In 2009, Alan Falik left an investment banking career in the oil and gas industry to join the family business, Poolsure, which delivers bleach and other chemicals to residential and commercial pools in the Gulf States region.
The Houston-based company had 32 trucks at the time, he recalls, and no technology beyond spreadsheets for planning and tracking daily work activities.
Dispatchers were building routes manually and handing job orders to drivers on paper. Messages were sent to drivers mostly as reminders to “make sure this job is done by Friday,” for example, using Poolsure’s mobile communications platform. And at the end of the day, drivers returned with a handful of papers for the jobs they had completed.
This lack of real-time visibility into work activities was especially problematic when rush orders came. “When a customer calls in, we need to know what is on our trucks at that time,” but dispatchers “had no idea what had happened during the day,” he says. “Obviously, as we grew that didn’t work.”
Falik began looking at technologies and found “a ton of different companies out there,” but each offered part of the solution. Poolsure began to implement cloud-based software systems separately for the functions of CRM, ERP and more but lacked the technology resources to “integrate them together,” he says.
Technology suppliers have traditionally focused on different niches in the transportation market, from mobile communications to back-office dispatch and routing software. During the past few years, several companies have been going after the domain where all of these technologies converge.
The goal is to offer a total connectivity package to fleets through a Software as a Service model. Here is an overview of how some of the components in this package work together. Choose one to get started: