At this year’s Insight Tech Conference + Expo, Trimble Transportation brought together two valued customers, Vogel Disposal Services and NFI, to discuss how the transportation industry can realize value through adoption of cloud-based systems.
The panelists provided their real-world experiences of how they’ve migrated their transportation management and asset maintenance systems to the cloud. Dan Popkin, sector vice president, global connected supply chain at Trimble Transportation, moderated the panel, which included:
- Scott Nelson, vice president, IT client services, NFI. With more than 20 years of transportation experience, Nelson is responsible for supporting all of NFI’s various transportation businesses.
- Jack Wondowski, project manager, Vogel Disposal Services. Wondowski identifies technology and business needs within the company, and is responsible for onboarding and implementing solutions to meet those needs.
While the two companies differ significantly in size and industry vertical, many of their processes, needs, expectations and concerns are the same when it comes to utilizing cloud technologies. Bringing together representatives from both companies provided insight into a wider variety of experiences and perspectives for carriers of all types across the industry.
A Seamless Integration
As with many companies, NFI has a cloud-first strategy, meaning that any technology they invest in moving forward needs to be cloud-based. With more than 4,500 trucks and 15,000 trailers, they use Trimble’s TMW.Suite transportation management system (TMS) to manage their complex operations.
NFI dedicated nearly six months of testing, learning and replicating their architecture before the team felt confident in rolling out a new cloud-based version of TMW.Suite to replace their historic on-premise version and transferring their data to Microsoft Azure.
“My team’s goal was to break the environment and prove that it was not the right decision to go to the Trimble cloud… We spent a lot of time validating the integrations,” Scott Nelson, vice president, IT client services at NFI shared. “But the [Trimble] environment worked seamlessly. We logged in and all of the important functions worked … We had a very high level of confidence in everything that we tested, that there weren’t going to be any surprises.”
Nelson shared that with a major move like this, there was some hesitation at the executive level, including how long the outage during the conversion would be. With plenty of preparation, the outage window was actually much shorter than they had even predicted, at just a matter of hours. Overall, Nelson said the conversion was seen as one of the smoothest implementations in NFI history, and has set the standard for this type of project moving forward.
Vogel Disposal Services, on the other hand, is a much smaller company with around 500 trucks. They were still operating on a paper-based system until the mid-2000s, before transitioning to using the on-premise version of TMT Fleet Maintenance. Earlier this year, Vogel Disposal Services migrated to the cloud-based version of TMT Fleet Maintenance.
As a small privately-owned company, the decision to move to the cloud was an easy one without much debate after the initial validation testing results from Trimble Transportation were shared with leadership. Jack Wondowski, project manager at Vogel Disposal Services, said the test results spoke for themselves.
“The next day (after moving to the cloud), users came in, and they didn’t know a difference except the software ran at about three times the speed than when we had it on-premise,” Wondowski shared. “It was overall a tremendous success from a user experience standpoint.”
More Than a Cost Savings
While a predictable subscription cost – often accompanied by overall cost savings – will always be a factor in considering a move to cloud-based software, the panelists shared the benefits they’ve experienced with the conversion go much further.
- Improved Security - For NFI, an important deciding factor for the conversion was security. “More and more customers are asking security-related questions on requests for proposals (RFPs). So we’re now able to respond with specific details based on the security that Trimble now has,” Nelson shared.
- A Deeper Bench - There’s no doubt everyone is dealing with labor shortages. Turnover in all industries, including IT, is something many companies are struggling with. The ability to leverage the IT team and professional services at Trimble Transportation is another benefit for carriers and something NFI has taken advantage of.
- Better Performance - Wondowski shared that at Vogel Disposal Services, they were actually losing employees due to frustrations with their old on-premise system. It was slow and didn’t function efficiently. Now, with the success of the cloud conversion, they’re able to run a smoother operation and invest energy into other areas of the business, identifying other efficiencies that could be gained.
A Strong Partner in Microsoft
The panelists agreed that the partnership between Trimble and Microsoft is a game-changer, and a key to why their cloud transitions were so successful.
By working with Microsoft, Trimble Transportation is able to help companies like NFI and Vogel Disposal Services troubleshoot any issues that a conversion to the cloud could potentially have. Nelson shared that a Microsoft Black Belt joined several calls leading up to implementation, which provided deep expertise and peace of mind.
He added, “We are eight months in now, and I stand by the fact that it’s one of the more successful implementations that we had with Trimble. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
While moving to the cloud can feel like a daunting undertaking, Trimble Transportation has simplified the process of migrating solutions, unlocking additional value for its customers.
To learn more about how Trimble and Microsoft are partnering to advance technology adoption and accelerate digital transformation, you can watch an on-demand recording of the 2022 Insight Keynote Tech Talk between Trimble Transportation’s chief platform officer Jennifer Lin and Microsoft executive vice president, Cloud + AI Group, Scott Guthrie here.