Customer Case Study
Lightyear Customer Case Study: Roadrunner Freight
Transformation is happening at Roadrunner Freight (“Roadrunner”).
Competing in the trillion dollar+ global logistics industry, Roadrunner realized early on that in order to be an industry leader you have to be ahead of the curve digitally and utilize emerging technology. As the Company’s reliance on real-time data has grown substantially in recent years, maintaining a fully capable and resilient network backbone has become table stakes for Roadrunner’s daily operations.
Tomasz Jamroz, Roadrunner CIO/CTO, joined as a Private Equity executive in October 2020 to lead the digital transformation in an industry that is far behind the digital era. Faced with multiple challenges in his new role, he was delighted to find a solid partner in Lightyear in late 2020 to help with critical network upgrade procurement initiatives to enable cloud migration at the Company.
The Challenge of Transformation
In the competitive logistics industry, customer expectations continue to creep higher as new technologies emerge. Tomasz knew this was the case early on and began to transform Roadrunner into a technology and data first organization.
Roadrunner implemented an enterprise-wide analytics system that utilizes machine learning and predictive analysis for logistical planning. These analytics will afford the Company better operating agility, lower cost of operations, and ultimately better service for their customers. However, these initiatives have resulted in a constantly increasing data load, which has presented a new challenge for Roadrunner.
“We have hundreds of servers in place today and they all need to be integrated together seamlessly. With that, we have had to rethink our entire network infrastructure and how we create, store, and utilize our multiple datalakes. I’m thankful we found Lightyear and can trust them with our entire network upgrade.”
Lightyear Experts Take the Lead
Lightyear’s software allows customers to procure and manage their entire telecom networks online. Built by telecom industry veterans who were jaded by the inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the telecom ecosystem today, Lightyear was eager to jump on board with the Company’s network overhaul.
But with over a decade as a partner for consulting firms and currently working for private equity companies, Tomasz wasn’t prepared to work with just any vendor. Data driven decisions are the name of the game for Tomasz, so it wasn’t until he learned about Lightyear’s proprietary dataset of 15k+ telecom quotes that he was interested in working together.
Lightyear’s data enables us to make informed network procurement decisions, and you’ll never see a quote from us that isn’t pre-vetted by our experts.
Heavy Lift of a Network Upgrade leads to Lightyear
Lightyear has assisted Roadrunner with a diverse set of networking projects ranging from a $1 million DRaaS procurement project to a full-blown network IT cost audit.
Handling Vendor Complications
Roadrunner’s legacy internet network is set up with a single vendor. In 2018, this vendor provided Roadrunner with a complicated contract that was (and is) off-spec for their needs. Additionally, this vendor has continued to provide sub-par customer service since including missed service level agreements (SLA) and billing errors.
Back in 2018, Roadrunner’s IT team didn’t have the capacity or expertise to properly negotiate the deal which resulted in the suboptimal contract.
In Tomasz’s opinion, “IT procurement is not the top priority for IT teams - it is not the IT person’s job to also be an expert IT researcher and negotiator. On top of that, it’s difficult for an IT team to have a point of reference on what is a good price for a new circuit or not.”
This contract was particularly bespoke, and Lightyear was able to analyze it for Roadrunner and call out all of the contractual “gotchas”; the contract was designed to increase Roadrunner’s commitment to and reliance on the provider over time, and Lightyear was able to map out a plan to avoid that and help Roadrunner keep all options open down the line.
Lightyear understands that you don’t want to be contractually burdened by legacy network contracts and debt, especially when you are working to expand and optimize your network. A large organization like Roadrunner has a procurement arm who can sometimes lend a hand in these situations, however given the technicality of the purchase, that is not an option here.
“In some verticals you can lean on your procurement team for buying decisions, but not here. Telecom is so nuanced and so critical to the business - you can’t have someone buying who only cares about price [like your procurement team]. A vendor might offer a 20% discount, but if you don’t know how to conduct due diligence on the network and service quality, you’re going to make a bad decision.”
Thankfully, telecom contract negotiations and network RFPs are two of Lightyear’s specialties. Tomasz estimates that Lightyear’s software has saved his IT team at least 25% of their time that would’ve been otherwise spent on procurement projects.
$1M DRaaS Undertaking
In logistics, network downtime means more than lost revenue, it can mean perished goods, missed routes, and permanently damaged customer relationships. Knowing this, Roadrunner embarked on their largest IT undertaking to date in early 2021 - a $1 million Disaster Recovery as a Service project.
How much failover capacity do you need? Do you need AS/400 DRaaS? How about real time replication? These questions are what led Tomasz to seek Lightyear’s expertise in DRaaS.
Lightyear provided assistance and was a value add for speccing out the project. Some of the service providers that Roadrunner had reached out to quoted seemingly economic deals, however Roadrunner would later discover that if that DRaaS environment ever went into production it would not meet all of their needs.
Lightyear was able to perform an in-depth needs assessment for Roadrunner’s DRaaS project and vet providers on their behalf. In the end, Lightyear saved Roadrunner 30%.
“The project was managed and implemented on time and saved significant time for me and my team. Lightyear ultimately saved us 30% on the deal - $300k we would have left on the table if we hadn’t worked with Lightyear.”
What’s Next for Roadrunner & Lightyear?
Beyond the DRaaS project, Roadrunner and Lightyear have been working together on a continuous network cost auditing project that is in the early innings of making big savings.
While Roadrunner focuses on building their data-first logistics empire, working with Lightyear on IT procurement and network management enables them to refocus on their strategy of transforming the organization into the premium LTL carrier and the leader in the industry.
“Working with Lightyear was an easy decision for Roadrunner. They are data driven, have the industry expertise and telecom vendor smarts that make them a reliable partner in any negotiation.”
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