Logistics providers have one goal in mind: Ensure shipments arrive on time and in one piece. But it’s easier said than done, as growth can often be a double-edged sword.
When demand surpasses the capabilities of a business, growing pains make it difficult to scale operations. This is the case for many carriers as well as shippers and 3PLs with growth in mind.
The juggling act of sourcing, fulfillment and management often distracts logistics providers from the business at hand, as each department requires more attention. Solutions are available to manage each task, but this siloed approach makes cross-platform synchronization nearly impossible and ultimately creates friction between departments.
“There are systems that do those individual things for you, but you still end up putting a lot of effort into moving data from one system to another making sure they’re synchronized,” said Nick Darman, Alvys founder and CEO. “That kind of defeats the entire purpose of using technology because you’re spending more time managing the technology instead of reaping its benefits.”
What the industry needs is a single platform to satisfy all stakeholders, and Alvys has answered the call.
The Denver-based logistics software provider simplifies logistics and transportation workflows, carrier procurement, dispatch, and relationship management, starting at the ground level with small and midsize carriers — the industry’s most overlooked segment.
Alvys offers something beyond the conventional functions of a TMS. Unique among TMS offerings, it focuses on workflow. Its TMS levels the playing field through affordable add-scale technology that integrates a variety of management systems into one intuitive dashboard.
Darman expounded on the platform’s affordability and convenience, noting that Alvys builds its technology around customers’ business.
“Ask an Alvys user what they think about the system and they’ll tend to say that it feels like it’s designed for what they’re doing and to exactly support the workflow they’re engaged in, as opposed to the other way around, where they’ve got to try to fit workflows into the technology,” Darman said.
Igor Balorda, CEO of Colorado-based motor carrier Skyline Transportation, made the switch to Alvys earlier this year and said the platform has provided a breath of fresh air.
“Alvys has really checked all the boxes on our end as far as what we want from a truck management software,” Balorda said.
As a midsized company, Skyline’s 35-truck fleet has experienced rapid growth, which had become a bit too much for its current operating systems to handle. Balorda said that its biggest challenge was data entry and dispatching challenges, conflicting with day-to-day operations. But after joining Alvys, managing trucking’s nitty-gritty tasks became a lot less challenging.
“My team absolutely loves the drag-and-drop feature for rate confirmations,” Balorda said. “Alvys automatically generates an invoice for us and puts in all the pertinent information that the driver needs.” This differs from before, when Skyline spent hours building out loads every day.
Smaller carriers, especially those operating on thin margins, found themselves unable to afford such technology before discovering Alvys. However, carriers are no longer expected to shell out a lot of money for a sophisticated TMS or develop software in-house.
“We promise logistics service providers that we’ll help them move from point A to point B faster, meaning from one phase of the company to another,” said Alvys co-founder and CTO Leo Gorodinski. “It takes a different strategy tool to manage a five-truck operation versus a 20-truck, and Alyvs has the tools in our TMS to incorporate these different phases.”
Poor visibility inevitably leads to frustration. Gorodinski said that communication gaps are common for carriers operating disparate platforms. He explained that a dispatcher snagging a load from a DAT load board at 9 a.m., for example, may go ahead and book a noon pickup for a specific trailer sitting idle at the receiver. The dispatcher is under the impression that the trailer has already been unloaded and is ready for pickup due to the GPS showing inactivity, but unbeknown to the dispatcher, the trailer has yet to be unloaded and will probably miss it’s noon scheduling.
Gorodinski noted that this situation could’ve easily been avoided if the dispatcher and driver had a direct communication channel. The Alvys mobile Driver App allows drivers to provide check-in and checkout updates at every stop. Drivers can also issue comcheck and EFS checks for lumpers and advances, as well as upload bills of lading and proof of deliveries at each load level.
“Imagine if drivers are empowered with a mobile application where they’re obligated to actually register their check-in and checkout time activity?” Gorodinski said. “If the checkout was not yet registered from the mobile application, then the dispatcher would’ve known for sure that the truck had not been unloaded. Therefore, the dispatcher wouldn’t have bothered talking with the broker.”
The Alvys app helps managers keep fleets in shape by sending drivers confirmation requests and schedules instantly without hassle. Skyline has enjoyed its improved communication capabilities, as it found corresponding with drivers through email and text messages to be a tedious task. In fact, Balorda said that the driver app has inadvertently reduced the amount of messages drivers send while in transit, ultimately reducing distracted driving.
Alvys streamlines the accounting process too, through its integration with QuickBooks and other accounting software. Users can automate invoices, upload instantly to a preferred factoring company, manage customer aging reports, and even generate drivers’ pay stubs almost instantaneously.
For instance, a driver traveling an additional 200 miles for truck repairs would understandably want to be paid for the trouble. But if dispatch fumbles the payment request and forgets to tell accounting, all while the driver assumes the payment is being processed, things get heated pretty quickly.
“If that driver was able to report the extra 200 miles on his own, then accounting would only need to check with the dispatcher,” Gorodinski said. “The dispatcher would then confirm, therefore posting that extra 200 miles on his pay stub; the driver is happy, retained, and so on and so forth.”
Alvys’ end-to-end platform saves carriers from the hassle of using multiple software solutions. Gorodinski reasons that carriers benefit from incorporating appointments automatically with shippers and receivers within the TMS, where all parties can stay up to date instead of tediously drafting yet another set of dull spreadsheets.
“I don’t know of any carrier that uses a TMS only; they use a TMS and a bunch of spreadsheets on top of other softwares in order to do their work,” Gorodinski said. “The question is, why do they even have a TMS? Why not incorporate the entire end-to-end workflow, and make the lives of all logistics stakeholders easier?”