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Net gain: Shipment facts are no longer transmitted via fax

Overnite Transportation Co., whose annual revenues exceed $1 billion, has over 4,800 vehicles and more than 12,600 employees-including some 9,000 drivers and dockworkers-working out of 167 terminals.

Despite its large size and sophisticated IT capability, however, the less-than-truckload carrier had some problems with the transmission of shipment information to customers, until recently.

Overnite used to fax client-specific pages of shipment information-accessed from a database of all of the carrier’s orders-to 8,000 of its customers. Providing all that material added up to faxing more than 180,000 pages of data each month, at a cost of $50,000.

In addition to being a cumbersome and expensive distribution process, Overnite discovered that not all of the customers receiving the faxes were taking advantage of the information provided because their staffs had to spend a lot of time manually searching through the paperwork for data on specific shipments.

Worse yet, the faxes often were misdirected, mislaid or lost by the customers. Consequently, Overnite employees wasted a lot of time, finding and refaxing missing pages.

After a survey determined that the carrier’s customers preferred to use the Internet to access the specific information they needed, Cindy Hopping, Overnite’s manager of systems development, headed a committee that was charged to find a system, which would improve information processing and reduce transmission costs.

MyOvernite

As a result of committee’s efforts, the carrier established its MyOvernite system last November. MyOvernite is an Internet-based tool that offers shippers a personal key to a menu of services. The system enables shippers to receive information related to transport of their freight, which is reported in a manner that meets their specific needs. As a result, they receive secure, electronic delivery of imaged documents, including delivery receipts, bills of lading and shipment status reports.

One of the system’s tools is the Spoolview suite of client-server report management software, developed and marketed by DataTrade Inc., based in Springfield, Mo. The suite includes Spoolview, DataTrade’s flagship system, which provides the engine that automatically processes and compresses the data into reports at up to 2 million pages an hour.
DataTrade’s companion SpoolWeb application, which is integrated into Overnite’s Web site, transmits reports on shipment information over the Internet to customers.

The carrier’s shipment database, which can store and process millions of pages of information, generates customer reports several times a day on a main frame in Overnite’s St. Louis office. Subsequently, the reports are immediately transferred over the carrier’s wide area network to the Spoolview core application running on a dedicated NT server in the carrier’s Richmond, Va., headquarters.

The SpoolWeb application allows customers to quickly access report data on an as-needed or scheduled basis, in customized, detailed and/or multi-criteria formats over one date or date ranges.

Overnite also plans to start using the Visual Control Room routing and scheduling system, marketed by InterGis of Torrington, Conn. By using the system to optimize pickup and delivery stops, Overnite expects to reduce mileage, fuel costs and travel time by as much as 25%.
For more information about the Spoolview suite, call 800-450-3502 or access www.datatrade.com. And for additional data on the Visual Control Room system, call 860-496-4900 or access www.intergis.com.

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