The editors for CCJ get to travel to many different trade shows and industry events during the year. One of the drawbacks of having so much exposure to news and information, however, is that we rarely have enough time to publish everything we see and hear. Fortunately, we have this blog where editors like myself can avoid the usual style of presenting news and just clear our desks and our minds of the information that would otherwise be forgotten.
One of these items has been sitting on my desk since September when I attended the TMW TransForum 2012 user conference in Orlando. While at the show I sat down with SkyBitz, one of the first companies to introduce trailer tracking technology in the industry. Henry Popplewell recently became the new general manager of SkyBitz following the purchase of the company by Tellular last February.
Popplewell said that SkyBitz is having the second best sales year in company history. Last year was its record best. Starting before the recession in 2008, SkyBitz started to broaden the reach of its technology. Today, 25 percent of its devices are installed on equipment other than trailers. Its market now includes non-powered assets like oil and gas tanks, heavy equipment used in rental and construction industries.
The expansion to other markets has not drawn away resources from continuing to develop new features and capabilities for monitoring trailers, however. Integration is one of the areas it has invested in. Today, a growing number of customers–particularly large carriers–have integrated SkyBitz’s trailer monitoring information into their transportation management systems (TMS).
A new feature that is available within TMW’s software, TMW Suite, is the SkyBitz Asset Status link. From a load planning screen in TMW Suite, a dispatcher could click on the Asset Status link to go to a live database of trailer information. In one screen he could see which trailers are outbound and loaded/empty, inbound and loaded/empty, positioned at a customer location or other landmark, and other information. He could also see which trailers have been idle for more than one day, and drill down to find the dispatch information for these trailers–like how it got there.
Another area of investment for SkyBitz is adding more data like tire pressure, engine hours, trailer temperature, cargo and door sensors, etc.
SkyBitz, like almost every technology company I have spoken to recently, say they have seen a resurgence in their businesses following the recession that started in 2008. With a growth in sales, it’s exciting to hear about the new changes and improvements they’ve been able to make with their technology.
“We’re a different company than two years ago,” Popplewell says.