Ace Relocation Systems San Diego, CA
Household Goods Carrier Stan Aikman, director of operations
As an agent for Atlas Van Lines, Ace Relocation Systems provides moving services with a fleet that's mostly owned and operated by contractors. Offering new assignments while they were on the road with current shipments was an expensive and time-consuming process.
A phone call to drivers began the process, telling tell them about the available shipment. If they wanted the job, they had to go to a truckstop or some other location where they could receive a faxed copy of the manifest. A call-back from the driver was required to confirm receipt of the fax, says Stan Aikman, Ace director of operations.
Drivers lost time stopping for phone calls and faxes; dispatchers were pulled away from customer service to handle faxing and telephone chores, and the fleet faced high costs from wasted time.
A wireless data system would have smoothed out the process, but getting a fleet of independent contractors to agree on one particular system was all but impossible.
Virtually all of Ace Relocation's contractors already carry cellphones for voice communications, but a new technology called BREW has allowed the fleet to run a simple, low-cost data dispatch application over one cellphone network.
OmniOne from Qualcomm Wireless Business Solutions uses BREW, developed by parent Qualcomm Inc., to link all of Ace's drivers to the company's workflow management systems. The only requirement for drivers was to switch their cellphone service to Verizon. The OmniOne application is then downloaded over the air and automatically installed.
Dispatchers now use a web-based application to fill out load forms that can be sent to the OmniOne equipped phones in real time. Drivers can review the information on the phone's display screen at their leisure and accept or reject the load with just one push of a button. All the data is integrated with Ace's back-office applications, further streamlining the company's workflow and improving customer service.
“It's helping us move away from paper completely,” says Aikman. “What to pick up and when to arrive is right there on the driver's phone. The contractors love it because they don't have to stop at truckstops for faxes anymore.
“The efficiency gains are also terrific because we don't have to spend time discussing orders on the phone,” Aikman adds. “The trucks keep rolling, and the drivers can pick up their dispatches whenever they want to.” And since the system uses a cellphone rather than an in-cab terminal, drivers can use it when they're home or working inside a customer residence.
While there's a small monthly fee for OmniOne, it's cheaper than fax charges, Aikman says. The system also allows drivers to use their cellphones to receive advances, track orders, map delivery locations or text-message family and friends.
“Our contractors love it,” says Aikman. “They all switched to the new phones and installed OmniOne within 90 days.”