Vantage is a unit of Orbcomm, Dulles, Va., which recently announced it had retained investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co. to help raise capital. Orbcomm operates a system of 35 LEO (low earth orbit) satellites designed for short messaging use, including trailer tracking. Vantage provides trailer tracking hardware and services that use the Orbcomm satellite system.
“We cut back on our business development and marketing staff,” said Vantage General Manager Dick Mahany. “We kept our core group that's tactically focused on filling contracts and short-term product development ... strictly associated with our dry van product line.”
Vantage made a splash in 1999 announcing agreements with Schneider National and J.B. Hunt, among other fleets. According to Mahany, the agreement with Schneider was a letter of intent, not a firm contract. However, a contract is still anticipated.
Mahany noted that the company's trailer tracking service improved in March when seven additional satellites were brought on line to fill gaps in the earlier constellation of 28 satellites. He also said Vantage was working closely with Schneider National, which was supportive of the Vantage system.
“We actually had expected to be installing the Schneider fleet by now,” said Mahany, “and that's now being delayed to the latter part of this year.”