Company: Con-Way Transportation Services, Ann Arbor, Mich. Operation: Network of three regional LTL carriers. Bryan Millican, exec. vp-sales & marketing

Problem: Con-Way Transportation Services, which operates 28,000 vehicles in a network of three regional less-than-truckload carriers, says it was the first LTL carrier to establish a Web site. Started in 1995, the site was primarily informational, providing current and potential customers with background information on the Con-Way LTL fleets (Con-Way Central Express, Con-Way Southern Express, and Con-Way Western Express) and their parent, CNF Transportation Inc. In a relatively short period, the site began offering shipment tracking and other limited e-commerce functions.

"Transportation and logistics professionals are relying on the World Wide Web more each day," says Bryan Millican.

Following an evolutionary plan, the fleet soon began adding other transactional functions to its site, but customers continued to suggest new features and applications.

Solution: Last July, Con-Way acted on those customer suggestions and launched a completely redesigned Web site that is not only easier to navigate but also moves it squarely into business-to-business e-commerce. "The site has evolved into an e-commerce transactional service point," says Millican.

Services available online now include single and multiple shipment tracking, transit time calculation, shipment rating, and secure access to bills of lading and proof-of-delivery documents that can be printed locally by registered customers. Customers can also use the redesigned site to view manifests for inbound and outbound shipments, new shipments, exception shipments, and third-party shipments.

At the same time, Con-Way also developed and distributed a video and a print brochure to walk both its field staff and customers through the new site and help them use it to their best advantage.

And the site, which is maintained by a full-time six-member Web team, continues to evolve. In October, Con-Way added pickup requests to its Web services and instituted online filing and tracking for damage or cargo loss claims.

"These improvements are part of a very defined business-to-business electronic commerce strategy," says Millican. "In the near future we anticipate announcing an electronic bill of lading and additional Web-based automation that will be integrated into our computer-aided dispatch system, producing even greater efficiencies for our customers."