RFX Blog

Service On-the-Go: How mobile technology changed the way we do business.

April 27th, 2014

Image Source: Creative Commons Flickr/johnno_oz

Image Source: Creative Commons Flickr/johnno_oz

First, let me begin by saying that RFX Global recognizes that this not a new concept, but simply one company’s take on how that gadget in your pocket has changed our operation and the way we service our customers.

A brief background – Five years ago, I came to RFX with a temporary assignment: Scan every motor carrier contract that had been piling up over weeks of carrier onboarding, collect my paycheck from the temp agency and move on to the next gig. That was supposed to be a two-day project, but RFX asked me to stay. Today, there would be no use for such a project. There is no paper. The contracts are sent into imaging the moment they hit our servers. That is because everything we do at RFX, whether it is carrier relations, operations, accounting or even the maintenance of our fleet has had some type of technological advancement in the last five years that makes our lives so much easier, allows us to run more efficiently with less overhead, which translates to better overall service to our customers. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about, right?

The latest of these technological advancements is our adoption of the cloud and mobile technology.

Last year, after making the leap to the cloud, we started discussing how we could take advantage of mobile technology. After all, RFX is an organization that is always moving – literally. Under the RFX roof, we have a fleet of trucks, a sales staff that is always traveling to visit customers and attend conferences, and a network of independent freight agents working out of their own homes and offices. We needed a way to connect all of those people and eliminate the need for an office and all of the things that come with that – furniture, desktop computers, printers, scanners, sophisticated phone systems and the dreaded fax machine. (Full disclosure – RFX does still have a few fax machines hanging around our Massachusetts headquarters, but they are collecting dust, and once they break, they are not getting replaced. Why, in 2014, is the transportation industry still so dependent on fax machines? )

Following our discussions about taking advantage of mobile technology, we sent out a survey to everyone in our organization with a couple of simple questions:

  1. Would you benefit from a mobile application for your smartphone or tablet device that would allow you the opportunity to move freight while away from the office?
  2. How often would you use a tool such as this?

The results of the survey were overwhelmingly positive. Some of the responses we received were:

  • “Would be the best purchase ever made”
  • “Let’s do it! Looks like what I’ve been wanting when I get orders and have my phone but not my computer handy.”
  • “It would be great for emergency trips, sales calls, and any traveling…. I am forever having to run home or back to my truck for my laptop”

With that, RFX took the plunge into mobile technology. We partnered with McLeod Software as they developed their new mobile app. We have been watching the development of their application over the last 3 or 4 years. As features of this application have grown stronger, we’ve become more interested and decided that now was the time to purchase. The app is free for our users through the app store on iPhone or iPad or through the Google Play store on Android smartphones and tablets. With the app, we are able to accept EDI load tenders, dispatch trucks, look up customer, shipper or driver contact information and make phone calls directly from the app. We can set rates, and even receive rapid alert push notifications the instant another user updates key information about an order.

Basically, anything related to RFX Global operations can be done from a smartphone, in the cloud, from anywhere in the world, at any time.

We did not stop there.

I mentioned before that the reason I began my career with RFX was because we needed someone to scan the piles of paper contracts that had been piling up. This is also the case for our billing department, who handles thousands paper documents every week – Bills of Lading, lumper receipts, scale tickets, gate stamps, etc. We needed a way to eliminate the paper, before it came through the door. Our solution was to partner with Pegasus Transtech on their Transflo Mobile product. Drivers are scanning documents from their phone directly into our imaging system where they are categorized. This triggers an automated process that notifies our billers that the documents for that particular load are in-house and the billing and settlement process can now begin.

What impact has mobile technology had on the way we do business?

Customers are receiving information faster. RFX Global is becoming more transparent in the supply chain, allowing our customers to see what we see in a matter of minutes, not days.

Sales and operations staff are able to solve problems in-transit by having access to real-time data and contact information in the palm of their hand.

Drivers can easily produce high-quality documentation in minutes, speeding up the payment turnover process and allowing our operations and administrative staff to serve our customers more efficiently.

Administrative staff can potentially complete the billing and settlement processes minutes after the order delivers, so drivers can have the money in their accounts the very next day and shippers don’t have to wait weeks to see bills of lading .

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what mobile technology can do for our industry. RFX Global has always taken pride in being early adopters in technology. We feel it gives us the very best opportunities to grow our business, assist our staff and service our customers.

-Kevin Wallack, CTB
Claims, Maintenance & Technology Manager
RFX Global Companies

Posted on April 27th, 2014 in Freight Agent Broker, Freight Logistics, Intermodal Logistics, RFX, Smartphone, Technology