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COMPETITION WATCH: SLH Transport activity-based costing and profitability analysis tool with enterprise management software

KINGSTON, Ont. -- SLH Transport has implemented Transportation Costing Groups Truckload Cost Information System.

KINGSTON, Ont. — SLH Transport has implemented Transportation Costing Groups Truckload Cost Information System.

In the past, said Brent Fowler, controller at SLH, we used spreadsheets to track and analyze cost data. When we began looking for a better solution we found it in the TL/CIS software from TCG. For an operation as unique as ours we needed a supplier that was willing and able to provide extreme levels of data vetting support. TCG has done that for us without fail and continues to provide the superb support that we need.

Founded in 1985 as a regional hauler, SLH the company provides a full range of transportation solutions across North America. Based at 15 terminals across Canada, SLH Transports 300 company-owned tractors and 4,000 trailers, as well as 450 owner-operators, offer truckload, logistics, intermodal, LTL and dedicated motor carrier services.

In place at SLH to handle dispatch, operations, accounting, finance, billing and other administrative functions is Innovative Computing Corporations Innovative Enterprise Software (IES). The interface between the IES enterprise management system and the TL/CIS cost analysis solution was co-developed by TCG and Innovative to extract and transfer financial and operating data, and enable carriers like SLH to develop actual cost and profitability information and gain all of the advantages of accurate Profitability Management Tools.

Among the specialized and integrated solutions provided by TCG for SLH include:

Developing a method for identifying billing and location codes. This is important to SLH because the carrier handles a significant amount of shuttle work moving trailers within large retail distribution centers. Data on orders for this type of service can be misleading because there is no mileage recorded, so TCG built special costing logic into TL/CIS that is embedded in the carriers order entry and billing system to identify and accurately analyze costs for those moves.
Providing cost analysis capabilities for intercity, over-the-road and logistics services offered by SLH and requiring separate analysis. With TCGs customization, the carrier uses codes in its dispatch and billing system to identify separate types of hauls or parts of multi-service loads and effectively analyze their unique and individual costs.
Customizing logic around the carriers operations and unique costing needs for multiple-dispatch, specialized over-length and triple trailer services.
Applying an Accessorial Revenue Costing feature that links specific costs directly to the related revenues on individual orders and invoices. To name two examples, this allows the cost of special services in dedicated operations– as well as the cost of detention and demurrage– to be more accurately identified.
Establishing a comprehensive lane look up function that provides for analysis of profitability and costs in regional groups of provinces and state. These Multiple Rollups provide for more detailed analysis than fleet-wide views and are more effective than analyses of lanes and loads within single geographic areas.
Customizing wage and settlement data based on driver activity from the carriers Cancom on-board satellite tracking systems. This data is integrated with the IES system to fully account for and process wages for drivers paid hourly, per trip and per mile.
Enabling unique codes that are used to track wages for non-driving helpers assigned to specific loads and lanes.
Applying a rate table for transferring data between U.S. and Canadian currencies at fluctuating exchange rates.

Our focus is really not any different than that of any other carrier, Fowler said. This is a low margin business in a tight market so we need to be able to fully understand and analyze our costs. Our old analysis tools wont work in this environment. Without a solution like TL/CIS it would be much more difficult to identify opportunities for improvement.

Transportation Costing Group is a provider of a suite of Profitability Management Tools and activity-based costing models to the motor carrier industry. TCG provides models tailored to specific carrier operations.

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