Paper Transport, Inc. is a Wisconsin-based truckload carrier with over 900 trucks and nearly as many drivers. The company has grown significantly since it was founded in 1990 but has always remained focused on its values of supporting drivers and providing the highest quality of service to its customers.
Julie Decker, the fleet’s organizational development manager, explains that as the company grew, so too did the number of loads and drivers needing to be matched, along with the many data points associated with each driver, customer, asset and load. Over time, this can become a very time-intensive and manual process for planners.
“We realized that as the fleet grows, it may not be sustainable for our planners to make every decision individually,” Decker says. “There are so many data metrics that they’re trying to match, that even though they’re trying to match to make good decisions, sometimes they may not be formulating the best solution for the organization.”
The company also recognized that its planners had a great deal of contextual knowledge and insight into its drivers and customers, beyond the metrics that typically show up in a transportation management system (TMS), and didn’t want to lose the personal touch that planners bring to the load matching process.
The carrier began searching for an optimized dispatch solution that was flexible enough to support its load planners’ workload by suggesting matches automatically, while still allowing them to make the final matches based on their insights and relationships with drivers and customers. They found a great fit in Trimble Dispatch Advisor. Introduced commercially in April 2020, Paper Transport was an early adopter of the solution and played a key role in its development process leading up to the April launch.
Paper Transport was already using Trimble’s TMW.Suite TMS solution and modules including Asset Maintenance and Data Warehouse, so Trimble Dispatch Advisor was a natural addition for the carrier’s over-the-road load planners, who were already comfortable with the interface.
Trimble Dispatch Advisor reviews all available matches by utilizing a variety of variables, including location, driver Hours of Service (HOS) data, time windows and more, such as the effects of selecting a specific load on future orders. The system then recommends a primary match, along with reasons for the recommendation. Additional matches are also suggested, including an estimated impact to the company should they choose any of the other options rather than the first or primary match. Load planners have the final review and assignment of the match.
“We were excited about Trimble Dispatch Advisor because it’s a different type of solution -- although it optimizes matches, it doesn’t limit the planner from using their own knowledge to make decisions,” Decker says.
Additionally, with loads coming in constantly and drivers’ schedules changing at a moment’s notice, Trimble Dispatch Advisor is able to be run on demand, giving planners the results whenever they need them.
“What made Trimble Dispatch Advisor an attractive solution is that it only took a couple of hours to get set up, and then we were getting results almost instantaneously,” says Peter Covach, director of IT. “Once it’s set up, in a matter of minutes you could have a brand new set of loads and drivers and see results. That flexibility isn’t available in other products we’ve seen on the market.”
Decker and Covach list a variety of benefits to using Trimble Dispatch Advisor, including the ease of use for both experienced and new planners.
“From a training standpoint, it’s very simple to learn, even for someone who may be a little hesitant to use an optimization solution,” Decker says. “Our planners were very open to making the transition to Trimble Dispatch Advisor, since it supports a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to matching, but still allows them to make the split-second decisions they’ve been making in the past.”
Decker and Covach also say that the solution has helped new or backup load planners get up-to-speed more quickly, as Trimble Dispatch Advisor optimizes the process and provides consistently good results each time.
Trimble Dispatch Advisor is also helping to broaden planners’ outlook on new opportunities, such as new locations to send drivers to, as well as other efficiencies and recommendations.
“One of the really exciting things we’re seeing is that planners are opening up to new opportunities they may not have considered in the past – not because they’re making poor planning choices, but because they had never seen it that way. It’s been very helpful in moving that forward,” Decker adds.
Paper Transport reports that Trimble Dispatch Advisor has not only made its planners’ jobs easier; it’s also reduced the number of empty miles its trucks are covering.
“Our biggest win has been lowering our deadhead percentage throughout the fleet. That’s a very expensive item for an over-the-road carrier,” Decker says. “Our planners get excited about seeing a cohesive reduction in that empty mile metric they’re trying to hit.”
After using Trimble Dispatch Advisor for just a few months -- and despite unprecedented market fluctuations due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- Paper Transport says the organization has already been able to reduce empty miles by about 2 percent, and has goals to reduce them even further.
Overall, Covach says Trimble Dispatch Advisor helps Paper Transport maintain its high level of service to drivers and customers while staying profitable.
“Trimble Dispatch Advisor keeps us profitable and allows us to keep our focus on the main pillars of our business – service to drivers and customers.”
“We were looking for an optimized dispatch solution that would work for us long-term. Trimble Dispatch Advisor is very customizable and flexible, and doesn’t hinder our ability to move forward quickly.”
– Julie Decker, organizational development manager, Paper Transport