In It For The Long Haul

Von Todd Datz

If all that tracking technology feels Big Brotherish, well,it is. However, to Schneider and its competitors, staying ontop - even staying alive - in the industry means knowingwhere your assets are at all times and moving them to wherethey need to be as efficiently as possible. "Truckingcompanies are asset-intensive businesses," says DonaldBroughton, senior transportation analyst at A.G. Edwards &Sons in St. Louis, Mo. "The guy who has the higher rate ofasset utilization wins."

The E-business of Trucking

Schneider´s aggressive use of technology isn´t limited tothe highway; it´s integrated throughout the wholebusiness. According to COO Scott Arves, the company spendsin excess of 1.5 per cent of its revenues on technology, afigure that Don Schneider says is "higher than any of ourcompetitors´."

"We´re moving 10,000 loads every single day," says CraigDickman, vice-president of IT. "With the low-margin natureof this business, every decision that you´re making has animpact on profit and loss, so technology becomes importantto allow people to make more effective decisions."

The company has developed optimization software known as theGlobal Scheduling System (GSS). This tool gives customerassociates the ability to optimize all of the company´sdrivers and loads across North America. It processes 7,000load assignments a day and optimizes at a rate of more than7,000 driver-load combinations per second. For a truckingcompany, where every empty trailer or misdirected drivermeans a hit on the bottom line, that kind of decision-makingtool is critical. "Every morning you wake up, your means ofproduction or your capacity is in different locations,"Dickman says. "You really need to be able to look at ways tomake customer commitments and say, ´Yes, we have the abilityto move this freight.´"

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