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Vol. 8, No. 3

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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Page 36 of 43

I t's been more than nine years since Mike Kelley built a business intelligence (BI) framework for Mesilla Valley Transport, but he still remembers the reasons, or triggers, that led to it. One was the limitations in the reporting capabilities of its transportation management soware (TMS) system. "It didn't store some of the data we wanted," said Kelley, director of information technology for the Las Cruces, N.M.-based carrier. e TMS system showed the last person who touched the data, for instance, but did not show if they had changed a value. Without this audit capability, a customer service representative could have easily changed the delivery date of a load that was late to escape detection. Besides needing better ways to store and audit data, Mesilla Valley Transport (MVT) also needed to gather and correlate information from multiple systems into a single database used for analysis. Nine years later, MVT has a single "data warehouse" and endless possibilities for reporting. It has created real-time, dashboard- style reports that are accessible through a Microso SharePoint webpage and through daily, scheduled emails. As it began to develop this BI platform with Microso products, Kelley learned some early lessons the hard way. One was to not query data directly from its primary TMS database. "It brought our production box to its knees," he said. MVT soon began to run queries against a secondary, replicated AS400 database. "If you bring the (secondary) box to its knees it doesn't slow down the flow of trucks." Another lesson learned is what to measure. During the early stages of BI, Kelley recalls having a customer service manager that was very adamant about on-time deliveries. is focus was causing customer service reps to turn down freight to avoid the possibility of late deliveries. On-time service is a good metric, but "you don't want it to drive your business and choose BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TOOLS DRIVE ACCOUNTABILITY | AUTOMATE WORKFLOW ON-TIME SERVICE IS A GOOD METRIC, BUT YOU DON'T WANT IT TO DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS AND CHOOSE WHAT LOADS TO TAKE. " " BY AARON HUFF what loads to take," he said. "You have to make sure you understand the ramifications of what you are measuring." MVT has advanced its business intelligence in stages. At first, Kelley says the IT department created numerous reports. Next, it developed key performance indicators for specific people according to their responsibilities within the company. e KPIs include metrics for utilization, mpg, driver turnover, out-of- route, on-time service and many more areas. e BI reports are accessed and displayed through a SharePoint web interface and show a variety of KPIs, both on a macro and individual level. Kelley and his six-member BI team have created visual dashboards that give people a quick glance of metrics and a workflow to follow when exceptions occur such as late loads, unassigned drivers, out-of-route drivers and projected late loads. e dashboards have pop-up boxes that show more details behind the KPI when a mouse pointer hovers over a metric. e team also created scorecards for employees, drivers and customers to rank and benchmark performance over time. Currently, the team is focused on integrating the visual presentation of information with workflow. Vo l . 8 , N o . 3 TRUCKSTOP.COM 33

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