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Saving Millions With Self-Reliance & Equipment Logistics Software

Warren CAT's Logistics Success

In the face of a global economic downturn, Warren CAT’s transportation department has remained resilient. We spoke with Jason Novak, Logistics Manager of Warren CAT, to find out how Wynne Systems’ transportation management software,  Logistics Solution has enabled his team to strategically expand their operations and cut costs.

Utilizing Logistics Solution to reach Warren Cat's fullest potential

Simply put, Wynne Systems’ transportation management software saves Warren CAT millions of dollars every year. As one of the largest Caterpillar® dealerships in North America, we manage and execute an incredible volume of loads year-round. Be it dispatching, electronic logging, GPS-enabled asset tracking, or nearly anything else, we rely on Wynne Systems’ robust logistics platform to keep our transportation department operating efficiently and in the black.

To be fully transparent, prior to myself taking the reins of our transportation department, we were not utilizing the software to its full potential. From a day-to-day operational standpoint, we were doing everything right. We were using the software as intended and enjoying the benefits of enhanced productivity, communications, and data accuracy. But, while that may have been good enough at the time, we were only scratching the surface of what the software could do for us.

Upon becoming logistics manager, one of the first things I did was fly out to California to get trained on how to extract data and run reports from our transportation management system. Since then, the software benefits Warren CAT both operationally and strategically. Through the business intelligence they provide, Wynne Systems’ logistics solutions help our company make smarter, data-informed decisions.

Through the business intelligence they provide, Wynne Systems’ logistics solutions help our company make smarter, data-informed decisions.”

Jason NovakLogistics Manager, Warren CAT

Leveraging analytics to guide Warren Cat's decision-making

As a logistics manager, I am acutely aware of store-to-store equipment transfers because they often represent an expense without any revenue (directly) attached. But for a long time, Warren CAT primarily used outside haulers to move our equipment internally—to the tune of over one million dollars annually.

Once I learned how to access our transportation management system’s analytics, I compared our sub-hauling expenses against how much it would cost to fulfill those transfers ourselves. I quickly discovered that there was a better path forward. By fulfilling equipment transfers with our own trucks, we could reduce our operating expenses substantially.

But if we wanted to deliver more loads, we would need to expand our fleet. Analytics proved indispensable here as well. To determine what kinds of trucks we should invest in, I ran a report to find out what models of equipment were being transferred most often. With that information, I was able to pick out trucks capable of handling the size of our most-moved machinery, ensuring we got the most bang for our back.

Thanks to the analytics Wynne Systems’ software provides, I am consistently able to present data-backed business cases for expanding Warren CAT’s transportation department to upper management. As a result, we have not only expanded, but expanded strategically by investing in the right trucks and the right staff.

Managing transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic

When the pandemic hit, we were affected by both the general economic downturn and the pain felt by the oil and gas industry when the price of crude oil plummeted to historic lows. Because much of our business supports refineries throughout the Permian Basin, there was ample cause for concern.

Fortunately, our leadership held things together during that initial hysteria and calmly began the process of determining how we could reduce costs as gently as possible. As a result, overtime was soon suspended across the entire company. And while that decision left some departments mostly unscathed, it significantly diminished our transportation department’s output.

Knowing that our reduced productivity would further impact our business, I once again dived into the data. To make up for our lack of overtime, we had increased our outside hauling by a substantial degree. Upon doing the math, I quickly found that for every $10,000 in overtime I withheld, I was spending $100,000 in freight to get equipment where it needed to be. Even with salaries, depreciation, and truck and fuel costs factored in, we were ultimately spending far more than we were saving.

Thanks to that data, I was able to make my case to upper management that overtime be restored for our transportation department. Upon seeing the numbers, they saw the merits of my argument and reversed the overtime suspension for my drivers and dispatchers. As a result, our transportation department has continued to excel throughout these turbulent times.

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Managing emergency transportation needs around the clock

Due to the nature of the equipment we provide (e.g. power systems) and the industries we serve (e.g. oil and gas), after hours dispatching is a fairly common aspect of our transportation operations. For instance, when severe weather strikes, and our equipment is needed most, we are moving assets 24/7.

To make dispatching away from the office more convenient for our dispatchers, we recently implemented Wynne Systems’ web-based transportation management system. Because it can be accessed from any internet-connected device, our dispatchers can quickly schedule loads without interrupting their day.

For example, a few years ago, one of my most-proven dispatchers was at his grandson’s softball game when he received a phone call asking him to schedule an urgent load. Because this was before we adopted the web-based TMS, he had to go to his truck, open his laptop, activate a WiFi hotspot, and connect to a VPN before he could even see the load. By the time he had completed that rigmarole and returned to the game, he had missed a big play.

Doing right by my staff is important to me, so I seized upon the opportunity to achieve a better work-life balance within my department.

Shifting the internal perception of the transportation department

While even I still remind folks that Warren CAT is an equipment company and not a transportation company, I have definitely noticed a shift in how our transportation department is viewed by the rest of the organization. After many years of being seen as a cost center or almost peripheral to the larger business, these days, every division at the company has taken notice of how essential our operations are to them and Warren CAT as a whole.

Through the dedication of my staff and the data-backed results I am able to share with our leadership, our transportation department has garnered a reputation for reliability and smart thinking. That recognition has been fantastic for morale, especially during the uncertainty that we are all currently living through.

In fact, I have noticed that whenever the economy slumps, our transportation department shines. When times are tough, our team stays busy, operates lean, and achieves remarkable results.

Thanks to the analytics Wynne Systems’ software provides, I am consistently able to present data-backed business cases for expanding Warren CAT’s transportation department to upper management.

— Jason Novak, Logistics Manager, Warren CAT

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