TMW Adds Dynamic Route Mapping to Trucking Suites
November 19, 2014 Alex Woodie
Trucking companies that rely on TMW Systems software to manage their logistics operations will now able to plan their truck routes with mapping software that’s directly integrated into the dispatching software. The mapping software comes from ALK Technologies, which, like TMW, is owned by geo-services giant Trimble.
Earlier this month, ALK announced the integration of its flagship ALK Maps offering with several TMW products, notably Innovative IES, an IBM i-based dispatching system, as well as TMWSuite, its flagship Windows-based dispatching system.
The integration gives users of these TMW products access to interactive street-level maps with satellite imagery and optional weather overlays, real-time traffic and speed data with enhanced ETAs, and hazardous materials routing functionality, TMW says.
The maps should make it easier for trucking outfits to plan routes and to do on-the-fly re-routing while deliveries are en route. It will also help them to conduct post-trip route analysis for compliance, compare planned versus actual routes, review driver performance, and generate out-of-route mileage reports.
“The common Maps user interface across our products provides a means to visualize and obtain critical fleet and asset information in context with street-level conditions, increase operational efficiencies and improve customer service,” says TMW executive vice president of marketing Scott Vanselous.
Other TMW products gaining access to ALK Maps include: Appian DirectRoute, a Windows-based collection of routing and scheduling optimization software; the DRTrack GPS tracking software product; CarrierHub, a Windows-based private load brokerage portal for freight operators; and a mobile communications offering called D2Link.
TMW’s other IBM i-based dispatching software, TL2000, was not initially listed among the TMW products getting direct access to ALK Maps. However, that was merely an oversight, according to a TMW spokesperson, who confirmed to IT Jungle that the integration between TL2000 and ALK Maps has been completed and is currently available to customers on maintenance.
Some TL2000 customers have opted to hack together their own solution, including the Indiana trucking firm Schilli Transportation. According to a recent article in Fleet Owner magazine, Schilli worked directly with TMW Systems to add ALK Map functionality to the Driver Daily Events (DDE) tool.
The project took about six weeks, and gives Schilli managers immediate access to real-time information about the truck. Based on a truck’s current location and its endpoint, ALK Maps can present the manager with pertinent information about the planned trip, including fuel stops, approved hotels, and future loads. Once a truck is assigned, Fleet Owner says, the manager can hover over the truck icon on the map to get information like location, available hours, speed and ETA. Any changes can be relayed directly to the drivers via Schilli’s satellite-based OmniTracs system.
The shift from manual route planning to integrated mapping via ALK Maps saves Schilli about 15 minutes for each load assigned, or an average of two hours a day for each manager, according to Fleet Owner. “That’s two hours every single day they get to work on hours of service, driver retention issues, and other more important things,” Fleet Owner quotes Schilli vice president of IT solutions Lou Wilkinson as saying. “And that’s not management BS; that’s what the end users are telling us.”
Editor’s Note: This article was corrected. The TL2000 dispatching program does in fact integrate directly with ALK Maps, even though it wasn’t listed as a supported application in TMW’s official announcement. IT Jungle regrets the error.