As Lou Wilkinson, software development manager at Schilli Transportation Services put it, “It’s not often in IT when you get put up something that everyone loves,” but that is exactly the reaction he got from the company’s driver managers after integrating ALK Maps into the company’s proprietary Driver Daily Events management tool.
“This was one of those projects that gave every single one of our driver managers an increase in efficiency,” Wilkinson said. “We're talking on the order of a couple hours a day. It's huge. And this isn't smoke and mirrors – these are real users sending back their experiences. It’s very gratifying.”
With administrative offices in Remington, Ind., and 24 additional locations throughout the country, Schilli is a full-service transportation company that provides third-party logistics, dedicated carriage, warehousing and distribution, specialized hauling and leasing services.
On average, the company runs about 400 trucks at any given time and handles about any kind of haul, Wilkinson said: flatbed, van, specialty trailers for hauling large engines, crane trailers for hauling elevators, etc.
Before integrating ALK Maps into their system, driver managers used Google Maps to research locations. With ALK Maps, they save an average of 15 minutes per lookup or about two hours per day.
Driver managers can see a driver’s current location and assigned routes on an interactive map with each route color coded. Fuel stops along the route are visible on the map along with up-to-date fuel prices from Schilli’s preferred fuel providers, which has helped the company reduce fuel expenses, Wilkinson said. “We’re able to show real costs along the routes and let the driver managers direct fueling.” Plus, there are other payoffs as well. “I'd like to think that one of the benefits is increased driver satisfaction. Freeing up the driver managers from much of their routine work, increasing their efficiency, allows them to spend more time in planning and anticipation” and getting drivers load that best suits their needs.
Wilkinson developed the company’s Driver Daily Events tool and describes it as “our version of giving a driver manager a command console with respect to their drivers. Everything a driver manager needs to know about their ‘board’ or their ‘fleet’ is either shown on the screen or one keystroke away.”
Among the things the DDE alerts driver managers to are drivers that need physicals, trucks that need a PM, paperwork that needs review or had not been turned in, whether the truck is on time or running late, hours of service remaining, upcoming planned loads and notes about the driver.
“I've spent the last two years, off and on, working directly with the driver managers to understand what it is they do, what it is that they need and, item by item, issue by issue, adding on and enhancing this tool,” he said.
He said the tool started out small, then all the rest came from the driver managers letting him know what things they had to go out of the tool to do and what they wanted added on.
“It's truly a fully customized solution for what the driver managers tell me they need to know and need to do to more efficiently and effectively do their jobs.”