Calhoun Transportation Equips Fleet with Onboard Computing System

Aug. 4, 2004
MINNEAPOLIS -- PeopleNet, the leading provider of onboard computing and mobile communications systems to North American transportation companies, today

MINNEAPOLIS -- PeopleNet, the leading provider of onboard computing and mobile communications systems to North American transportation companies, today announced that Calhoun Transportation Services, a subsidiary of Swift Enterprises Inc. (SEI) in Cleveland, Tenn., has equipped its fleet with PeopleNet's tracking and mobile communications system.

Swift Enterprises, one of the nation's largest privately owned contract carrier fleets, had operated mobile communications in its fleet of 175 units since the company was founded in 1995. But when President and CEO Gregory A. Swift acquired Calhoun in February of this year, he took over a company that had never used any mobile communications technology.

"They never understood the benefit," he said. "But we did. While I hate to spend money, we knew we had to make the investment in technology to start saving time, improving productivity and making money. Check calls and cell phones weren't going to cut it."

Swift's instincts proved right. In the three months following the installation, Calhoun has already seen its cell phone bill, which was running $7,000 per month, reduced by more than half. The technology also allowed him to cancel plans to add an operations person to handle the dispatching for Calhoun's 110 units.

To reach this preferred level of operating efficiency, Swift embarked on an intense regiment of training, education and communication for the Calhoun drivers. He brought over 60 of his veteran operators that were already on the system to train the Calhoun drivers. "They saw first-hand what my guys were doing in terms of mileage and the number of loads a week," he says. "The peer pressure was tremendously important."

In addition, Swift meets regularly with drivers to discuss issues and concerns and encourages them to visit his operations center to learn how to get the most out of the system.

Another advantage of the PeopleNet system that Swift plans to use to increase driver productivity is PerformX, a feature that monitors engine performance while in route. "We govern our trucks at 70 mph and when we see a unit operating faster than that, we bring it right in and adjust it," he says. "Likewise, when the system detects a pattern of overbraking, we send an immediate message to the driver. We let him know that we are paying attention and that he might want to back off or slow down. That gets their attention. We rarely need to address the issue again with that driver."

While Swift chose PeopleNet based on its "cutting edge" technological features, what impressed Swift the most was the support before, during and, most importantly, after the sale. "I appreciate their attitude of trying to solve problems promptly and their flexibility in ensuring the right fit for a company of our size," he said. "We want to do business with other companies that understand trucking and do what they say they're going to do."

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