Classic Software and System i Power World’s Largest Truck Stop
November 4, 2008 Alex Woodie
It’s common knowledge within the AS/400 community that the trucking industry is one of the platform’s most loyal strongholds. What may be less well-known is that the IBM midrange server also plays a pivotal role along the truck stops and service stations dotting this nation’s highways. In fact, System i servers and applications from Classic Software help to run the world’s largest truck stop: The Iowa 80 Group’s station in Walcott, Iowa.
The Iowa 80 Group traces its roots back to early 1960s, before Interstate 80 was even completed. At the time, the company, which is owned by the Moon family, managed various truck stops for Amoco and Standard Oil, including what has become the world’s biggest truck stop in Walcott. Eventually, the company bought the truck stops outright, and today it owns and operates 13 locations offering fuel, food, and services from Oklahoma to Virginia.
In the 1970s, the Iowa 80 Group brought in Classic Software, an IBM business partner in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Classic worked closely with IBM to implement all aspects of the company’s information systems, including ERP, point of sale (POS), payroll, and other applications. Of course, this software was based on IBM’s bullet-proof midrange server–the S/3X in the early days, the AS/400 in the 1980s and 1990s, and the iSeries, i5, System i, and the i-based Power Systems of today.
Today, the combination of Classic’s Truckstop Management System (TMS) and the Power System server (running i5/OS) manage many aspects of the Iowa 80 Group’s business. This includes processing millions of transactions originating from more than 1,200 point of sale (POS) terminals; connecting with banks, customers, and government entities; and cutting checks to truckstop employees, among others. The company also utilizes IBM’s WebSphere and Domino technologies, and hosts its Web site on AS/400 iron, too.
Over the years, TMS and AS/400 technology have enabled the Iowa 80 Group to keep costs low while management concentrates on things that add more value to their business, such as taking care of the truckers who patronize their facilities.
“We are experts on trucking business and by collaborating with the innovators in other fields, like the technology industry, we have been able to provide quality products and exceptional services at a fair price,” states Carolyn Moon, president of Iowa 80 Group, in a press release published by IBM two weeks ago. This has “allowed us to focus on customer satisfaction instead of computer issues.”