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DADE Capital Corp.

December 2007

Equipment Spotlight
Fleet Management Software
Rubber Shredder Manufacturers

Trucks and drivers represent the largest costs for many recyclable materials collectors and solid waste fleets. Fleet management software is a high-tech tool for keeping track of where trucks and drivers are, how long it takes them to conduct stops or complete routes, and a host of other information that is invaluable for managing cost-effective businesses.

Pat Fahey, owner of Pacifica Systems in Grants Pass, Oregon, says most of the customers for the company’s Accu-Trax fleet management software are refuse and recycling companies. The software tracks location and activities of trucks, manages maintenance records and performs many other activities. For instance, Fahey says, “These companies typically have computers on board that record the location every 15 seconds. You can actually drill down and find out where a particular vehicle is on any given day.”

Customers use global positioning systems (GPS) to track where drivers stop and how long they stay. “We’ve actually had it save us litigation when somebody says a driver backed into their car at 6:30 a.m. and you can go to a GPS log and find out that at 6:30 in the morning he was 12 miles away,” says Fahey, who uses Accu-Trax on his own hauling fleet.

Pacific sells complete on-board systems including software as well as computers, cameras, wireless communication systems, RFID readers and other hardware. One of the reasons for the product’s popularity is the greater paperwork required of drivers due to increased automation of collections. “Where the driver used to pick up 200 stops, now they’re picking up 800 to 1,000 and the administrative burden is greater,” Fahey says. “By having the computer on board, he can do one download to have all the stops for the day.” Software allows drivers to easily view instructions for particular stops, finish another driver’s route that wasn’t completed due to equipment breakdown and otherwise easily manage an increasingly complex task.

Ron Turley & Associates, Inc. in Phoenix is a long-established player in fleet management software. “We’ll have our eighteenth annual user conference this year,” says vice president Richard Goodrich. For software, that’s sort of like dog years.” While other fleet management packages handle routing and related matters, RTA Fleet Management Software focuses on maintenance. “It’s keeping track of all the associated parts of fleet maintenance,” says Goodrich.

“You can get cost per mile or miles per gallon or whatever the effective measurement is on that particular vehicle.”

One of the features Goodrich’s company emphasizes is flexibility. “We have a product that’s easy to use and has a lot of features they can choose from,” he says. “You can streamline if you want. If your data needs are more robust, you can turn on more features and it will ask more questions about the maintenance. So, it can work for a small and simple fleet or a large and complex fleet.”

A new interface simplifies use of RTA’s software. “With one button, users can turn it on and use the software,” says Goodrich. “We’ve also added quick-launch buttons that take users to areas of the software where they spend most of their time.”

Goodrich says customers today are interested in having software interface with products from other companies. “A lot of our customers in the past would buy the software and use it as a stand-alone,” he says. “The system didn’t really have to communicate with accounting or the rest of the enterprise. But in the last couple of years, we’ve had a huge increase in the number of requests for our products to communicate with other software packages such as accounting or bidding software.”

Other developments include a growing demand for GPS information and a trend toward big users aggregating data from many locations onto one computer. “We’re doing a couple of things with large recyclers that are setting up single servers with hundreds of sites,” Goodrich says. “They’re pooling information so they can draw on it from a corporate level and have it all on one service.”

TRUX Route Management Systems, Inc.

Allen Ische, President of TRUX Route Management Systems, Inc. in Cambridge, Ontario, sells two fleet maintenance products. TRUX 7 Haul-IT helps route scheduled services, dispatch on-call services and also manage billing, accounting and operations reporting. The company’s TRUX 7 Weigh-IT attaches to a stationary scale’s indicator to produce scale tickets for incoming and outgoing loads. It can function as a stand-alone for facility operators or in conjunction with Haul-IT for companies with both collection and facility operations. Weigh-IT also manages billing and accounts receivable, and provides a financial and facility reporting suite.

TRUX 7 was written using Microsoft’s C# programming language, .Net Framework and SQL database management. “This technology enables the industry-specific functionality of TRUX 7 to interact with much of the broadly used functionality of other Microsoft products,” Ische says.

TRUX customers range from small independents to some of the largest publicly traded companies in the industry. “Meeting Sarbanes-Oxley audit standards for publicly traded companies has made sophisticated user security and event logging a critical requirement,” Ische says. Ische, who has been selling fleet management software since 1989, forecasts solid growth in the company’s core business. “Increased awareness and concern for the environment simply increases the recycling element,” he says. “We will continue to enhance our product offering for the service providers in this industry.”