Expedited carrier FedEx Custom Critical has been on a steep growth curve and expects another 10% to 15% increase in freight volume this year.

Jack Pickard, the company's vp, service and chief information officer says being under the FedEx corporate umbrella has been a great asset for the Akron, OH-based company formerly known as Roberts Express. FedEx recently renamed a number of its divisions to leverage its strong brand identity.
"It could not be a better image for us," Pickard says of the FedEx brand. "It will help us grow the business."
Custom Critical has a large fleet of independent contractors operating trucks ranging from Class 2 vans to Class 8 tractor trailers. The company's key asset is speed. "Our goal is to provide a freight quote within 90 seconds, dispatch within 15 minutes, and pick up the load within 90 minutes," says Pickard.
The company uses a sophisticated communications and IT system to ensure it can deliver on this promise. Although much of the load and routing "intelligence" is now housed in the company's IT system, Pickard says it hopes to move more of the intelligence to the trucks. "Around 10% of our current failures-where a load was not delivered on time -- are because the driver was lost or misdirected. We'd like the contractors to have good onboard navigational and mapping systems to help them pick the most efficient routes."
Pickard said the company was also working on a number of Internet-related projects which will help contractors and customers communicate more effectively. "We're hoping to set up an extranet which will allow contractors will have quick access to their load activities and financials. Around 45% of our contractors are already computer-literate and have PCs in their trucks."
For customers, Custom Critical will ultimately provide an Internet-based system that will allow them to place orders, track freight, and process payments. "It will get to the point where freight will be ordered, delivered, and paid for without any human intervention," he said.