“In our business, it’s never the ‘what’, it’s the ‘why,’” explained Joe Evangelist, executive vice president for Transervice. It’s a simple statement, but it sums up one reason for Transervice’s success. “What is what happened; why is understanding the reasons for what happened and developing plans to improve the situation. But, you can only come up with a solution if you have good data. It allows you to determine trends and ways to improve operations for customers–that’s the gold.”
With a footprint throughout the United States and Canada, Transervice owns, operates and manages more than 24,000 pieces of equipment though 126 locations. Started in 1969 in New York providing maintenance services to a single beverage customer, the company branched into full-service leasing in 1972, then began offering dedicated contract carriage in 1985. Today, the dedicated portion of Transervice’s portfolio represents half its business.
According to Evangelist, the company continues to grow its customer base, and many of its customers have been working with Transervice for 30-plus years. “We have an open-book partnership with our customers and are transparent with cost management,” he said. “Our customers know exactly what they’re getting and know the cost structure. There is nothing hidden. When we put programs together, we start with a clean sheet of paper providing a solution that fits our customer’s needs. It’s very flexible and custom. They don’t conform to us, we conform to them.”
When it comes to Transervice’s dedicated contract carriage business, Evangelist said one of the company’s “secret sauces”—data—comes into play. “It’s why we preach, ‘it’s never the what, it’s the why,’” he said. “And the information we’re getting from Bolt System plays a big role in that.”
Transervice has been using Bolt to help manage its dedicated fleet for several years. According to Tom Poduch, Transervice’s director of logistics design, the flexibility and a customer-driven approach is what separates Bolt from other fleet management providers.
“Bolt has the same philosophy as we do,” Poduch said. “They ask what we and our customers need, and then deliver. In some of our dedicated contracts, we inherit the technology that our clients have already invested in. For example, a client may want for Transervice to utilize their existing ELDs, or integrate to their established WMS. Bolt is agnostic, so they can work with different platforms—they don’t push toward one system or another. It’s customer-driven and easy for Bolt and us to integrate.”
Through Bolt, Transervice has tools to manage and analyze the fleet. “With Bolt, we are able to collect communal data: route information, workflow activity and loads,” said Poduch. “Customers can tender us loads automatically through EDI. Our dispatchers then know our customer’s expectations and can assign the resources through Bolt. And, it’s all easily viewed on just one screen. What’s also exciting is that we’re in the process of aggregating information from our brokerage division into Bolt. With this, we will be able to expand our network visibility and assign backhauls through Bolt while better utilizing our fleet. This is another way we’re working hard for our dedicated customers – we manage their fleet to reduce empty miles.”
Once information is captured, Bolt is then able to streamline billing and payroll—taking administrative burdens away from other departments.
What’s more, Bolt can document vehicle and driver performance indicators. “For example, it allows us to identify higher mileage vehicles and route accordingly to balance out miles,” said Poduch. “And we can input driver information and time-off preferences to effectively manage wheel time.”
Load management and delivery times are also tracked vigilantly. “When one of our trucks starts a route, a message is automatically sent to each individual delivery point on that route, and an estimated time of delivery is given,” said Poduch. “A second message is sent to the next subsequent stop once the previous shipment is delivered, and an updated ETA is given. Then, if there is an adjustment from that time—either an early delivery possibility, or delay—a third message is sent out. The bottom line is that delivery information is vital. If there is an early delivery possibility, we want to give the receiving party the opportunity to set up to receive the load.”
While that’s the micro view, Poduch said his dispatchers also see the macro (and trend) view. “On our screen, we see all our trucks for our dedicated customer, and can view with visual color indicators—green through red—how our freight is moving. We can see how weather patterns are playing out, traffic issues—and more recently, storms and wildfires—impact traffic and our shipments. We can adjust in real time.”
Typically, Evangelist said that Transervice has monthly or quarterly business reviews with each of its dedicated customers where data and performance metrics are shared. “We use data to make our customers more efficient,” he said. “With Bolt, there is so much information that can be taken, measured, and then presented in an easy to understand fashion. Data is one thing; easily understanding it is another. All told, Bolt gives us the tools we need to manage and continually improve for our customers. In some cases, we can show that we can do more deliveries with fewer assets. That may mean a reduction in our vehicle count with that customer, but it’s ultimately best for their operation. And if it’s better for them, it’s better for us. It’s being a partner in the truest form of the word.”
This article was contributed by SiefkesPetit Communications on behalf of Bolt System.