How one organization turned around their team’s efficiency
Prior to joining Vertex, Three Star Trucking was one of the largest oilfield trucking companies in Western Canada and is responsible for contracting a wide range of transportation services in harsh environments throughout Canada and the United States. Now operating as Vertex, the number of drivers and operators continues to grow and the need to safely operate in harsh environments remains. As they have grown and with the nature of providing fluid logistic services, their active number of drivers can fluctuate on a monthly basis. At the time of this success story, Three Star had 165 drivers utilizing the rugged Ranger vehicle device and Vertex had committed to continue using these devices in a number of their units. On average, they see about 150 drivers in their system at any given time.
“Not only was the problem dealt with and solved in a timely and friendly manner, but the wireless option is significantly cleaner and more cab-friendly for our drivers.”
— Jesse Germain, Ranger/AssetWorks Technician, Vertex
So, What is the Ranger?
The Ranger is a tough and compact mobile computer built for harsh vehicle environments. It is always connected to the vehicle through the ECM to offer a reliable power source. The touchscreen features big buttons and clear labels, making the Ranger a user-friendly device. Why not use iPads or other mainstream, user-friendly devices? “We tried using iPads for our drivers before,” explained Ranger/ AssetWorks Technician at Vertex, Jesse Germain, “Simply put, managing all of those iPads was a nightmare. Rangers are cheaper, more efficient, more durable and come with the extended support from the AssetWorks team. It really just makes our lives easier.”
While scouting out potential providers, they noticed that many didn’t have a dedicated support team. As a result, they would have to jump through hoops and call several different providers to ensure they had integrated support solutions that would work with each of their non-integrated systems. Ultimately, they discovered AssetWorks Field Service Solutions (FSS).
FSS offers full customer support access for each of the modules and systems and provides a dedicated Project Manager. The long list of solutions that Vertex has implemented through FSS include electronic field ticketing, E-logs (compliance for USA & Canada ELD Mandates), GPS mapping (current and historical), mail/mass communication, in-truck scanning and accounting/back office integration (including accessing reports for compliance and audit purposes). Currently, they are preparing for a Dispatching deployment to help regulate and optimize their dispatching workflows, over their current phone call system.
“The goals of our organization for implementing a new software were fairly straightforward: E-log compliance, maintenance, team messaging, accounting integration and GPS,” explained Brenda Schwanke, Ranger/AssetWorks Coordinator at Vertex, “AssetWorks more than exceeded the expectations we set forth and we are looking forward to the Dispatching feature and continued work with them.”
Anyone that works in software implementation knows that no matter how well both the client and vendor prepare, it is unlikely that 100% of everything will work the first try. This is the specific reason that active and engaged Project Managers are so important. At the same time, “champions” of the new software and dedicated support at the client organization are instrumental for employee acceptance and workflow compliance.
Germain went into detail about one interesting development that they stumbled upon during deployment of the Ranger in the trucks:
“We had to switch out our SIM card providers as a result of our somewhat remote location. Spotty coverage was an issue that we did not want to deal with on these important jobs and work orders, so we took the proactive step to switch providers. This proved to have some initial issues, as we are quite fond of the scanner functionality in the trucks. One of the first to connect with the scanners in the Ranger units had cable and dongle issues. Our Project Manager at AssetWorks, Sunny Gill, helped us go through a wireless issue which is helping immensely. Not only was the problem dealt with and solved in a timely and friendly manner, but the wireless option is significantly cleaner and more cab-friendly for our drivers.”
Success Moving Forward
Three Star Trucking has had the excitement of experiencing immediate benefits and workflow improvements after implementing several of the key modules and solutions within FSS. For starters, they have reduced paperwork by roughly 75% – a key factor in not only optimizing exchange of information and expediting work orders, but also in reducing environmental waste. “In addition,” explains Erica Duncan, Compliance Administrator at Three Star Trucking, “The efficiency in the Accounting department has increased by 86% with the implementation of the direct ticket integration with the back office.”
As mentioned earlier, no implementation is ever 100% in every aspect. Initially, there was some internal pushback to the changes. “Nobody likes change,” recalled Schwanke, “There was some pushback and negative reactions, but over time, people have come around to prefer electronic systems over paper as they have seen how much time and money we have been saving.”
One More Example
Vertex’s fleet consists of all different years, makes, models and configurations of heavy trucks. With the help of FSS and the AssetWorks support teams, Vertex has been successful in integrating the Ranger system to work with the various types of trucks. “Specifically, on one occasion back when we first started with AssetWorks,” explained Germain, “We had set up a brand new 2019 Peterbilt and the Ranger would not pull diagnostic data from the truck. Sunny went out to our Grande Prairie, Alberta location to meet with the truck in the field to diagnose and troubleshoot.” As a result, Vertex’s system was up, running and functional in a short amount of time – allowing them to continue servicing their customers in the oil and gas industry in the cold and harsh environments they work in.