rolled out to our carrier base?

A. This is YOUR new fuel strategy and we see a lot of success when you roll it out at a high level, and then let Breakthrough take over. We take on the task of training your carriers on the program and continue to field any and all questions from carriers throughout the transition.

Breakthrough’s methodology is the common practice for leading shippers in the marketplace.  Nearly all of Transport Topics top for-hire carriers use Fuel Recovery for diesel fuel reimbursements with numerous shippers. Most carriers understand the value that Breakthrough brings, and we work hard to make sure that we are bringing accuracy and fairness to both sides of the shipper-carrier relationship.

Q. Do we see carriers respond to lower fuel reimbursements with increases in linehaul rates?

A. This is often a concern for new and prospective clients because they want to make sure that the savings is real. The good news is that every client we’ve implemented would say they met their full financial objectives when moving to Fuel Recovery.  What that means is any expected savings resulting from the spread between your old DOE program and wholesale spread—where Fuel Recovery calculates fuel reimbursements—returns right to your company.

Carriers tend to understand the value of fair and accurate pricing models, especially those already familiar with Breakthrough. The beauty of using Fuel Recovery is that you can shift the conversations with your carriers away from fuel costs, because it is now truly a pass-through expense, and focus on service requirements and capacity. This creates a more transparent relationship and brings value to both parties.

Q. After implementation, when do we start to see savings?

A. The speed to value with Fuel Recovery is unparalleled. Once your program goes live, savings start on the first movement, on the first day. There is no lag time between getting started and working up to peak performance—it’s immediate.

Depending on the size, scope, and volume of your transportation network clients recoup their implementation costs in the first five weeks of using Fuel Recovery—sometimes it’s as fast as a few days. We can move as fast as our clients can operate and implemented programs in as little as five weeks. That includes connectivity with your TMS system and your payment provider, testing, and carrier communication.

Q. What do we have to look forward to as a Breakthrough Client after go-live?

A. After go-live, you stay in close contact with your Client Account Manager through weekly reporting tools and with any on-the-spot questions you have. You are also given a Strategic Account Manager who focuses on your long-term, big-picture goals. They will develop your future road map outlining initiatives for continued innovation and improvements moving forward. You’ll see your Strategic Account Manager at regular on-site meetings, supporting your Breakthrough team members, and working behind the scenes to find the opportunity for improvement and new savings. These two team members work closely to make sure they are finding the best opportunities for continuous improvement in your program.

What’s unique about the way the Breakthrough team operates, is that beyond your designated team, you have an entire engine of transportation energy market experts working on your behalf. We have data scientists analyzing your loads and information, finding you new opportunities for savings. Our Applied Knowledge team keeps tabs on the global crude oil and diesel price environments, ensuring that our price forecasting is as accurate as possible. Everyone lifts and shares at Breakthrough. Our CEO and entire leadership team are actively involved in our internal processes because we truly believe that every client deserves a full suite of thought leaders to realize the most effective fuel management strategy.

Contact us for additional information about Breakthrough Fuel Recovery services!

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