About two years ago, Flying Star Transport was looking to integrate its dispatch, in-truck technology and accounting system, while meeting the new electronic logging device mandate and addressing demand for more real-time data.
It was working with PDI, which provides enterprise software for convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets. But PDI didn’t offer an ELD solution. After researching options, Flying Star dropped its longtime traditional in-cab computer system in favor of a bring-your-own-device strategy, using iPad Air2s in all its trucks, running KeepTruckin software and integrating with the PDI back-office systems via API. (API, or application programming interface, is a protocol that allows communication between different software and applications.)
“We have a solution that doesn't force us to have proprietary hardware. It also allowed us to keep track of our trucks more in real time; we can see them as they're moving, the speed they’re going, how long they’ve been sitting,” says Jayson Boydstun, chief financial officer.
With dispatch, accounting, and the in-truck software all talking to each other, the company has been able to go from four days to two days on billing.
“Our next step is to take that ELD and geo information that KeepTruckin is providing and be able to provide some reporting and analytics that we see as critical to our business and future to make sure we’re running profitable lanes and making the best decisions when we make a freight rate decision,” Boydstun says. “Being able to integrate that real-time information and utilize their open API to our system and really slice and dice it.
The system also has helped Flying Star with driver payroll. After moving from a commission-type pay program to hourly pay, the company found it’s able to use KeepTruckin to collect driver log information and import that via API into its payroll system, explains Dwayne Thompson, IT systems administrator. “We can also use the same system to collect miles driven to support the incentive enhancements we offer in conjunction with hourly pay.”
It’s also changing the way Flying Star interacts with customers. The next phase, Boystun says, “is to give customers some real-time visibility into where their loads are and when that load’s going to be there. They’re not depending on a phone call – they’re able to log into a system and monitor their shipments. Also being able to speed up our billing time has been a tremendous plus. A lot of them are convenience stores that need to know the price of fuel delivered as they are pricing their fuel.”
He also notes that a new geofencing feature from KeepTruckin is allowing the company to set it up with customers so an email is automatically sent to both Flying Star and the customer when the truck breaches that customer’s geofence.
“The more real time information that we can garner, not just from the logistics perspective but also from the customer perspective and the driver perspective, it seems to be a great benefit,” Thompson says.
“What KeepTruckin's been able to help us do from a management position is help drive efficiencies,” Boydstun adds. “Are we having to wait too long at certain sites? How do we help coach our driver to know this load should take three hours so why is it taking four? We probably gained 10 to 15% efficiency just by monitoring our freight lanes.”