PeopleNet: plenty to celebrate on 20th anniversary

Cincinnati. Rain is not dampening high spirits for PeopleNet, a Trimble company, and its customers at the National Private Truck Council’s (NPTC) 2014 National Education Conference and Exhibition. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary here today-- looking forward to new opportunities as well as back at past achievements.

The company was founded in 1994 to provide technology products and solutions for efficient fleet management and today serves nearly 2,000 private and for-hire fleets, including several Fortune 500 companies. In 2011, Trimble acquired PeopleNet to anchor the Americas operation of its International Transportation and Logistics (T&L) division. People founder, Ron Konezny, now leads this Trimble division as vice president, global transportation and logistics.

“We’re grateful to our customers for attesting to our twenty-year reputation for innovation and service…,” Brian McLaughlin, PeopleNet president noted. “But we’re just getting started. There’s a new possible, and we’re changing the rules.”

By way of example, McLaughlin pointed to the company’s Precision Mobility Platform, which is designed to provide a complete fleet solution by integrating enterprise, analytics and mobile technologies. “With an explosive set of new data from engines, loads, drivers and third-party systems, customers have access to real-time predictive analytics, a revolutionary game-changer, that provides fleets an enormous competitive edge with actionable insight into vehicle and driver performance, asset protection and risk mitigation,” he said.

Rick Ochsendorf, senior vice president operations and product management for PeopleNet, talked with Fleet Owner about the changes he has personally seen over the past 20 years and some of the new opportunities that are unfolding for the company. Recalling the start of his industry career with Q Carriers, Ochsendorf noted that “things have really changed over twenty years.

“I remember calling shippers, receivers and even scale houses trying to track down one of our fleet drivers,” he said. “Now, if the PeopleNet system were down for even five minutes, we’d hear about it.

“Today, we see ourselves as a gateway for our partners,” he noted. “We bring data from multiple sources and make it available for any number of partners."

Ochsendorf, like other PeopleNet executives, sees lots of opportunities for adding partners from new segments of the industry to the company’s roster of customers. “The energy services sector is a great opportunity for us,” he told Fleet Owner. “We believe that we can help revolutionize that industry.”

According to Ochsendorf, the energy sector is growing rapidly and with that growth have come new needs that over-the-road carriers have been dealing with for a long time, such as the need for a heavier sales focus and the need to bring back office efficiencies into the business. 

The energy sector is maturing, he noted. It is changing. They are facing higher costs, lower margins, competition, controls and regulations.  These pressures are and will drive a need for greater efficiencies to maintain margins. That’s where PeopleNet can make a difference.

Innovations the company has already brought to the energy industry include engine reporting for natural gas vehicles (in 2013) and integrated, oil well leased-road, in-cab mapping capabilities for energy service drivers (2014).

Here at NPTC, PeopleNet also underscored its commitment to future service and growth with the certification of another six employees as NPTC Certified Transportation Professionals (CTPs), bringing the total number of employees who have passed the rigorous certification exam to 34, more than any other member organization.

“We are a transportation company,” Ochsendorf said. “We really understand the value of knowing the business.  The CTP program has been fantastic for us.”

Gary Petty, NPTC president and CEO, recognized PeopleNet’s commitment to CTP in a press release today. “PeopleNet’s thirty-four CTPs demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to understanding the needs of private fleets and helping them to meet their challenges,” he said. “Open to both Fleet and Allied members, CTP is the first step in a continuous journey to build a core of professionals who are setting standards for private fleets’ operations management.”

Frost & Sullivan added still more “frosting” to the PeopleNet anniversary celebration cake by recently recognizing the company with a 2013 North America Frost & Sullivan award for Company of the Year in the medium and heavy comercial vehicle telematics market. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in devising a strong growth strategy and robustly implementing it.

The Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

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