Hot new tech served on ICE
DALLAS, Tex. – Innovative Computing Corporation (ICC) may not be an everyday name in Canada just yet. But the company is going to great lengths to ensure Canadian fleets will be able to implement its software and tap into its resources.
At this year’s Innovative Conference and Exhibition (ICE), the company’s president and chief executive officer, Ernest Betancourt made it clear ICC is spreading its wings.
In discussing the much-anticipated R8 release, due out this summer, Betancourt says, “We will have a solution for Mexico and we will have multi-currency for our Canadian customers. We are committed to making that work for them.”
That comes as good news to Innovative’s Canadian customers, who have complained in the past of currency complications.
Jim Hulsey, national account manager with ICC, says the company is eager to make its services more readily available to Canadian customers.
“In the past, Canada hasn’t been a priority, but we’re making it more of a priority,” says Hulsey, noting there are currently about 50 Canadian fleets using Innovative’s software.
ICC’s software solutions cover just about everything needed to effectively run a trucking operation – from dispatch software, to load-finding programs and fuel surcharge calculators.
One of the most recent additions to the package is the LoadCentral program, enabling Innovative’s customers to find loads anywhere in North America. The service is only available to ICC customers, and Hulsey likens it to a private gentlemen’s club.
“There are no phone calls, no haggling … We will look for loads that fit your criteria and it will only take seconds,” says Hulsey.
ICC customers can enter their profile into the database, and when they find themselves without a back-haul, the program will attempt to find them a load. The detailed database enables customers to indicate just how far they’re willing to drive for a load, and what direction they hope to take it.
A US$7 charge will be applied to the shipper and the fleet that accepts the load, only after the deal is agreed upon.
With today’s competitive business environment, LoadCentral ensures fleets have the ability to only do business with the fleets they choose.
“If your biggest competitor pops up on that screen, you’re not necessarily going to want to share loads with him,” says Hulsey. “There’s a big confidence factor here because I don’t want to share my loads with someone I don’t have confidence in.”
The LoadCentral software will be free of charge, however it will only be provided to Innovative customers who have its Logistics Management program in place.
Another enhancement to the upcoming R8 package is the Fuel Surcharge module that allows fleets to easily manage their surcharges.
“It’s an enhancement to what we currently have, which calculates your fuel surcharges and automatically creates a line of billing,” explains product analyst, Alex Mandewo.
The system is designed to make fuel surcharge calculations simpler, and reduce disputes with shippers.
“Once everything is agreed on, there will be minimal disputes in billing and that obviously improves your cash flow,” says Mandewo. Another new feature of the product is the ability to calculate and issue credits, when the shipper paid more than necessary in fuel surcharges.
One satisfied customer says his fleet was able to charge an additional $1 million in fuel surcharges, thanks to the previous version of the program. The latest module will be a standard part of R8, or available as an add-on for R7 users.
ICC customers who have been asking for a trailer-tracking program will be pleased to know that ICC has the framework in place for such a system. There’s a catch, however, as the company has yet to ink a deal allowing it to interface with any vendor’s tracking programs.
“Right now we’re looking for a vendor to test with,” says Lanie James, product analyst.
Since it is still in the primary stages of development, James called on customers to provide input into its development.
The latest release of Innovative’s maintenance software was also highlighted at the event. U7 is a comprehensive fleet maintenance system that helps track equipment through each phase of its life cycle. The product began as Fleet Assist, but ICC purchased the program from Freightliner and is working on enhancing it.
“Now that ICC has sole control of this product, we’ll be able to do some things with the product we weren’t able to do before and make it more flexible and user-friendly,” says James.
An updated version of Innovative’s Trip Decision Table will also be making its debut in R8.
The program allows fleet managers to pay their drivers on a load-by-load basis, altering rates to reflect factors such as origin, destination, equipment type or commodity code.
ICC charges fleets a monthly software maintenance fee for its services, which varies depending on the size of the fleet. Once a customer is signed on, upgrades to the latest enhancements are free of charge.
This year’s ICE convention was the company’s first in 18 months, but next year’s conference is already slated to take place in Nashville next April.
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