Con-way No. 1 on 2007 InformationWeek 500

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The editors of InformationWeek revealed today, Sept. 18, that San Mateo, Calif.-based Con-way is No. 1 on the 19th annual InformationWeek 500. The company was selected for an initiative to streamline the payroll information collection process involving its more than 5,000 line-haul drivers nationwide at Con-way Freight, the company’s less-than-truckload motor carrier. It is the largest subsidiary of Con-way Inc.

The winning project was developed to address a weakness in Con-way’s payroll systems, which previously relied heavily on manual collection of information and overnight shipping of payform documents to ensure that drivers were paid in an accurate and timely manner. Drivers would submit handwritten payforms each day, which then would be shipped to Con-way’s payroll department for data entry and processing.

Any disruption in overnight shipping or lost shipments could interrupt the process and create unacceptable delays. “By identifying the need, we were able to seek technology that appropriately filled this gap,” says Jacquelyn Barretta, Con-way’s vice president and chief information officer. “Optical technology, combined with significantly upgraded scanners and software, streamlined and expedited what was a costly labor-intensive process.”

Using the new technology, Con-way was able to achieve a better than 99 percent rate of reliability, which allowed the payroll and IT departments to reduce the number of staff by seven positions through attrition, and resulted in substantial savings in technology maintenance and shipping costs.

Today, rather than ship packages of payforms out to a central processing unit each night, the payforms are delivered to local processing points, where they are scanned and sent to payroll electronically. The handwritten data is processed by an optical reader whose software automates the collection of the information and then populates the payroll system database, eliminating time-consuming and error-prone data entry.

“The pursuit of excellence has been part of Con-way’s culture since the beginning, but it’s not every day we earn the privilege of being named the best, by one of the most authoritative publications in the technology business, no less,” says Douglas Stotlar, chief executive officer for Con-way. “Thank you, InformationWeek, for this prestigious honor. I also want to extend my congratulations to Con-way’s IT and finance teams. It’s because of their integrity, innovation and commitment to consistent excellence that we are receiving this extraordinary recognition today.”

“Con-way has embraced and deployed new technologies and processes that have had a clear impact on its business,” says Rob Preston, vice president and editor-in-chief of InformationWeek. “Logistics and transportation companies have always done well because their businesses run on technology. This year, Con-way raised the bar, vaulting to the top of the InformationWeek 500 rankings, up from 28th in 2006 and 116 in 2005.”