PROPHESY Transportation Solutions Inc (an Accellos division) has released a case study of its customer Stahly Cartage. This profile illustrates how the Illinois-based liquid bulk carrier has automated its dispatch operation and implemented new capabilities such as GPS fleet tracking and document imaging with Prophesy DispatchSeries trucking software.
Stahly has been operating in its current form since 1951, when two brothers acquired its assets from a previous owner. Starting out as a gasoline hauler, the company steadily grew and began to handle several other industrial chemicals such as caustic soda, acids, and resins. Its fleet of 28 trucks and 50 cargo tanks hauls liquid bulk shipments throughout the contiguous United States from its home office in Edwardsville IL via terminals in East St Louis and Joliet IL.
Stahly has maintained consistent growth and success over the years, but recently it began to outgrow its once effective methods. Dispatching operations had been handled mainly using pen and paper. For billing and other accounting tasks, the company had employed a transportation software system, but the software became obsolete when the developer discontinued support and updates of the product, leaving the company in need of a stable and time-tested replacement.
Mark Voelker, Stahly's director of safety and compliance, mounted the search for a new system that would handle both dispatching and accounting for his company. After reviewing several transportation management systems, Voelker and other staff members attended a live demonstration of the Prophesy software with Kevin Pasternack, Prophesy national sales manager.
“Of all the solutions we looked at, Prophesy was by far the most cost-effective for the range of capabilities it would give us,” said Voelker. Additionally, he was impressed by the user-friendly interface, convenient visibility of important data, and automation of everyday tasks.
With stability a primary concern for his company, Voelker wanted a combination of dispatching and accounting software that would meet his company's needs not only now but also well into the future. Having recently purchased Intuit QuickBooks Pro, he was pleased to learn that Prophesy is an Intuit partner and that its DispatchSeries products offer a robust integration with QuickBooks. He selected Prophesy Dispatch with QuickBooks Interface, including modules for mobile communications, driver management, commercial mileage and routing, and fuel tax reporting.
The Stahly staff then attended training sessions with Prophesy's Training and Implementation team, learning the skills that would help them get the most out of their new Prophesy software. The software was installed on eight workstations and the office server.
With the new Prophesy Dispatch trucking software in place, Voelker and his colleagues now look back at how easy the transition to an automated system has been.
“I was apprehensive about trading in my whiteboard for a computer-based dispatching system,” said Voelker. “I expected that relying on software would be cumbersome and take away a lot of the control we had over our operation. However, the Prophesy software is very flexible and lets us run our operation the way we want.”
Load information and other critical data are now entered and maintained in Prophesy Dispatch. Dispatchers can quickly access data needed to assist drivers when they call in for loads and advances. All expirations and other dates for drivers and equipment are tracked in the system, and dispatchers are alerted when necessary. All entered data can be located with the simple built-in search function, viewed, and modified within the user-friendly interface and gathered into detailed reports geared toward both employees and management for insight and decisionmaking.
Prophesy's mobile communications and fleet tracking technology connects Prophesy Dispatch to in-cab GPS devices in trucks, allowing dispatchers to monitor the fleet and exchange load and customer information with drivers.
“We only need to enter driving directions and special instructions for a customer once, and they are pulled up every time we create an order for that customer. Then when we assign a load to a driver, we send the relevant information directly to the driver's in-cab GPS. That is priceless to me,” said Voelker.
The Prophesy Document Imaging module has improved customer service and saved time and paper for the office. Documents are either generated during the data entry process or saved electronically using a standard scanner and attached to customer, driver and other master files. When, for example, a customer calls to request a bill of lading or proof of delivery, the employee opens the customer's master file or the load file, selects the document, and emails it to the customer using Prophesy's built-in email function.
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