Agility is the Key to Success in Precarious Times

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing trucking companies across the industry to adjust to a rapidly changing landscape. The ability to react quickly and effectively to change will always be essential for business success, and technology plays a vital role. In the trucking industry, technology works in many different ways to empower companies to be agile and adaptable to change. It facilitates communication to allow the efficient exchange of information, it automates manual tasks to streamline business processes, and it enables data analysis to provide critical business intelligence. To see how this can play out, read how Decker Truck Line has used technology to face the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Case Study: Decker Truck Line

Based in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Decker Truck Line runs over 800 trucks nationwide and has both a flatbed division and a refrigerated division, plus a logistics team. “We’ve realized that the more we use McLeod, the more we get out of McLeod and the more it helps us adjust to change,” says Tiffany Giekes, Vice President of Business Process and Technology for Decker. “You have to spend time learning to use a tool, but the ROI is there. You get a payback for investing the time and energy.”

We allowed staff to work remotely

“At Decker, we have around 140 office staff. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we decided early on that we would allow people to work remotely. We’re based in Iowa, which didn’t issue a stay-at-home order, so people could work at the office, if they chose. We started observing social distancing guidelines at the office, so that people felt safe. One of the requirements for working from home is a strong Internet connection. We wanted family members to be able to stream movies, attend virtual classes, or play video games at the same time that someone was using the Internet for business purposes. Some employees really didn’t feel safe coming to work, so they started working from home. All in all, about one third of our staff started working remotely.”

Staff productivity has been good

“Our productivity is so good that we don’t expect to make any changes right away in terms of bringing people back to the office. Given the rural nature of Iowa, many of our employees had been commuting a fair distance to get to work. So commute times which were thirty minutes or even an hour have gone to the time it takes to walk from your kitchen to your desk at home. People can have more time with family members and less time spent driving. Lunch is easy and less expensive. In many ways, the quality of life has improved for these people.”

Technology has enabled communication

“If you visited our office before the pandemic, you’d see that we’re a noisy group. We tend to talk a lot to each other during the work day. ‘Hey, what’s this driver doing?’ ‘What does the shipper need?’ We’re always talking because trucking is a fluid situation. This is more true than ever now. Things are changing on a dime and you’ve got to react. So once we started working remotely, we had to find a way to establish solid lines of communication. Part of that was accomplished through Microsoft Teams, which has a chat channel. Another important tool is LoadMaster. Anyone working in LoadMaster can see what is going on with the fleet or customer, so updates from drivers concerning ETAs or changes to a shipment are visible to all. The fact that the McLeod system keeps data up to date in real time is wonderful. Everyone can know what’s going on with that driver and that customer load at all times. You’re no longer in the same room with each other, but you’re still exchanging information easily.”

We depend heavily on mobile communications and EDI

“Before the pandemic hit, we were already using mobile communications to communicate with our drivers and EDI to communicate with our customers. About 80% of our orders come through EDI. Without those two pieces of technology it would be so much harder to work remotely. The ability to communicate was already there, and we already knew how to use it. LoadMaster integrates with both of these tools, so the communication is seamless. If drivers can’t reach you, they can send messages that show up in LoadMaster. It’s almost like texting.”

The shift change for managers is smoother

“Working remotely, managers log in and log out with each shift change. We have always had a handoff with a shift change, but in the office much of it was verbal. You would walk over to someone’s cubicle and go over everything that was going on that they would need to know about as they began their shift. Now it’s all digital and it’s actually easier, because you have a running track of information. There’s a digital trail of breadcrumbs. You send a message saying that you’re ending your shift and you show them what is going on. The oncoming managers can look at it and see if they have any questions. Everyone can manage better now.”

Our automated business processes continue without interruption

“McLeod’s FlowLogix tools have been helping us streamline our business processes for some time. Now that we’re working remotely, that hasn’t changed and it’s been easy to keep that component of our work going. Drivers can scan paperwork and transmit it electronically. This speeds up our billing process and drivers don’t have to come into the office to hand deliver paper documents.”

McLeod’s Pricing module has transformed our bidding process

“Although we’ve had McLeod’s Pricing module for a while, we had not taken the time to learn how to use it. We decided this would be a good time to double down on our technology and make sure we could use it to its fullest capabilities. So we set up a training session with McLeod at the beginning of the pandemic. That was a crucial move on our part. We are now using the Pricing module to handle all of our customer bids, which are the mainstay of our business. Also, customers are rebidding or adding new lanes all the time right now. We’re doing all of this through the Pricing module, while before we were doing it in a much more manual way with lots of paper and meetings. The Pricing module allows you to handle the high volume of lanes and to be intelligent about it too by bringing in Market Insight data. It also makes communication easier. Other people can see which bids you’re working on. It has that visibility, because it’s all in the McLeod user environment. You don’t have multiple versions of spreadsheets floating around with different rates on them. The Pricing module allows you to make real-time adjustments and people can see it as they’re working through it remotely. You can open up the Pricing module and look at whatever anyone has done on a bid and make changes in real time as needed. Once amounts have been finalized, we can submit the bid.”

McLeod Anywhere gives us flexibility and mobility

“Before the pandemic, the main people using the McLeod Anywhere app were our maintenance crew. They used it quite a bit, because they’re out in the yard and they want to know whose truck that is, whose trailer that is, what load is on that trailer, and such. Now, even though most of our work is done remotely on our computers, we do use the app when we’re away from our desks. It gives us another way to be productive and it’s very convenient.”

We used McLeod IQ business intelligence to adjust to a shift in freight

“Our COO wanted to be able to track the change in fluidity between our spot market business and our contract business. He wanted visibility into what our customers were doing and how our freight network was changing daily. We were able to build an IQ dashboard very quickly. We just toggled one field and we were off to the races. Being a data-driven company before the pandemic hit allowed us to see the bigger picture once it did hit. One of the best ways to be prepared for challenges in the future is to have a clear picture of how your business is functioning now. McLeod IQ gives us that.”

Give people the right tools and they’ll surprise you

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were nervous. People started working remotely, but we didn’t know what was going to happen next. Was business going to fall apart? But if you give your people the right tools and you set them up to be successful, they’re going to surprise you. They’re going to keep doing what they’re doing every day. They’re going to keep trucking, and in our case, they’re getting even better. Our staff is producing more than they ever have before, and this is happening because we are using technology to be more in tune with our business. We know we have to respond to the challenges and we’ve become more focused on doing exactly that.”

We were forced to reinvent ourselves

“The pressures we feel in this difficult time are forcing us to look at the way we run our business. Working remotely has helped us find ways to simplify our business processes, because we know we have to be really efficient and effective now. We don’t have the luxury of working together in the office and turning around to exchange information with someone sitting at the next desk. We may never go back to that work environment again. We have to make sure that what we’re doing is straightforward and simple and gets the job done. This is both exciting and challenging, because we have to work at these problems from a whole different perspective now.”


McLeod Is Ready to Help You Become More Agile

No one can predict when the industry will be forced to shift gears again, or how extreme the changes will be. The key to success in the face of change is agility. You need to be able to make adjustments quickly, and technology is essential for achieving that goal. McLeod Software is ready to partner with you as you navigate the changing landscape. Our tools will help you maneuver in response to events, communicate internally and externally, automate business processes, and gain business intelligence. With the right tools in hand, change becomes another opportunity for growth and success.


Our staff is producing more than they ever have before, and this is happening because we are using technology to be more in tune with our business.” – Tiffany Giekes, Vice President of Business Process and Technology, Decker Truck Line



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