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In the mobile document destruction business, the right software can be the key to integrating route management and business proficiency.

By Mark S. Kuhar

In the mobile document destruction business, fleet management is an area where technology can play a crucial role. We are not that far removed from the days when moving a fleet of trucks around a geographic area was done using a legal pad and pencil, some good city maps, and more than a few calls from a pay phone.

New developments in vehicle logistics offer companies conveniences such as in-vehicle computers, innovative software development and data pulled from satellites. When a fleet of trucks is managed successfully, it saves time, money and creates maximum efficiency.

In the mobile document destruction business, often the right software program can be the difference between running an efficient operation and operating behind the curve. There is a real need for technology solutions to provide the edge that any business needs to be competitive.

Truck tracking, dispatch, GPS systems and integrated programs designed to ticket, invoice, and generate instantaneous data are becoming the norm for savvy businesses.

Going great
According to Steve Edsall, owner of Records Pro, a mobile document destruction business in Indianapolis, the last year has been great, mostly due to the fact that he employed new, multifunctional software technology to help his business and its three busy trucks run smoother. For Edsall, profitability has improved as well. “Our new system has already paid for itself several times over,” he said.

The key is integrated technology. “We could not have asked for more in a technology package,” Edsall said. “The set up was seamless, and the mapping feature that we are using has meant a real improvement. Each ticket also includes a mini-map that can be modified, which makes getting to the next location faster and easier.”

The company providing the software that has elevated Records Pro to the next level is Ontario, Canada-based RouteOptix. According to the company, its software solutions “will streamline your operations, maximize efficiency, and increase profitability. We include and fully integrate all the tools you need to proactively manage all areas of your business.”

“There are many benefits to using a routing and tracking software,” said the company’s Marion Davey. “When choosing a software vendor, it is beneficial to look for a product that is comprehensive to benefit all aspects of your business including customer service, operations and accounting to seamlessly streamline these areas into one application.”

Davey stresses the importance of customer and job-site tracking and a mechanism to record customer-service calls that will assist customer service representatives to organize calls received and respond quickly to them.

“Routing has many challenges,” she said. “A solution that will handle regularly scheduled calls as well as ‘on-call’ or ‘call-ins’ will enable you to handle any routing challenges you may encounter. Mapping technology is readily available with software applications and will assist you to provide a very visual picture of your calls. It is essential to be able to drill down to a detailed level when it comes to revenue tracking and reporting to gain insight into the overall profitability of your business.”

RouteOptix isn’t the only company with a software solution for the mobile document destruction business. Also offering a multi-faceted software product is San Diego-based Soft-Pak. According to the company, software that is powerful and easy to use is “a very good thing.” Soft-Pak has spent more than 25 years developing its products i-Pak and e-Pak specifically for the waste and recycling industries.

“As the document shredding business becomes more competitive, efficiencies in operations are key to growing and managing your business,” said company President Brian Porter. “We have seen all too often where a basic billing package is used and eventually this causes more work, lost productivity and decreased billable revenue. When customer service, tracking, and billing are not tied together; work orders inevitability get lost and billing can be neglected. Having software that ties all these aspects together automatically and is geared for this specific industry allows business owners and operators the flexibility to spend their time growing the business and not worrying about basic business functions.

Customer benefits.
Both RouteOptix and Soft-Pak tout the benefits of their software programs. For RouteOptix, the key is return-on-investment and customer retention.

“RouteOptix offers many benefits to its customers,” Davey said. “In addition to helping companies increase profitability and maximize their vehicle routing efficiency, we offer a solid ROI, enhance customer retention and provide augmented management reporting. One of the cornerstones of the RouteOptix solution is our fully integrated utilization of Microsoft MapPoint technology which allows for an interactive visual interface while setting up customer information, optimizing routes, or dynamically dispatching calls.”

RouteOptix is a unique software vendor in that it services a number of vertical markets and specializes in the challenges of those verticals. “This enables us to provide much flexibility to our customers,” Davey said. “We can provide tools to show where sales density could be increased geographically and the system can also be used for sales prospecting. Many forms and reports are available which are fully customizable related to customer service, routing, billing and accounts receivable.”

Most document destruction companies have multiple lines of business, and Soft-Pak is flexible enough to allow for unique ways to handle these lines of business, according to the company. “An example of this is Rouge Disposal in Medford, Oregon,” Porter said. “They use i-Pak for their waste hauling operations, but they also have two Transfer Stations, a material recovery center, a document destruction fleet and a coffee house all using Soft-Pak. Not too often can you order a mocha from the scale attendee while you are paying for your C&D debris at the Transfer Station. Soft-Pak easily handles all of these transactions.”

Integration issues

The ability to seamlessly integrate a software product into business operations is often a critical determining factor before purchase. Both Soft-Pak and RouteOptix make it an easy transition.

“It depends on the size and scope of the operation, and what features of Soft-Pak they want to use,” Porter explains. “For a smaller operation, we expect a client to convert historical data and be up and running within 30-45 days. For the larger operations with multiple lines of business and more complex reporting structures, it may take 90 days for full training, data conversion and go live from all business segments.”

Soft-Pak has an experienced data-conversion team, field-training team and customer service group that assists with all of its clients’ needs. “We recently had a new customer start with e-Pak, Porter said. “The client had three trucks with two people working in the office. With e-Pak and our cloud computing infrastructure; there is no hardware to buy and the 400 customers they had easily converted. They were routing trucks and did their first billing run inside of two weeks. It was a smooth transition.”

RouteOptix has successfully converted data from many applications over the years so that new customers can avoid the laborious task of lengthy data entry. “Once data is converted into RouteOptix, either on-site or on-line training will begin,” Davey said. “Part of the training process is to discuss with the customer what their goals are and what they want to accomplish to assist them to choose the method for operations that best suits their needs.”

Expansion capabilities

RouteOptix can capably manage the future expansion needs of an individual user or multiple users. “We have the ability to handle a single vehicle up to a large fleet to assist many companies to manage and grow their business,” Davey said. “Integration to third parties (GPS providers, hand-held devices) provides a collaboration of many different technologies which will offer more extensive benefits to companies as they grow. RouteOptix constantly strives to improve and updates with the latest enhancements are often driven by the suggestions of our customers to further improve the quality of our application.”

Porter maintains that Soft-Pak is a very modular software application, allowing clients to use what they need, when they need it, until they need something in addition. “We have many customers that start small (with 3-5 trucks) and eventually grow to 50-plus truck operations,” he said. “As they grow, they add the necessary modules that are needed for their operation.”

Options include modules for transfer stations, MRF, and commodity tracking; hand-held computing; vehicle management; web-based payments and e-billing; and real-time GPS tracking of vehicles.

“These options may not be needed at once, but we often see clients add these features as they grow their operations,” Porter said.

Mark S. Kuhar is a Medina, Ohio-based freelance writer with more than 20 years experience in the construction, materials and mobile-equipment markets.

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