Case Study: BNSF Logistics and SugarCRM

Springdale, AR-based BNSF Logistics, LLC, provides dynamic, value-added transportation services to customers around the globe. Its vision is to establish BNSF Logistics as the leader in providing creative logistics solutions that consistently exceed its customers’ expectations.

BNSF Logistics’ management believes that customer ownership is established at the account level and extends into the organization. When Shannon Boyd arrived as the new director of marketing at BNSF Logistics, he immediately noticed the low user adoption rate of the company’s current customer relationship management (CRM) solution, As a result, Boyd knew he needed to better coordinate the organization’s customer relationship-building efforts to provide for customer ownership at the account level.

He knew customer ownership required the organization to maximize its time spent cultivating and maintaining customers. In addition, it needed to create a viable customer database for outbound marketing of its new service offerings and other value-add capabilities. As a result, Boyd quickly decided to make a fresh start around its CRM solution. He proceeded to develop a set of rigorous criteria to determine the optimal CRM solution that could support BNSF Logistics’ requirements.


Being a hands-on IT environment, BNSF Logistics based its criteria on key requirements of wanting an economical, flexible, Web-based, open-source solution that could respond to frequent and rapid change without a hitch. It evaluated many CRM solutions including, Microsoft, Goldmine, ACT, vTiger, Zoho, and others. “After our initial evaluation, Sugar Professional was one of our top four choices,” says Boyd. “We ultimately went with Sugar Professional for its combination of ease of use, flexibility, and price, as well as its access to an active open-source community.”


BNSF Logistics signed its customer agreement with SugarCRM and was operational on Sugar Professional in a matter of days. Its initial implementation focused on its sales and operations team. Primary use of Sugar Professional included sales automation with lead, account, and opportunity management and reporting. Quickly realizing the effectiveness of its Sugar implementation, BNSF Logistics added additional subscriptions to include its procurement team.

In addition, BNSF Logistics is an early adopter of Sugar 6. Its salespeople are positive about the new features in Sugar 6, and the marketing department has set everyone up with the same interface (dash and dashlets) to make training more efficient. “The look and feel of Sugar 6 is modern and in line with current day applications, which our users love,” Boyd says, “It is more approachable, and this drives our active use even higher.”

He adds, “We especially appreciate the time savings we’ve experienced with the Sugar 6 Short Cut bar. It significantly reduces clicks and gets us where we need to go much quicker.”


BNSF Logistics now uses Sugar Professional as its primary data source for sales information, including reporting forecasts, closed business, and customer contact activity. As a result, the company now can provide high-level reports to its executive team, and has greater accountability between teams, improved workflow management, and a high level of visibility into key accounts.

In addition, Sugar’s flexibility allows for quick and easy modifications—especially in the opportunity module—that includes “checkpoints” to measure productivity; response time; and, in general, the organization’s overall success rate.

 “The nature of our business is real-time transportation,” Boyd says. “Sugar has allowed us to implement 80 percent of our high-level, business-driven modifications within minutes, not hours.’

BNSF Logistics, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, provides sustainable supply chain solutions that range from single shipment execution to complete network design and operations. BNSF Logistics offers safe, secure, and cost-effective transportation intermediary services around the globe. For more information, visit