COMPANY:

Fikes Truck Line, Inc.
Hope, AR

OPERATION:

Flatbed, general commodities carrier Jerry Davis, vice president of safety and insurance

Problem:

Fikes Truck Line is a 48-state flatbed operation that hauls all general commodities — steel, lumber and building materials. According to Jerry Davis, vp-safety and insurance, the 100% owner-operator fleet stays consistently busy. “I joined the company as an independent contractor in 1981 and accepted this job in 1986,” he says. “We are always busy, and that includes during the recent downturn.”

Today, the company has about 450 independent operators under contract. Until February of 2004, driver logbook scanning for all contractors was handled in house.

“Our contractors would all send their paper logbooks here,” recalls Davis. “Then the logs were sorted and scanned and the performance of each driver was graded.

“The goal, of course, was to work with each driver individually to look for opportunities to make corrections or improvements to their performance,” he explains. “However, even with automated scanning, we felt like we were spending too much time processing paperwork and too little time working with our drivers.”

Solution:

When Fikes decided to outsource logbook scanning, it was a logical choice to go with a supplier they were already using, TripPak Services. “Our contractors were all sending their paperwork to us through TripPak anyhow,” Davis notes, “and their invoice scanning was working so well we decided to give the new TripPak Rapid Log a try. We went online with their log scanning system in February 2004. Now, instead of having all those logs coming here for scanning and storage, it's online, and we are virtually paperless.

“In the morning when we come in, the log reports are right there on the computer,” Davis explains. “We can look at individual logs or do specialized, aggregate reports by any number of factors, such as delinquency, driver qualifications, hours-of-service compliance and so on. By not having to shuffle paper all day, we can spend more time actually working with drivers. We would have had to hire another person, if we had not outsourced our log scanning to TripPak,” he adds. “This way, we freed up a person here to do more important duties, like working with individual drivers.”

Davis says drivers can also see the difference the logbook outsourcing has made in the Fikes operation. “Drivers have responded very positively to the change,” he says. “It has allowed us to spend more time in one-on-one training, which was especially helpful with the new hours -of-service regulations that went into effect at the first of the year.

“I feel like we have improved our operation, but our total weekly cost is actually less,” Davis adds. “We try to use technology in every way we can. It has given us efficiencies and competitive advantages. Outsourcing our logbook scanning is no exception.”