KANSAS CITY, Missouri (PRWEB) October 24, 2006
Machinery Link, Inc., a seven-year-old company that rents high-capacity harvesting equipment to farmers in more than 30 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, has purchased a Freight Logix transportation management solution from Headwater Technology Solutions Inc., an Accellos Company, to optimize the deployment of its equipment during the seven-month harvest season and to manage its transportation fleet as a common carrier during the off-season. Cutover to Freight Logix is projected for November 1.
According to Vice President-Logistics Jim Bramlett, Machinery Link was founded in 1999 as an online equipment marketplace, with management recognizing early on that a major market existed in the farm equipment rental business. Changing to its current business model in 2001, the company began with eight combines and since has assembled an inventory of more than 250 combines, tractors and cotton strippers.
Machinery Link has a private company fleet of 10 tractors and 14 trailers, most of them double drop-deck, removable gooseneck units. The company supplements the fleet at peak times with up to 50 or more tractors and trailers with contract carriers. Until now, it has managed the combined fleet using the rudimentary dispatch function of its internally developed web-based information management system (IMS).
"Managing the fleet has been a challenge, so we looked for a TMS solution that would integrate smoothly with our IMS and also provide a more comprehensive set of information services and reports," Bramlett said. "We found that Freight Logix has all of the capabilities that we need and that it would work easily and seamlessly with our information system."
Freight Logix integrates all of the activities associated with transportation and freight management, from order entry through dispatch, rating to invoicing, driver and carrier settlement, and finance. It combines Less-Than-Truckload, Truckload, Pickup & Delivery (P&D) and Cartage functionality for Asset, Non-Asset and Logistics operations in a single solution. The system operates under Microsoft Windows with an SQL database. It also integrates with Machinery Link's Solomon accounting package for accounts receivable and accounts payable.
"The reality for farmers is that a combine costs upwards of $200,000, plus insurance, upkeep and repairs," he said. "The machine is used for four-to-eight weeks and it sits idle the rest of the time. In our model, we optimize deployment of the equipment so that we can get the most days and hours of use out of each unit. That means knowing exactly where every unit is, when it will be available, and being able to dispatch the closest unit when a farmer is ready to harvest."
Because the IMS is web-based, it easily accessible by field sales people who are in constant contact with farmer clients, and the software's web environment allows the company to respond quickly. Hot and dry weather conditions might push a certain client's harvest window forward by as much as a month, for example, requiring that a combine be on-site much sooner than planned. In the new scenario, new information is fed continuously into the IMS via browser input and on into Freight Logix, which determines the location and availability of the closest combine and dispatches it, enabling adjustment on-the-fly.
Along with better scheduling, expedited communication with customers and carriers, and more effective equipment utilization, Freight Logix also enables enhanced financial management practices, service performance and streamlined contracts, Bramlett said.
"Until now, we have paid our contract carriers on a basis of odometer mileage," he said. "With Freight Logix, we will be able to pay on computer-generated route mileage. This will lead to more disciplined pickup and delivery as well as tighter control over cash flow. The software similarly supports our off-season common carrier activities and even permits us to act as a transportation broker if customer demand requires it."
In order to perform the delicate scheduling dance that the tenuous nature of the agricultural harvest entails, tight integration between the back office software system and the transportation management system was critical, Bramlett said.
"With Freight Logix," he said, "it has been quick, simple and seamless."
About Machinery Link, Inc.
MachineryLink, Inc., based in Kansas City, Mo., is the leading provider of equipment leasing programs to agricultural producers and dealers in North America. The company offers the latest farm equipment technology to be utilized by a rapidly growing network of dealers and farmers in more than 31 states. For more information on asset management and leasing programs for combines and tractors, call 888-272-3323 or visit http://www.machinerylink.com.
About Headwater Technology Solutions
Headwater Technology Solutions Inc, an Accellos Company, is a global Supply Chain Execution (SCE) company focused on the 3PL WMS, TMS and LLP markets, supporting the flow of goods and information from the point of origin to consumption. Headwater's SmartEnterprise 3PL/LLP/corporate logistics, Freight Logix TMS transportation and RealDispatch field in-fleet management solutions enable seamless supply chain planning and execution that leads to smarter and more profitable management of goods as they move through the supply chain. Headwater maintains corporate headquarters in the Toronto suburb of Markham with regional offices in Oakville and Atlanta, marketing its services and solutions internationally. For information visit http://www.headwaterinc.com.
905 695 9999