All Trac Transportation Inc.
Trucking industry veteran Dick Frakes started All Trac Transportation eight years ago. Today, it's a fleet of 58 tractors, all model 379 extended-hood Peterbilts, and 105 dry van trailers, hauling for an impressive list of Fortune 500 firms, including giants like Burlington Coat Factory and Hewlett Packard.
“We average 1,500 miles per load and about 13,000 miles per truck per month,” notes Frakes. “We run very tight traffic lanes, and our exposure in those lanes is about the same as the biggest firms.” He credits technology with helping him to grow his business.
“About three years ago, we noticed we could not get in to see some shippers,” Frakes recalls. “As time went on, we realized that we would either have to just haul for brokers or add technology to keep our one-on-one relationships with our shippers. We tried three different inexpensive software systems as we were starting out, but as we grew and the requirements for integration increased, we started having trouble. It was clear we needed one bigger and more robust system that could grow with us.”
Frakes decided to implement Prophesy's complete Dispatch and Accounting system, integrated with the Qualcomm satellite communications system the company was already using. “We began working with Prophesy's total package about a year ago, and we just added their new safety system, called DriverTrax, for keeping track of our current and previously employed drivers,” he says.
“The system has also really delivered the benefits. For instance, our drivers noticed right away that their new paycheck printouts included all the details they want to see about every load, and complaints like ‘did I get paid for this?’ dropped 95%,” he notes. “It's also simpler to dispatch with Prophesy and easier to train new dispatchers.
“In the past, it was not as easy to work with customers as it is now,” Frakes adds. “Of course there was a learning curve, but it went very quickly and smoothly. Our accounting group probably had the most to learn, since we really never had a true accounting program before implementing the Prophesy system. But they made the transition extremely well, and Prophesy gets a lot of the credit.”
According to Frakes, technology has become an essential part of running a successful national truckload operation. “If a small fleet wants to be a player, it has to offer technology-enabled services like EDI, tracking and automated dispatch — all integrated internally and with the shippers' systems,” he says. “All carriers really have to sell is service, when you think about it. Without service, you're just a wholesale freight transportation business.”
Frake's advice to other carriers? “He who waits, loses. Technology is here to stay — and there's going to be more of it.”