When you’re providing 24/7 service to clients in the competitive Eastern seaboard transport industry, you need to know that your technology choices will support you without fail. For Arrows Express, a highly regarded express line-haul provider, technology is seen as an enabler of the high service levels they strive to offer their customers.
Arrows Express trucks are tracked by GPS, so that their locations and expected arrival times can be used to ensure goods are transported efficiently. Limitations in Arrows’ existing hosted desktop environment meant that data flow was inadequate, so up-to-the-minute truck information was unavailable without manual processes.
Anthony Maynard, General Manager of Arrows Express, said that this restriction impacted service.
“One of our key selling points at Arrows is that we run on an on-time performance commitment, reporting any delays. The cloud environment designed by our previous supplier was giving us reliability and speed issues,” he said.
“We have to meet timeframes for our customers, and we have to be accountable.”
Maynard was unhappy with the response of his technology provider. Response to issues could take “anything from three hours to a whole day,” and there were frustrating – and costly – interruptions to workflow.
“Once the system was down for 24 hours,” said Maynard.
This service interruption meant Maynard’s team had to go to extraordinary lengths to keep their customers’ freight on track, but there were delays.
“We can’t afford to have our customers’ PUD fleets sitting around waiting for us to arrive, this can cost our customers up to $50,000 per hour,” he said.
The business started to consider other options.
“We decided to source another provider, and TechPath were recommended to us,” said Maynard.
TechPath first initiated a network discovery and audit process that gave a clear understanding of the current IT environment. This was followed by a business discovery, involving discussions with key staff members, to determine how to better meet their specific needs. This had to be done unobtrusively, so that the busy Arrows team were not interrupted in their daily tasks.
“We hardly noticed them at all,” Maynard said of the TechPath team.
After their thorough assessment, the TechPath team recommended an on-premise Citrix solution with a single host server and two virtual servers, using Microsoft Cloud on an Office 365 E3 plan. This was designed to give a consistently quick time to requests, so that users could work more productively.
TechPath took a staggered approach, with implementation conducted over development, pilot and production phases. This helped to minimise interruption, so that Arrows did not risk service delays for their customers.
“There was no time offline, and virtually no interruption to workflow,” said Maynard of the experience.
“The transition went very smoothly.”
For the team at Arrows Express, the gains in efficiency have made the working day less stressful and more productive. Having a rapid data flow between the trucks and head office means that they can get on with other tasks, uninterrupted by technology challenges.
“Being able to see where our trucks are, and being able to update customers, is very valuable,” said Maynard.
Along with visibility of the fleet, many administration tasks have been eased, and the more efficient system means that Arrows management can get their hands on information a lot faster.
“Instead of waiting twenty minutes for a report to be generated, I can have it in my hands in less than five,” said Maynard.
“I can then get on with meeting with my staff and working on sales activities.”
One of those new sales opportunities is the Arrows Technical Solution, created by Arrows to allow people in other countries – such as airlines and major courier companies – to book freight on trucks. The solution, due for launch shortly, will allow space to be booked seamlessly online, with users able to follow progress of their freight throughout the entire journey.
“This will help us to build on a really good rapport with the big air integrators,” said Maynard, who noted that a stable IT environment was vital in such a venture.
There have been new efficiencies everywhere, said Maynard, just from having a stable system in place.
“It makes my life a lot easier.”
Where their previous provider had often fixed problems, only to have the same failure reoccur within hours, said Maynard, TechPath were able to deal with any problems quickly and efficiently.
“Service reliability is one of TechPath’s biggest strengths,” he said.
“They do it right first time.”