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Auckland trucking company gets IT right

Sathya Mithra Ashok | May 21, 2014
Small privately-owned trucking company, AJ Tutill, has been in business for more than 90 years, and has been able to succeed at what it does by putting customer service at the front of its agenda.

Small privately-owned trucking company, AJ Tutill, has been in business for more than 90 years, and has been able to succeed at what it does by putting customer service at the front of its agenda.

"The only thing I'm selling is a service," says Neil Bowman, operations manager at the firm. "There are lots of freight companies in Auckland, lots of trucks and lots of drivers. But service is our point of difference. No one beats us on service.

"This is a family business," he says. "John [Tutill] runs the company. He's here every day, looking at the big screen in despatch, keeping an eye on everything and making sure we're really responsive."

The 43-truck company prides itself on a hands-on management approach with a staff, including drivers, of around 42 people. With no IT team in place, it was essential that all IT systems should be easy to use, with as little need for internal admin as possible.

"We service mostly the Auckland area. We do some work in the South Island sometimes, but our main focus remains Auckland. We have around six PCs in the Auckland office. We use an MYOB accounting package. We have kept things simple in order to reduce any potential failures. If we do need any help sorting things out, we call in a third party provider to help us out," says Bowman.

Keeping requirements lean has helped the firm manage costs at a granular level, and invest only when a solution is warranted and needed by customers. This was the main driving force behind the deployment of the internet Cargo Operating System (iCOS) Live freight management system in 2011.

"The system allows clients to place job orders online and track and trace consignments from pickup through to delivery. The freight management software is linked with the iCOS warehouse and despatch system, which sends the jobs to iCOS LIVE once the orders are picked," says Bowman.

While the iCOS was working very well, customers also wanted the ability to track their orders in a more real-time basis. The company also felt the need to improve its communications with the trucks on the field as its fleet grew.

"We manage despatch pretty aggressively. That's a real point of difference. We make things work, and we make sure they work well. If a customer books a job in the morning and wants it delivered that afternoon, we make it happen. If there are just three pallets on a truck and one needs to get from the airport to Henderson by 2 o'clock we'll tell the driver to get moving straight away. We won't make him wait till he has a full load.

 

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