Fleets Online

June 1, 1999
Company: William M. Bird Co., Charleston, S.C.Operation: Wholesale floor covering company delivers hardwood, tile, and vinyl flooring throughout the Southeast.Jody Powell, fleet analystPROBLEM: "Until January 1998, our Atlanta operation was manually creating the routes for its 20-25 trucks, which managed an average of 12-13 stops per truck per day," notes Jody Powell, fleet analyst for the company.Powell's

Company: William M. Bird Co., Charleston, S.C.

Operation: Wholesale floor covering company delivers hardwood, tile, and vinyl flooring throughout the Southeast.

Jody Powell, fleet analyst

PROBLEM: "Until January 1998, our Atlanta operation was manually creating the routes for its 20-25 trucks, which managed an average of 12-13 stops per truck per day," notes Jody Powell, fleet analyst for the company.

Powell's responsibilities include analyzing routes to help ensure they are being run in the most cost-effective manner. "We had a data base of approximately 3,000 customers on our AS/400, and we'd purchased a PC-based routing and scheduling system, but we were still doing things by hand, mostly due to lack of training on the new system," he explains. "The process involved pulling customer names, products, and delivery dates off the AS/400 and then manually building the routes by looking at maps.

"It took half a day or more to do," Powell adds. "I was sure we could work more efficiently and better utilize our trucks and our drivers' time."

SOLUTION:The company implemented TruckStops for Windows Routing and Scheduling in January of last year. "We eliminated one inefficient route immediately after I got back from a TruckStops training course. Since then, we haven't had to add any trucks, even though our customer base is growing," says Powell. The system was developed by MicroAnalytics Inc., which is based in Arlington, Va.

"Today, the Atlanta operation is averaging 16-20 stops per truck per day, and it takes about 45 minutes to do the day's routing. What's more, even though drivers are making additional stops every day, they are still getting back to the terminal by 2:00-3:00pm, just like before," he notes. "If a driver believes he or she uses a better route, I can even enter their route information into the TruckStops system and actually compare the results to show how the TruckStops route is more efficient," Powell adds. "Our customers are happier, too, because we don't miss stops anymore."

According to Powell, the Atlanta distribution center for William M. Bird saved over $140,000 in 1998 by using TruckStops, based only on the dollars saved by eliminating a route and not having to add extra equipment to keep up with growth.

What's next? "Today we use TruckStops to help us load our trucks according to the best stop sequence along each route," says Powell. "What I'd really like to do is eliminate fixed routes altogether and load sequence the entire fleet as a whole, but that requires a racking and staging area, so it won't happen overnight. The TruckStops system will permit us to do it though, and that's a good efficiency move to have available."

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...