In September, the entire office staff of Sweetland Transport left Michigan to attend a networking event in Nashville. While they were gone, paychecks still had to be filled, loads dispatched, and communication lines kept open with customers and drivers.
Not a problem. They set up a mobile office in Nashville using the company’s cloud-based transportation management software (TMS), a portable printer, scanner, laptops, mobile devices, and an Internet connection.
“We can dispatch trucks from anywhere we want. We can do it from a phone if needed,” said Miki Gavriloski, operations manager.
Sylectus organized the networking event for motor carriers and brokers who subscribe to its protected load board, the Alliance network. Sweetland Transport joined in 2012 with one truck. Two years later, it operates more than 40 trucks. About 35 percent of its business comes from the Alliance network, he says.
Sweetland is one of approximately 200 companies that use the premium Virtual Fleet Pro subscription to have the Alliance network integrated with its cloud-based TMS from Sylectus.
Sweetland can dispatch its own company trucks and available trucks from Virtual Fleet Pro members. Both sets of trucks appear on its dispatch board in the TMS, Gavriloski says. Likewise, its own available trucks can be dispatched by other carrier and broker members.
The capacity of the Alliance network and the visibility, connectivity and e-commerce tools of the integrated TMS platform help Sweetland compete with larger companies and retain customers, he says.
Traditionally, fleets and brokers have used TMS software in a client-server setup. Users needed the screen space and function keys of desktops and laptops to enter orders, dispatch loads and perform other complex tasks.
TMS systems have since become more mobile friendly. Below are two areas where technology can extend knowledge and automation from the office to the mobile worker.
1. The fleet manager: Mobile apps to stay connected and productive
2. The driver: Extending knowledge to the cab