While time is money in any business venture, nowhere are the two tied more closely together than in the trucking/transport industry. Trucks are hired to move goods from one location to another within a specified period of time. Anything that keeps the truck from moving down the road is a potential hindrance to the successful completion of that mission.
In the interest of efficiency, most independent truckers will work on lining up their next load or two while they are on the road delivering the current load. This process involves checking an online load board to see what’s available, contacting the broker, and exchanging information. It is the last part where things can break down. Because certain background documents and contracts need to be signed, of necessity they must be sent by fax. Ordinarily this means the trucker must pull into a truck stop, sometimes wait in line for a fax machine to become available, and then transmit the document page-by-page. In the meantime, the clock keeps counting down, putting early delivery bonuses and/or late delivery penalties at risk.
Macstran is a female-owned Nevada corporation that hauls produce and seafood between Florida and California. Owner Peggy McClelland is a serial entrepreneur, having previously started a successful restaurant and bed and breakfast in the Pacific Northwest. She heard the call of the open road, got her license along with her husband Robert, and began driving for various leasing companies.
One day, when her accountant pointed out that the amount of money she’d paid to the leasing companies would have bought her almost two trailers of her own, her entrepreneurial spirit rose up and she started Macstran. She currently owns one regular Volvo rig and one refrigeration truck, but has plans to expand her fleet to nine in the near future, and 12 total eventually.
While it was absolutely necessary, Peggy was finding that the process of lining up the load for the return trip was getting in the way of delivering the current load. She could use her wireless connection to search two Internet-based load boards for available opportunities while on the move. But once she found one, they’d have to stop the truck to take care of the paperwork in order to bid for it.
If the load was with a broker with whom she’d worked before she would have to contact the broker and have a contract sent to a fax machine at a truck stop. Once the fax came in she would look it over, and if all was in order she would sign it and send it back. This process could take a half hour or more, depending on how busy the fax machine at the truck stop was.
If the load was with a new broker it was even time-consuming. First Peggy would have to check the broker and its credit rating. If all was well she would have to fax a package of information about her business, have the broker approve it, and then receive the contract. Either way, it was time being spent standing still that could’ve been spent moving produce and seafood between Florida and California. Peggy knew that with all the modern technology available that there must be a better way.
One day as Peggy was describing her concerns to one of the brokers she works with regularly, the broker suggested she try Internet faxing with MyFax.
“The difference was immediate,” Peggy says. “I was able to connect to their server right away and the fax went through without a hitch. I even received a confirmation that it had been delivered in my e-mail account. The contract was completed within minutes, and we didn’t even have to slow down much less stop. I’ve been a fan ever since.”
As faxed contracts come in Peggy prints them out using the combination printer/scanner she keeps in the cab. After reviewing them she signs them and scans them back into her computer. From there they can be faxed back to the broker using MyFax.
The cost differential is another factor that Peggy likes. At the typical truck stop, sending and receiving faxes can run $3 per page. By the time a five-page contract is completed both ways the driver has spent $30. Macstran’s MyFax account costs just $10 per month to send 100 and receive 200 pages, which means it pays for itself three times over with the first contract. She adds that she has never gone over those monthly page counts, making it extremely economical.
The only question mark comes from the ability to get a wireless connection in certain areas. “When you’re in a valley it can be difficult to get or maintain an Internet connection,” Peggy says. “But that’s pretty rare, and usually resolves itself within a few minutes. As long as I can connect to the Internet I’m able to send and receive faxes.”