COMPANY: Maverick Transportation Inc. Little Rock, AR
OPERATION: Nationwide flatbed carrier operating some 900 company-owned tractors that haul primarily steel, other metals and building materials Michael J. Hufnagel, CIO
Like any for-hire trucking company, Maverick Transportation wants to be able to bill its customers promptly. But it wants to maintain control of the crucial documents that make billing shippers possible until those bills are in the works.
The problems the fleet had with obtaining paperwork from drivers en route was the delay in processing the data as well as the potential for outside service providers, or the U.S. mail, to lose documents before they got back to the fleet's offices, points out CIO Michael Hufnagel.
“It had always been a big deal to get the paperwork in here to do the billing and get the load closed off,” says Hufnagel. “The ideal solution, of course, is to put a document reader in the hands of each driver as FedEx does but we don't have the volume for that kind of hardware investment.
“Every other kind of system,” he adds, “requires releasing the paperwork to someone else for part of the processing and the driver loses control of the documents.”
“Bob Helms of Pegasus TransTech knew we'd be interested in a better scanning service,” says Hufnagel. “We became a Beta customer for their Transflo Express, and in June our fleet went ‘live’ with the service.”
The Transflo Express service consists of scan-stations (PCs with scanners attached) that have been installed at the Maverick terminals and at more than 230 Pilot Travel Centers nationwide, where they're available to any trucker.
Using the scanners, the service transmits a batch of trip documents “within minutes,” says Hufnagel, enabling the fleet to complete the billing process several days faster than other methods.
“Obviously, we have control of the documents if the scanning is done at our terminals,” relates Hufnagel “The advantage at the truck stops is the driver can have the documents quickly scanned at the fuel desk. He then receives the documents back along with a confirmation slip that they've been transmitted to us. He never has to give up our control of those documents. Instead, if need be, we can go to a secure Transflo web site and confirm transmissions.”
Hufnagel says the upshot is that Maverick's drivers get free and clear of the hassle of paperwork and the fleet gets to bill its customers more quickly.
“Our only investment was to purchase the scan-stations for our terminals,” says Hufnagel. “Billing for transmitting the data is similar to that for faxing documents and is done by volume.”
In addition, no forms had to be changed or customized to be read, which is a boon as most of the documents Maverick works off of are supplied by shippers. “We did create a cover page to be scanned, but that is it,” Hufnagel notes.
“And,” he adds, “our drivers love it. We can now send them a message via our Qualcomm system that we have received the documents and they can safely destroy their paperwork. In short, it makes for a much smoother process with more control throughout.”