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Customers Aug 07, 2019

How GSC Logistics Uses Emergency Communications to Keep Their Business Moving

For companies in the transportation industry, effective communication isn’t just nice to have. It’s a critical part of operations.

Companies come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few elements every organization has in common: people, meetings, money, and coffee. And, of course, every company deals with communication (which can often be a struggle). Communication is the fuel that keeps business moving.

This is especially true for organizations with a complex employee infrastructure like you’ll find in the transportation industry. By now we’ve all heard the term “logistics”—usually in commercials filled with sleek arrows shooting across maps and delivery trucks pulling up right on time.

For companies in the transportation industry, though, it’s more than just a buzzword—it’s their entire operation. For logistics companies, every second saved translates to money saved, and being able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances without missing a beat means more on-time deliveries and more happy customers.

All of these factors—flexibility, rapid response time, coordination—require efficient, streamlined communication. GSC Logistics, an Oakland-based transportation company with additional operations in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, specializing in drayage and deconsolidation, knows that as well as anyone. By leveraging a reliable communication system, GSC Logistics was able to streamline its messaging across its organization.

Powerful Communication System Saves Valuable Time

GSC Logistics found their communication solution in AlertMedia, a two-way messaging provider. At first, they were primarily using it to communicate with all of their drivers at once. GSC manages a fleet of over 250 trucks, and they periodically needed to send alerts to the entire fleet—typically for compliance or legal purposes.

Every company has certain compliance-related issues they have to find a way to fit into their regular flow of business. For many, though, it’s a painful process that can distract from day-to-day operations.

AlertMedia was a major time-saver for this process. Whereas previously GSC had to send individual messages or have a three-minute phone conversation with each driver, using an emergency communication system allowed them to reach all of their drivers in just a few keystrokes.

Targeted Communications Take Efficiency to the Next Level

But soon, GSC realized that they could be using the system much more dynamically.

Instead of just sending mass messages, their branch in the Pacific Northwest began to send targeted alerts. GSC’s fleet in Seattle and Tacoma was comprised of 80 drivers managed by a small dispatch group. By breaking the drivers down into more manageable admin groups, GSC was able to give each dispatcher the ability to communicate with each of their drivers more effectively and frequently.

Targeted messaging allowed GSC to use the system for more than just mass alerts. Now, they could communicate road closures to drivers on particular routes, weather warnings for drivers who will be heading through affected areas, and route changes for specific drivers.

At the same time, they also started taking advantage of AlertMedia’s two-way capabilities. GSC realized 80-90% of the communication between dispatchers and drivers did not require a phone call. Yet, in the past, when they needed any information from a driver or set of drivers, that was exactly what they were doing: calling. This proved to be hugely time-intensive.

Now, AlertMedia’s software helps them communicate back and forth with their drivers via text message instead of by phone. As a result, GSC’s dispatchers are able to get responses from drivers in a fraction of the time. When they need the container number from a particular order, instead of calling and having the driver dictate an 8-digit alphanumeric code, they could just receive it via text—much more quickly and accurately.

Rapid Communication Enables Dynamic Adjustments

Since they specialize in drayage, GSC’s fleet operates in a relatively small area—making short-range deliveries from the port to various drop-off locations predominantly within a 100-mile radius of the Port. Local road closures and stoppages can severely affect GSC’s schedules and operations.

Before using AlertMedia, whenever there was a road closure, GSC would have to individually call or text each driver on an affected route, until slowly their whole fleet was able to adjust to the closure. Now, in a matter of seconds, they can send out an alert to all their drivers on a particular route, without wasting a minute. While other transportation companies have to run through manual communication processes, GSC can turn their whole fleet on a dime.

It isn’t just road closures, though. GSC Logistics uses AlertMedia whenever they need to make an immediate adjustment in their fleet. For example, GSC’s yard, where they store hundreds of pieces of equipment, handle huge numbers of transactions every day, with trucks constantly going in and out. Occasionally, though, it fills up—meaning they have to turn their trucks away at the gate and reroute them to the overflow yard. Now, they simply send an alert to all their drivers to go directly to the overflow yard, and then another alert once space in the main yard has opened up again.

For transportation companies, time is money. Keeping trucks on the most efficient path means more fuel saved and more deliveries per day. Over weeks and months, these small efficiencies translate into big savings and can set you apart from competitors who are not able to adapt as quickly.

Hyper-Local Alerts Keep Drivers Safe

For transportation companies like GSC, safety and efficiency go hand-in-hand. The threats these drivers face on the road—like severe weather, earthquakes, and highway accidents—are also threats to operational efficiency.

Using AlertMedia, organizations can send targeted alerts to drivers on specific routes warning them of any obstacle in their path. They can advise a driver to bring along chains because of heavy snow on the route or to avoid a certain road because of an avalanche warning. During severe weather events, dispatchers can make sure their drivers know when it’s safe to drive and when to stay off the road.

These adjustments ensure that drivers are always using the safest and most efficient route to get where they need to go.

AlertMedia: A Competitive Advantage for Transportation Companies

AlertMedia gives transportation companies a valuable edge over their competition. While nearly everyone in the industry uses some sort of transportation management system, those systems don’t have dynamic communication capabilities. While organizational systems are great for high-level logistics management, they aren’t designed to deal with the many small, day-to-day adjustments that are necessary to keep a fleet running at peak efficiency.

AlertMedia can transform the way a company communicates with its fleet—elevating its operations to another level. By consolidating all their communications into one intuitive system, organizations can have a degree of transparency and control over their dispatcher-driver communication that competitors simply can’t replicate.

Using an emergency communication system to maximize day-to-day efficiency can be a game-changer for companies like GSC Logistics. We would love to talk to you about how AlertMedia can streamline your communications and help you reach peak operational potential.

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