JBF Express:  US to Canada Cross Border Parcel Distribution Solution.

The Geography:

JBF Express (JBF), is a specialty 3PL located in Buffalo NY and their focus has been truckload and LTL cross- border distribution solutions between the US and Canada.   The US and Canada are the world’s largest trading partners with the Buffalo, NY border gateway processing billions of dollars of goods annually.  Buffalo is close to Toronto, Ontario; the largest metro region in Canada and home to Canada’s biggest concentration of corporate HQ’s and manufacturing facilities.  The Toronto metro region, south to Buffalo and the US border, fuels Canada’s economy and makes Buffalo the ideal location to transit goods between the two countries.  Historically, the flow of commerce between the US and Canada has been fairly well balanced with a higher percentage of small parcel goods crossing the border southbound from Canada to the US. The concentration of commerce and manufacturing located within Southern Ontario’s metro Toronto region is what drives Canada’s export economy.

Business Context - Current Condition, The Client, and the Opportunity:

The US-Canada trade balance was also not reflected in JBF’s cross-border business activity as most of their freight originated in Canada and moved southbound to the US.  This in-balance has been most recently driven by the growth of e-commerce with JBF moving consolidated shipments of pre-labeled e-commerce parcels across the border from Canada for distribution in the US via UPS and FedEx.   Currency conditions have also led to the imbalance with the higher valued US dollar making it more attractive to import consumer goods from Canada to the US. 

Jim and Jeff Brewer are the father and son team that own, operate and are responsible for the success of JBF Express.    They both realized that they could drive additional profitability by moving more freight and parcels northbound to Canada via their existing cross-border, line-haul transportation model.  However, it was not exactly clear to Jim and Jeff how they could best grow the northbound opportunity.  Dean Maciuba is the US based Managing Partner for Last Mile Experts (LME).   During the fall of 2016, JBF collaborated with Dean and LME to support the following business development opportunity:

  • Identify a new northbound service solution, utilizing existing JBF Express line-haul assets and exploit the largest northbound demand opportunity.
  • Design and support implementation of the new specialty distribution solution.

Main Challenges:

Based on all 3 partners extensive cross-border experience, brain-storming discussions were held to suggest, review, and analyze various opportunities and the current conditions that might drive the need for a new US to Canada parcel solution.   The following reoccurring themes dominated the discovery process and ultimately became the foundation of the solution.  

  • Current International Ground solutions from the US were simply not marketed well by the US based parcel carriers and the USPS. In many cases, sales professionals did not understand their own service offering.
  • The transportation related cost of an International Ground parcel solution offered by the major US based carriers was surprisingly high, almost 3 times the cost of a typical US domestic ground shipment.
  • The fully landed cost of a northbound shipment including transportation, brokerage and D&T was not being offered by the carriers via a single and complete value proposition. This made it nearly impossible for a shipper to predetermine the fully landed transportation cost of the transaction.
  • Shippers required affordable regulatory guidance from the carrier or a broker to implement a cross border Ground solution and to support the solution moving forward.
  • Brokerage fees were nearly the same for a single package or a 100-package shipment. This dictated the need to focus on a consolidated shipment service which allowed the shipper to spread-out brokerage related expense across numerous shipments and customer transactions. 
  • Canada is being underserved by Canadian based e-commerce retailers. Canada Post was predicting that most of the new e-commerce growth within Canada could originate from US based e-commerce retailers.
  • Canadian based consumers required transportation options across transit days and cost. This meant the solution required a relatively inexpensive postal solution along with a higher cost, private carrier parcel solution with time definite transit day commitments.

The Market:

Once JBF and LME had defined the foundational characteristics of the new service, US based market segments to be targeted were identified.  These market segments included:

  • Existing e-commerce retailers that were already shipping directly to consumers in the Canadian marketplace.
  • Existing e-commerce retailers that did not offer cross-border distribution of their products.
  • Legacy retail businesses that had not yet implemented an e-commerce solution or previously failed with an e-commerce solution.

Main Challenges:

  • Developing a fully landed cost rate for the customer that included local pick-up, cross border transportation and parcel delivery across 95% of Canada.
  • Collaborating with a 3rd party shipment processing system/vendor that could process labels for both postal and private carrier solutions.
  • Offering a regulatory solution for the customer via a 3rd party that could provide all-inclusive regulatory guidance, direction and support.
  • Providing an e-commerce support solution for prospects that were eager to expand their reach northbound to Canada but had a broken or no e-commerce business strategy.

E-commerce Go to Market Strategy Support: (South Pole Digital)

JBF and LME had reviewed data that strongly suggested the largest opportunity for new business might lie with small to medium sized, legacy retailers that had not yet fully embraced an e-commerce solution.  It was also believed that potential opportunities existed with retailers that were engaged in a failing or recently failed e-commerce, northbound, parcel solution.  The solution for JBF Express was to have them engage the resources of LME’s alliance partner, South Pole Digital (SPD) and have SPD available to support an e-commerce go to market strategy as needed for JBF clients and prospects.

Preferred Brokerage Offering (FedEx Trade Networks)

JBF already had a policy in place where they would not act as the importer or exporter of record for any cross-border shipments.  LME agreed with this policy that limited JBF’s regulatory liability.  However, LME also insisted on a recommended policy that would ask all shippers to act as the Importer of Record via the Non-Resident Importer program.  This program enabled the US shipper to be invoiced for Brokerage, Taxes & Duties.  Under this program, the Canadian recipient would never be responsible for any fees at the time of delivery and the US based e-commerce shipper could offer products for sale at a fully landed price, including any Taxes & Duties that may apply.

LME also suggested that FedEx Trade Networks (FTN) be recommended as the preferred broker of choice for all shippers.  FTN has completely embraced the Non-Resident Importer program and could support JBF customers with all other brokerage services that might be required to process a cross-border distribution solution.  These services included:

  • Northbound and Southbound Customs Brokerage Service.
  • Non-resident importer designation (NRI).
  • Provide applicable, SKU level, taxes & duty rates, and tariff codes.
  • Tax exposure consultation services.
  • Duty draw-back support.


While FTN would be the preferred Brokerage service provider, the client would still be permitted to select their own broker of choice.  JBF Express would support brokerage clearance via any broker that offered cross border brokerage services between the US and Canada. 


Carrier Selection Process.

JBF already had their own cross-border line-haul solution in place. However, they did require a domestic Canada Ground service solution.   Canada Post, FedEx Canada, UPS Canada, and Purolator International were considered:

UPS Canada-Did not respond to our request.

FedEx Canada-Originally the preferred carrier of choice, their process for responding with a rate program was drawn out over a long period of time and they could not quote their Canada Ground service in US dollars.

Canada Post (Direct) – Canada Post responded quickly with a favorable rate program but with somewhat limited automation support.

Purolator Canada- Right from the start, it was apparent that Purolator Canada was hungry for the JBF Express business opportunity.  Purolator Canada is owned by Canada Post and offered JBF a combined Purolator/Canada Post program. The combined service offering included the following benefits:

  • Processing shipments for both carriers from a single shipment processing platform.
  • Provided for a single invoice for both services.
  • Both services would be supported by a generous discount program.
  • Purolator could provide JBF Express with an Excel based rate calculator that would allow shippers to easily quote shipment rates.

After evaluating all the carrier programs, it was clear Purolator Canada offered the best overall value proposition and was selected as the preferred Ground carrier for Canada.

Collaboration:  The Role of Last Mile Experts:

Last Mile Experts guided and directed the client throughout the evaluative and design processes.   Most importantly, LME supported a client driven schedule that lasted over 9 months, while always maintaining focus on the stated goals and objectives.  Jeff Brewer, Vice President of Operation at JBF Express, had this to say about LME: “Dean Maciuba from LME really hung in there with us while we moved slowly and deliberately through the various processes.  We needed a solution that covered all aspects of a complicated specialty distribution solution.  LME was there to work through all the details with us and continues to serve us on the project us with implementation and marketing support of the northbound parcel solution”.
















Hermes UK is one of the largest networks of independent contractors in the UK. It provides home delivery services to a wide range of high street B2C clients but has also developed a very successful C2C network to complement their growth of parcelshops across the UK.

Our PRO Partner was responsible for design and development of the HR strategy for the business, the cultural transition from Parcelnet to Hermes and the protection of the self-employed status of the courier network.



Our Partner was a key player in one of the UK’s final mile success stories. At the outset there was limited connection between the corporate agenda and the individuals’ targets and as a result employee/departmental objectives were not clearly aligned with the business aims. The organisation had a number of competing cultural challenges due to the pan-European structure of the corporate governance and the engagement of colleagues was somewhat ad hoc and disjointed. He developed an audit of all HR functionality and agreed with the UK Board which were the key priorities for advancement.

As business performance didn’t link clearly to the people who were expected to deliver results there was a need to create a HR/People environment that linked these business targets. The learning and development programmes needed to be designed to encapsulate the daily functional requirements and targets but also include the people skills to support management development. There was a gap in terms of organisational structure and the leadership readiness/ succession planning programmes to attract and retain the top talent to the business. All of this needed to be integrated with a full suite of performance management processes that ranged from initial objective setting and appraisals to 360-degree feedback and suggested development areas. All this aligned to a uniform approach to the reward and recognition strategy and made benchmarking of performance and standards so much easier.

The key role of our Partner was taking the business on the journey and ensuring that they engaged at all levels throughout, including third party contractors as required. Engagement surveys were underpinned by local improvement teams/working groups to maximise colleague involvement.

The levels of training specifically afforded to the operational functions, and those liaising with contractors, was very comprehensive. This more structured approach made the management of services provided by couriers easier to monitor and assess but allowed the business to drive standards without losing sight of these couriers being ‘businesses in their own right’ and truly self-employed. The ‘management’ of any self-employed network is something that requires a high level of understanding and our Partner was integral to designing the awareness and training standards to protect the interests of all parties.



Our UK PRO Partner, Paul McCormack managed the team responsible for developing and implementing the above plan, including the rebranding of Parcelnet to Hermes UK. This experience is something he has taken with him to support the design and development of Amazon Logistics and his services are now available to Turnaround.



Hermes is now a multiple award winning business with continued year over year growth. The annual profit grew year over year, employee engagement levels improved year over year and the number of accident reduced by 30% year over year, an indirect benefit of the people engagement and involvement strategy.

The HR structure boasts some of the best performance management processes that are linked to some excellent technology/software solutions. The full range of HR standards have been implemented which also include graduate recruitment. The biggest overall benefit is employee confidence and involvement. A people strategy was designed and delivered and everyone was clear on the business direction and what was expected of them on the journey.










After acquisition of a Freight entity in Slovenia  and implementation of road express products, DHL had  three operations facilities in radius of 25km. The main one was at Ljubljana  Airport, acting as Gateway for all incoming and outgoing shipments (cross boarder). This situation caused many operational issues and high processing costs as well as poor service levels. Our PRO Partner was responsible for evaluating the situation and implementing a plan for optimising the operations.



Following careful analysis, in order to address all operational issues and find a suitable solution it was decided to construct one terminal and to integrate all activities into it.  The question remained as to how this terminal should be organised and where  it should be located. It was important to develop internal processes in order that different shipment sizes and weights would run smoothly and consequently that  PUD activities would be optimised.  After the necessary analyisis,  it was decided to construct a terminal with one part dedicated to large shipments (mainly Freight) and the other side for smaller parcels (air express and road express). The latter part of the terminal was connected to a smaller corridor dedicated to direct loading of small parcels. The corridor was called the “4m module” as the width  was only 4m (inside, there was only a conveyor belt allowing direct loading to the PUD van(s) positioned on the module door).



Our Slovenian PRO Partner, Andrej Cergojl managed the team responsible for developing and implementing the above plan.



Thanks to Andrej’s leadership, the project was implemented on time, on budget and achieving key quality KPI’s.

With the new terminal  DHL optimised processing time for all kinds of parcels and pallets. Simultaneously DHL was able to optimise the delivery cycle due to the  option to find a proper balance or mixture of volumes as needed. With this DHL achieved a significant reduction in terminal handling costs per unit and also of PUD cost per unit. This was supplemented by much better processing times  so that, with same number of parcels, DHL decreases processing time by some 30%.  Most importantly, the delivery cycle started earlier and DHL had a larger time window to perform daily PUD activities.










Our PRO Partner in Romania was asked to support exploitation of an opportunity in the market related to the rapid development of same day  scheduled delivery needs, especially for the  B2C & C2C market segments.

Today’s customer wants total control – to get what he wants,  when he wants, where he wants, at the lowest cost possible and with a great customer experience. Traditional CEP players are not geared up towards fast, point to point or low parcel density deliveries and hence there is an unfilled market niche.



The main challenges here are to offer an asset light model which is able to decrease costs by :


  1. aggregating multiple delivery resources and achieving higher density or shorter routes for couriers in a specific area.
  2. eliminating/minimizing the need for dispatch operators and the related expenses.


While simultaneously providing direct interactive connection between sender, courier and recipient of the shipment (interactive delivery management) and a quality customer experience.



Our Romanian PRO Partner, Octavian Badescu supported the Lokko team in developing their strategic plan and in implementation in several cities in Romania in partnership with restaurants and with courier companies or individual independent contractors.



Thanks to Octavian’s input the project was implemented on time, on budget and achieving key quality KPI’s.


In the words of Dan Cearna, the CTO of the Lokko project, "without Octavian’s support, we would not have been able to achieve this success in this challenging and innovative space."










IT4EM: New generation of operations software to meet the requirements of modern B2B/B2C delivery



The rapidly growing B2C market and necessity to meet customer needs for modern delivery and customer service, as well as making DPD more flexible in last mile delivery solutions, simultaneously maintaining the company’s bottom line KPIs – this was the reason behind the decision to launch the project for the creation of the new software for GeoPost DPD Eastern Europe region. DPD Latvia, lead by Julia Bayram was chosen as a pilot country for development and implementation of the new software. Yurtçi Kargo, GeoPost’s partner in Turkey, was choosen as the developer of the software.



The old operational software didn’t provide flexibility, modern e-solutions and the modules necessary to offer proper client support, including automated reports, however, to change the software ment the need to start business description from the scratch. Nevertheless, the changes were vital to keep developing as a competitive last mile service operator and get competitive advantages compared to small (and flexible)  companies, who are  able to provide the client with a bespoke offering. As CEO, Julia needed to manage the project to describe and substitude existing operational software, gathering and structurising the needs across all the departments in the company – operations, sales, customer service, bookkeeping and administration.



As CEO DPD Latvia, Julia, our Turnaround PRO Partner, had to participate in the “corporate” project and simultaneously manage the local pilot project and its team. Fulfilling the role of the pilot country for the software development and integration project, Julia established the project team from existing and new employees, set the targets, roles and motivation systems. She also managed communication with the developer’s team and the corporate management. Julia successfully overcame challenges arising from the project as well as using this to implement change management inside her own organization. key elements included confrontation of needs and requests vs. possibility and overall necessity of developed features, deadlines and keeping existing operations on track during the implementation of major software and operational changes. 



With IT4EM, DPD has a customized and customer oriented software based on real needs of a modern courier service operator and flexible enough to meet the future needs and the needs of the other branches of the GeoPost corporation in the other countries. Currently the software is operating in most of the DPD branches in Eastern Europe and several Western BU’s including France, Switzerland and Benelux. 









While working at GeoPost, our Managing Partner oversaw several acquisitions, start ups and turnarounds. One good example is the acquisition of Pegasus Courier (now DPD Romania). The rationale was that:

• To grow a robust pan-European network offering, the GeoPost needed to enter the Romanian market
• To rapidly gain sufficient scale, an acquisition-driven approach was preferred


• As a relatively underdeveloped market, at the time, transparency of legal, financial, and operational information was relatively low
• Cultural differences between investor and target potentially played a significant role in the deal’s outcome
• Not all Client stakeholders were equally in favour of the strategy

Turnaround’s ROLE

• As regional head, our Managing Partner led the deal team, including both internal staff and external corporate and local legal support and external auditors
• The transaction was managed from the initial market review, through business and commercial due diligence, negotiation on pricing, share purchase and shareholders’ agreements, to successful closure
• Full and open communication to the seller was maintained at all times, to maximise goodwill and deal success probability
• We quickly established and embedded project documentation and effective ways of working
• The team ensured full transparency of the project’s status for all stakeholders, and frequently engaged with senior central GeoPost management so that buy-in was maintained


The transaction was recognised by GeoPost as a highly successful investment:

• Both seller and buyer continue to express satisfaction with the commercial terms agreed and the deal methodology
• The top management team unanimously voted in favour of the transaction






The rapid development of e-commerce has meant that Courier operators need to seek new Last Mile solutions – allowing them to get closer to the consumer both as a recipient and as a sender. Our partner, Krzysztof Porębski was charged with managing the establishment, from scratch, of a company whose strategic task was to ensure the “local” presence of DPD Poland for the consumer. In April 2012, Parcel Zone (Strefa Paczki) was founded to achieve this purpose.



To develop a strategy to enter the “to C” segment via an asset light network of franchises. This entailed building operating models and standard operation procedures (SOP’s) from scratch. In addition the Krzysztof needed to prepare a pricing strategy and create terms and conditions of business. His next task was to develop an IT system that supports the network of franchise points their customers. A key challenge was to simultaneously build a central team and build a network of franchises in suitable locations. Finally, Parcel Zone had to be able to offer commercially acceptable terms to both customers and its partners.



As CEO Parcel Zone, Krzysztof founded the company and built the right team. Together with his design team, he developed a business model and built a network of franchises serving “to c” customers and small business.
He also developed systems for managing parcel flows, documents, and ensuring the necessary financial control. Parcel Zone’s systems had to be compatible with the operating system DPD. Within three years, Krzyszto and his team built a successful and profitable business profitably generating a significant number of packages per month and improving DPD’s customer experience and accessibility.



The creation of the Parcel Zone network allowed DPD Polska to enter the “to c” segment of customers and to enhance their e-commerce customer offering. This project was completed on time and to budget and has been self-financing from the first year. The company currently has more than 500 points and continues to grow.












The constructing industry throughout Europe is facing ever greater challenges in optimising productivity and reducing overhead costs. A large company, active within the construction industry in Sweden, expressed worries about the utilisation of work hours and other resources. They were concerned that they didn’t have enough visibility and control over this key area of cost.



After analysing the situation. Anders Mesch our PRO consultant, addressed a number of areas for improvement and as a result of his research identified several further possibilities impacting on the last mile. The key issue was the company’s standard way of doing business, where employees were responsible for picking up materials/supplies on their way to various locations of work, in the morning. This process was hard to control and led to a significant waste of time or even quality issues if the employee selected the wrong or incomplete set of materials..



Anders, calculated the possible effects of re-negotiating terms, making suppliers responsible for direct deliveries at worksites, as well as disposal of waste. This gave a significantly better usage of materials, vehicles andeffective work hours, as well as giving a far better customer experience.



To make this work most effectively, a system using smart phones was implemented. Employees were now able to receive their work orders/specifications, sign off on delivered materials, sign off on work orders and report time, invoicing information and any exceptions. This project,used CEP “last mile know how”, to help this construction company  a leader in IT supported process management. The results were increased productivity by up to25%, administrative overheads cut by 50% and material costs were cut by some 15% - all following re-engineering of the supply chain.


In the words of Maritta Komulainen, CEO and owner of the company “ Anders surprised us by delivering benefits in so many areas from what started as a “simple” supply chain project. I’d recommend this sort of analysis to anyone with doubts about how their last mile process are working”










Business context:

DPD in Poland was growing above the market and was rapidly approaching a ceiling on hub capacity. At that time our Partner, Krzysztof Porębski was Director of Strategic Projects and Management Board Member at DPD Polska. The decision was made to build a modern sorting facility, which would allow for further development and rapid absorption of increased volumes. At the time, this HUB was the most modern facility of its type in Central Europe.

Main Challenges:

The key questions facing Krzysztof were: What type of hub is needed for this rapidly, and sometimes unpredictably, growing business? What capacity is needed? What supplier of automation to choose? What is the best location? How to adapt the entire transport system to the new infrastructure? A major challenge was also the tight timeline available for project completion.

Turnaround 's role:

Krzysztof built up a project team of professionals from both inside the organisation supported by external experts. He also collaborated with another Turnaround Partner, Armin Bohnhoff to take on board best practice frrom other countries. After careful analyses carried out on the basis of data collected from a number of leading suppliers, Vanderlande Industries of Holland, was selected.

Due to the short timeframe for the project and concerns about achievable quality, no general contractor was used and Krzysztof took on this role. The responsibility of the negotiation, creation and approval of contracts with suppliers was in his hands. A very important issue was co-operation with the supplier of sorting systems. Due effective contractual negotiation and close co-operation with the supplier, an effective system meeting the required parameters was implemented.

As a result of the competence of the project team and supporting experts, the project was completed within an exceptionally short time and below budget. Strict project management and frequent meetings with DPD top management allowed for total transparency of decision-making both technical and financial.

Customer Benefits:

This project allowed DPD Polska to maintain rapid development and absorb dramatically increased volumes following a merger with one of its largest competitors in 2015. Moreover, almost three times as many parcels were able to pass through the hub without significant change in cut off times. The project was delivered on budget, on time and on specification. Finally, economies of scale helped achieve a reduction in transport costs.



 Postens logo



  • to restructure the Polish subsidiary (Masterlink Express) following a significant decline in performance
  • the company had become technically insolvent and the initial brief was to restructure or liquidate the business to stem unacceptable losses
  • the central management team was focused Nordic operations and did not have adequate resources with local knowledge for this project



The company was experiencing an alarming deterioration in all KPI’s and burning cash due, inter alia, to:

  • lack of strategic direction and leadership
  • poor incumbent senior management team (SMT)
  • lack of processes (standard operating procedures)
  • poor management information & control systems (both operational and financial)


Turnaround’s ROLE

Our Managing Partner led the project with a view to initially diagnosing the situation and then, if possible, turning the business around.

As interim CEO, Marek carried out a successful restructuring process despite initial doubts about the feasibility due to the high and accelerating level of losses. he company moved from losses of over 50% of turnover to profitability in ca 24 months.

The restructuring plan was implemented as follows:

  • audit and recommendation for the client
  • stage one disaster recovery plan involving “quick wins” for cost cutting or revenue generation
  • hiring of almost all new members of the senior management team
  • developing and rapidly implementing a tactical plan for a “stage one” restructuring
  • ensuring everyone from grass roots level to the SMT was fully aware of our plans and goals
  • implementing and monitoring KPI’s and milestones in our plans and putting corrective action in place, where necessary
  • managing shareholder concerns, especially at the start of the process



  • The client was able to profitably exit the business and today, the business is domestic market leader in Poland with profitable turnover of some $300mlln.
  • The turnaround was recognised by the Client as a highly successful initiative in a very difficult situation
  • Both seller and buyer continue to express confidence in Turnaround and several further assignments, including several turnarounds,  have been completed for the new owner, DPD, in Poland and elsewhere.


“Marek was able to successfully restructure a business that was insolvent and suffering from a wide number of serious problems. In fact, this was one of the best examples of a CEP turnaround that I have personally seen. Throughout the process he kept us informed and demonstrated resilience and total integrity throughout. Following the restructuring we were able to divest the company and focus on other projects”. Project Manager – Sweden Post