Leaps and Bounds Ahead of the Competition

TMC Transportation

TMC is an employee-owned flatbed carrier based out of Des Moines, Iowa. They have built their company on a reputation for quality, including their superior safety record and excellent customer service.

The problem

TMC needed to improve driver efficiency and productivity. They lacked a platform that could connect up their various back-end systems, and present them all to a driver in a way he could use on the road. They were also losing a lot of productivity to simple communication problems. “The biggest hurdle we face in this industry managing employees is always communication—quickly and clearly,” says Fleet Manager Marinee Fulner.

TMC determined that they need a way to unify every part of a driver’s job into a single dashboard that would help them reduce downtime and get more done. It would do this by giving them all the tools they needed in one place, while ensuring fast and reliable communication.

The obvious choice for delivering this new system was a mobile app. TMC is rare among fleets for developing all of their own software in-house, so they naturally decided to build their own driver app. As programmer Bob Pepin explains, the odds of a canned solution working were “not very good.” Third party solutions aren’t flexible enough to match up to what TMC were trying to do.

However, they discovered this was more complex than expected. “It was overwhelming,” says Steve Linder, VP of Information Technology. “We were so surprised with the amount of work that had to go into it. We quickly realized that hiring a third party or developing internally would not be as effective, would cost us a lot of money, and take us a very long time.”

He therefore pivoted the project to investigate third-party solutions that would be flexible enough to achieve their goals. “We wanted the best of both worlds,” Linder says. “Getting a product where we could leverage the technology a vendor provides, while still having that ability to completely customize or develop our internal app. We ended up with Eleos because that’s what they do. It’s tried and tested, so there was no reason for us to go through the pain of developing an application from scratch.”

The solution

Using the Eleos Platform, TMC was able to create a highly customized mobile app that gives drivers everything they need on the road—dispatch information, two-way messaging, truck-safe navigation, training videos, pay stub information, and more.

From the moment the app rolled out, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Travis Johnson, Executive VP of Operations summarizes:

The biggest thing that we’re hearing is just the convenience of it being mobile. Prior to having the mobile app, our drivers were kind of restricted to having to wait in the trucks for the load information to come through or any kind of communication from the fleet manager. Now the drivers are able to go into a restaurant, or take a shower, or do whatever they want to do—just from the standpoint of getting things done and making the best of their time.

TMC driver Kyle Bailey agrees. “Say I’m waiting for a load,” he explains. “I can go in, grab something to eat, and actually sit down and eat instead of just sitting there in my truck, idling, wasting fuel if it’s hot out, I can go sit in the drivers’ lounge. It saves fuel on the truck, increases our fuel economy in the long run, and I don’t have to sit there with that question in the back of my head, have they sent me a load yet? Is it going to be something time-sensitive to where I’ve got to leave right now?”

It’s not just the newfound freedom that drivers are enthusiastic about. “I haul a lot of equipment,” Bailey says. “Sometimes a serial number may be hidden on a second or a third page on a stop-off. You might miss that when you initially write everything down. It’s easy to just scroll through the app, all right, here it is—you don’t have to run back and forth to the truck.”

…keeping drivers in their trucks, keeping them at TMC, and keeping them loving their jobs…

These kinds of “paper-cut” problems used to add up to an enormous amount of frustration in a driver’s day-to-day job. Eleos has substantially eliminated it. The result: greater job satisfaction, and less turnover. “The ease of use is really keeping drivers happy,” says Justyn Hardy, TMC’s Public Relations Manager. “That’s our number one goal here at TMC: keeping drivers in their trucks, keeping them at TMC, and keeping them loving their jobs.” Drivers coming in the door are looking forward to using the app.

Eleos has especially solved the primary problem TMC was facing, of poor communication leading to lost productivity. “Having the app has allowed us to communicate with our drivers in a more reliable manner that doesn’t seem to have any breakdown issues.” Fleet Manager Marinee Fulner.

In fact, communication between drivers and every department at TMC is faster and more efficient with Eleos.

Not only is communication more reliable, but being mobile also means that it now fits into drivers’ lives much more organically. Messages are delivered like SMS texts, so drivers can respond at their convenience—even if they are off work. They can get answers back to managers proactively before they come back on duty, without having to take phone calls or otherwise be interrupted.

This is making everyone’s lives easier and more efficient and has notably improved productivity.

Integrating the mobile app into their business processes has opened new doors for TMC. “It has really advanced our thinking in terms of what we are trying to do,” says Travis Johnson, Executive VP of Operations. He adds frankly, “It has put us leaps and bounds ahead of our competition.”

Steve Linder, who spearheaded the project, agrees. “The mobile app itself is not only a necessity to our business, and it’s not just a means to the end of operational excellence,” he says. “It is important for the future growth of our company. To be competitively advantaged, we have to stay focused on technologies like this mobile app, and continue to develop.”

Reflecting on how working with Eleos has changed TMC for the better, Linder says, “In a lot of ways I look at Eleos as an extension to our IT department. We’re able to get help from another company to build the framework, so TMC can concentrate on bigger and better things. Initiatives that are important to our company. The relationship with Eleos has become a strategic partnership, not just a vendor-customer relationship.”

Having our mobile app has put us leaps and bounds ahead of our competition.
Travis Johnson
Executive VP of Operations

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