Company | Case Studies
Cottage Grove, MN
American Logistics Services (ALS) runs 110 power units and over 200 trailers across the midwest and central states as one of the largest animal feed suppliers. And that’s no small task. The company spans across nine locations. Distribution centers in Minnesota and Texas. And it has hubs in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas. Terry Maynard is the Director of Transportation at ALS. He’s responsible for transportation logistics, operational excellence, and profitability.
With over 300 moving assets across multiple locations, ALS has a lot to keep track of. Before switching to Motive, formerly KeepTruckin, Maynard’s team was using more than one platform to track equipment. As you can imagine, toggling between different applications can be cumbersome and time-consuming — essentially stunting the efficiency of the team. Maynard had to check multiple systems to make sure the right driver was assigned and pulling the right trailer — and headed in the right direction. Maynard set out to get rid of this operational headache.
After researching various options, Maynard discovered that Motive had an integrated trailer tracking solution — the Asset Gateway — that could be solar-powered or cable-powered for extremely easy installations. And with GPS locations immediately shown on Motive’s live map Fleet View, Maynard was officially ready to make the switch.
He quickly decided to deploy this new system for the ALS fleet — installing over 200 trailer trackers and 110 Vehicle Gateways in just 22 days with the expertise of the ALS maintenance team and the Motive onboarding project management team. It was a major initiative that was turned around in a short period of time. Motive takes a comprehensive approach to help customers succeed from onboarding to installation, training, and continued learning.
With Motive now installed, Maynard’s team could use a single tool to track all their vehicles and trailers — saving hours and reducing the dependence (and costs) of multiple systems.
“Idle equipment is the silent killer,” insists Maynard. “You pay tens of thousands of dollars per trailer, but they are just sitting underutilized, and not generating revenue.” This is common for large carriers. With so many assets, a couple of trailers here and there could easily fly under the radar, unused for months at a time. Worse, they could be misplaced or get stolen. Even further, carriers in the transportation industry get stuck at facilities for hours and that’s money lost that could be easily billed.
When Maynard began using Motive’s dormancy reports and geofences, he was amazed at the visibility. “I can see exactly how long our trailers have been dormant, and know exactly when they are moved to ensure we have a high percentage of equipment utilization.”
This increased visibility allows ALS to do two things:
First, the team can easily identify dormant equipment — including both trailers and tractors. With this info, Maynard can reallocate underutilized equipment, and avoid renting trailers when he has some available. With that information, ALS is able to more efficiently allocate equipment, creating a better balance of equipment inventory. “Since we have installed the units in a short period of time, I’ve seen utilization go up 20%. I rely on dwell reports. Our previous provider had very cumbersome reporting abilities and I wasn’t too happy with their GPS location intervals. Motive’s reporting is simple to understand, easy to set up, and actually provides real-time updates.”
Second, he receives alerts when trailers are moved with or without operational permission. “We often leave trailers at third-party yards and they shouldn’t be moved, but sometimes there is unauthorized use. With geofence reports and alerts, I get a notification when a trailer is moved,” continues Maynard. “It’s also nice to be able to instantly see when a trailer arrives back at the yard or is en route.”
As previously mentioned, ALS handles distribution, truckload, and LTL. This means a lot of separate software and a ton of data that needs to be synthesized into the company’s main TMS.
Motive has industry-leading integrations with TMS providers. ALS is building a customized platform that will integrate all of its software into its main TMS, and the integration with Motive is the first piece of this project. Location data from Motive allows them to see who’s driving, what they’re hauling, and where they’re going. This integration will reduce the number of services and subscriptions ALS is currently using — cutting costs and simplifying operational workflows. More efficient operations means higher margins for ALS.
“I rarely put anything on a soapbox, but I didn’t know anything about Motive when I first joined ALS and, over my last 30 years in this industry, it’s the easiest and most flexible application that I’ve worked with,” says Maynard. “Partnering with Motive keeps us operating our business profitably, supports growth, and keeps us always one step ahead of the needs of our customers.”
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