Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS), a company that transports cars and other vehicles to commercial and individual customers throughout the continental United States
The Business Problem
DAS ran its operations on an aging on-premises legacy order management system, which experienced frequent outages and required regular maintenance and updates at considerable expense. The company’s business processes also involved numerous manual steps that required significant staff time.
The ThingLogix Solution
ThingLogix helped DAS migrate its legacy system to a cloud-based Salesforce platform that incorporated automated processes to help the company track its logistics and manage digital inspection reports, saving the company time and money.
DAS is the largest vehicle relocation company in the United States, shipping as many as 4,000 vehicles throughout the country at a single time, with annual revenues over $77 million.
DAS’ business model is heavily reliant on the frequent collection of large quantities of data. For instance, DAS must constantly track the location of each vehicle as it moves through its network of transporters until it reaches its final destination. The company must also monitor the condition of each vehicle to determine whether it has been damaged in transit at any point along the way.
Previously, DAS had relied on a legacy infrastructure system to store and access its data, but the legacy system was frequently in need of operational support and had significant downtime. This came at a high expense, in terms of both financial expense and human resources. While moving to a cloud-based system seemed like an ideal solution, DAS’ leadership was resistant to this change, as a previous effort to migrate to a new system had resulted in disruption and costly manual work arounds.
In order to facilitate a smooth transition to a cloud-based platform that relied on Salesforce and integrated software, DAS contracted with ThingLogix to assist with an incremental migration, and the incorporation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to streamline existing business operations.
ThingLogix developed DAS’ new enterprise service architecture, sourced IoT technologies to incorporate into DAS’ fleets, and built custom apps to integrate with DAS’ Salesforce-based communications platform, guiding the company through the implementation over an extended period.
DAS has seen numerous benefits from ThingLogix’ implementation and ongoing consultation services, including:
More accurate and timely vehicle tracking data
Previously, DAS was able to track the location of its own fleet carriers, but had no capabilities for tracking individual vehicles. It also relied on third-party shippers with no tracking capabilities, necessitating daily phone calls to determine a vehicle’s location.
Now, DAS has 2,500 tracking devices available for its vehicles, which send GPS data in real-time when the engine is on and hourly when it is off. This has greatly increased the accuracy and ease of accessing each vehicle’s location data. Both DAS employees and customers can now receive information alerts to let them know how close a vehicle is to its destination, enhancing the customer experience and helping the company keep track of any travel delays or other issues.
Increased staff efficiency
Through tracking vehicles and managing terminals through automated processes, DAS has eliminated 80 percent of the phone calls that were previously part of its work process. That has allowed the company to increase staff capacity substantially without adding additional headcount: Each customer service agent can now manage 25 to 30 orders simultaneously, whereas they could only manage 15 orders in the legacy system. As a result, DAS has been able to save 15 percent on anticipated payroll costs.
Faster payment collection
DAS must issue inspection reports for vehicles every time they are transferred between carriers. In the past, these inspections would be completed on paper, and would then be scanned and sent to DAS’ corporate office. DAS was unable to invoice for its services until it had received all of the inspection reports from its carriers. Now, ThingLogix has implemented a Salesforce 1 mobile app that allows all carriers to perform inspections digitally, and to instantly send photos and data to DAS’ office through their mobile devices. This has enabled DAS to cut weeks out of its billing cycle and collect payment faster.
Better business intelligence
By moving to IoT initiatives such as vehicle trackers and digital inspection reports, DAS has been able to collect exponentially more data related to its fleets and vehicles, including how fast they are moving, whether any damage occurred at any stage of the process, and the frequency of problems associated with specific carriers or terminals. DAS can then mine this data to identify issues, such as training or equipment failures that lead to frequent problems at certain terminals, and can take proactive measures to improve its processes where flaws have been identified.
Overall, DAS has already seen significant benefits in terms of efficiencies and process improvement throughout the course of its migration to the cloud-based management platform. In the long term, the company anticipates substantial savings on claim-related expenses, thanks to the streamlined, heavily automated platform engineered by ThingLogix’s team.