Canadian Shipper: Congratulations on once again being included in the prestigious list of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. They say getting to the top is hard but staying there is even harder. What would you say accounts for your company’s ability to consistently retain such high performance over the years?
Armour: I think one of the keys to our success has been our ability to effectively adapt our business to the changing needs of our clients over the years. Flexibility and adaptability are qualities we cherish and foster.
At Armour we have created an environment where the customer’s needs come first. We are not just 'truckers' – we provide a diversified service offering or a 'one-stop shopping' suite of transportation solutions. With every customer, we thoroughly analyze their requirements and assess their needs so we are able to adapt to customer requirements and change to meet these requirements without sacrificing the bottom line. Our first three customers were Kraft Foods, Robin Hood and Maritime Beverages (now known as The Pepsi Bottling Group). We are proud to say that all of these accounts are still major accounts with us today – and growing. Each of these internationally recognized brands has experienced significant changes in their own business models.
It has been through the dedication of our people to our customers and our willingness to change over the last 50 years that we have retained, grown and expanded our client base to include some of the world’s largest brand names. Today we have over 5,000 customer accounts – some are very small while others are very large accounts, but they are all important to us.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Investments in technology are often essential to improving efficiency. What areas has Armour Transportation Systems targeted for technology investment of late and what will you be focusing on in the future?
Armour: In order to be a leader in the industry, we continually strive to integrate leading edge IT solutions, including:
• Tracking ability on our entire fleet
• Complete EDI customized solutions
• Full suite of on-line customer tools, including real-time delivery status updates, viewable shipping documents and customer based shipping solution
• Integrated hand-held technology for both delivery and dock operations, including signature capture and scanning capabilities
• Extensive fleet management tools, monitoring speed, idling and fuel usage
Most recently, our company is looking forward to an exciting new path in technology, specifically with our transportation management software (TMS). We recently purchased TMW’s Truckmate software, which will replace our current LTL 400 software as our TMS solution. This is the largest IT project in our company’s history and will help to improve our operational efficiencies.
This solution will replace all aspects of our current systems relating to transportation, including Operations, Administration, Finance, Payroll and Maintenance.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: What are the outcomes from these technology investments? Is there a tangible benefit to your clients?
Armour: The Truckmate solution will provide a better system to move, track and monitor equipment, improve how we manage our customer’s freight and give our people the tools they need to better meet industry needs.
As the demand for information changes, we must also adapt with these changes and we are confident we can do this through the TMW solution.
On tangible benefits to our customers, the enhanced web services provided through TMW will enable them to have even more visibility and detail on their freight as well as their account in general (for example, payables and rates). It is no longer only the movement of the freight that we sell as a carrier; it is the visibility of the freight.
By providing our people with the 'right tools', we will see efficiency improvements because not only will the information be easier to retrieve, it will be faster, more accurate and reliable for us and our customers.
So it is an exciting time in technology at Armour Transportation Systems and we look forward to the future!
CANADIAN SHIPPER: With the global economy strengthening, port to door services will become increasingly important for Canadian importers and exporters. Can you outline your suite of offerings in this area and how they help ease the challenge of doing business overseas?
Armour: Our full range of port-related services includes: container stuffing, de-stuffing and preparation services, deconsolidation of containerized shipments, warehousing capabilities, cross-dock both truck and rail, distribution services to facilitate the delivery of product to various points throughout Canada, the USA and Mexico. We also offer drayage service and administration.
To accommodate the growing port-related traffic within Halifax, we recently expanded our facilities in Halifax, NS, which now encompasses 200,000 sq. ft. of food-grade warehousing as well as a 60-door cross-dock and distribution capabilities. This enables us to offer our customers a total solution under one roof for warehousing, LTL and courier service needs.