Victoria Condratiuc sips her coffee as she catches up on emails to start her Tuesday morning. As operations manager at TVA Logistics, she’s gearing up for another busy day.
Overseeing 120 trucks and refrigerated trailers, Condratiuc knows that her dispatchers have a lot on their hands. TVA has 19 dispatchers that, on average, each dispatch six trucks per day across a cold chain that stretches from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.
Nonetheless, Condratiuc is confident that her team will dispatch each load within 30 seconds to a minute, getting TVA’s entire fleet out on the road in just 114 minutes before the sun fully rises.
But it wasn’t that long ago that TVA took roughly 30 minutes to dispatch each load, totaling 3,420 minutes to dispatch its fleet daily. So what changed?
TVA saw its dispatching process improve almost immediately after implementing Alvys, the carrier operating system that’s redefining TMS technology as it simplifies dispatching, logistics and transportation workflows, carrier procurement and relationship management.
“Alvys’ Dispatch Planner is great because it shows our dispatchers all the necessary items they have to check off each morning or afternoon before switching shifts,” Condratiuc said. “It’s truly made for carriers as Alvys thought of all the things we’d need.”
Before Alvys, Condratiuc explained how a TVA dispatcher would begin each morning by providing load information to its drivers. Through either a phone call or text messaging, the dispatcher would then ask for the drivers’ current location, the in and out times at their origins and destinations, as well as the temperature of the trailers.
Simple enough, right? Not exactly. Playing phone tag would often turn into a game of telephone, as drivers would mishear the dispatcher and vice versa, leading to discrepancies.
Condratiuc admitted that TVA’s exclusive use of phones for communication and for data collection was problematic to say the least. She said that a lot of times dispatchers would call to no avail, as the driver would be asleep, by which the dispatcher would have to call again and again. Sometimes the driver would pick up, irritated by being awakened by the phone call.
Condratiuc said this incredibly stressful process would take at best 10 minutes per shipment in addition to another 20 minutes to enter the load entry into TVA’s accounting system, considering there were no glitches, by which they’d have to start over.
But things have never been easier for TVA since switching to Alvys.
The dispatchers still start their day as usual — checking in with the drivers to receive their locations, in and out times at the origin and destination facilities, bill of lading information, and also check the trailers’ temperatures and ensure they have been properly sealed.
But this is conducted entirely through Alvys’ end-to-end platform, connecting dispatchers and drivers in real time through its Dispatch Planner and Driver Application mobile app.
Using the Dispatch Planner, the TVA dispatcher can see which trucks need to be loaded and subsequently source a new load for their return trip.
Once a load is sourced, the dispatcher then enters it as a new shipment with its rate confirmation and load details attached.
Such things as the required trailer temperature, PO numbers that the driver might need, what type of product they’ll be hauling, the quantity and other details is then automatically sent to the Driver Application.
Equipped with geofencing capabilities through its integration with IoT provider Samsara, Alvys can create and monitor virtual geographical boundaries for its drivers. This helps keep them from deviating from their intended routes.
This eliminates the need for make-or-break phone calls, much to the delight of TVA’s dispatchers — and its drivers if they’re asleep.
“Once we assign a load to the driver, all of the instructions are available on the Alvys App so they can simply click on their load and confirm the instructions with ease,” Condratiuc said. “Alvys allows each driver to see their portion of the load — its origin and destination, trailer number, trailer temperature and the product — which helps our dispatchers not waste time on the phone or write emails as everything is already set up once the information is inputted.”
She added that Alvys has helped TVA identify where it can better utilize its equipment. In fact, TVA began keeping some drivers local for pickups while having its long-haul drivers partake in split trips and trailer interchanges.
“The beauty of Alvys is that our dispatchers can assign each driver their portion of the shipment split, as well as pay them specifically for what they moved,” Condratiuc said. “So it’s a very simple all-in-one system to manage the complexities that normally exist with each shipment, which saves us a ton of time.”
Condratiuc said Alvys has also been effective in managing TVA’s safety and maintenance workflows.
“Alvys’ Safety and Dispatch module allows us to seamlessly communicate at the same time with information across dispatchers more effectively than what we did before,” Condratiuc said. “We now have a cross-functional platform that our team can see what we allow them to see and give them access to work with other departments, so we have a cohesive workflow for everyone.”
Condratiuc added that its fleet also uses Alvys to set preset reminders for maintenance services, inspections or when to take a specific piece of equipment in for repair.
Though still operating at all hours of the day and through the night, TVA’s dispatchers would tell you that their days feel a lot shorter since implementing Alvys. In fact, the carrier has reduced dispatching time by 97%.
So as Condratiuc and TVA dispatchers near the end of their shifts, the team will leave input notes into Alvys for their after-hours dispatch team to keep them updated on the trucks preparing to load or unload later that day. “The after-hours team can pick right up from where our daytime dispatchers left off for a seamless transition with little error,” she said, which is something that TVA couldn’t claim before it switched to Alvys.