American Transportation Enhanced Scheduling & Dispatching By 60% With Connecteam
American Transportation’s 60+ vehicle fleet offers a selection of services, and like most transportation companies are up against the following challenges:
- No real-time insight on employee availability for shifts
- A clunky, time-consuming payroll process that was open to errors
- Endless texts and phone calls to share company information, stay connected and gauge availability
- Unnecessary physical, printouts of shift information for each driver for every shift was a lot to manage
- One app with access to everything in a single place to better manage the entire company
- Real-time job scheduling that is easy to use and quick to share
- Direct, mobile access to the knowledge base for health & safety protocols, tutorials, and materials
- Automated checklists and forms to quickly share safety announcements in real-time
- In-app work chat with filters and groups, instead of untrackable text messages, Whatsapp, or phone calls
- An enhanced scheduling process with real-time driver availability and shift information
- A streamlined payroll process with GPS time tracking and one system
- Improved internal communication under one roof instead of jumping on phone calls or countless text messages
- Reduced number of printouts by switching to an automated solution that can be managed on the go
We sat down with Dan Wilson, CEO, to discuss his company’s experience with the Connecteam employee app. Here’s what he had to say.
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With a combined experience of over 100 years, American Transportation serves as a one-stop-shop for all of their client’s transport needs.
Dan explains that “The company has been in operation since 2003 and my ownership group took over (acquired a shell of a company, really) in 2015 so we have been running it for nearly six years. We have fully revamped the company since we took over. We operate a fleet of 70 vehicles so obviously when the COVID era ends then we expect to have far more employees, well over 100, as we have 50-80 employees now.”
In fact, when we first took over, the company only had 20 fleet vehicles and one location. And in just five years, we have grown so much.
American Transportation provides all types of buses. For example, minibusses, school buses, executive coaches, and ada vehicles – we have a bus for whatever the occasion is. A driver is always provided for whatever the client needs like private charters for weddings, tours, home-to-school shuttles, and more, so it’s a diverse offering. We have contracts for construction projects (long-term), oil refineries, colleges and universities like for sports teams, fans for games, and just a little bit of everything.
We should also mention that American Transportation is a “Green Company”! We utilize many vehicles with alternative clean fuel sources.
When COVID first started, two of our three locations were forced to work at a smaller capacity, around 5-10%. Our Vegas operation works heavily with tours but there are no tours at this time as a lot of places are shut down. While Southern California is operating at a full capacity, especially the schools, we run around 28 buses a day.
We’re really excited to work with Connecteam. Our ownership group is actually really tech-forward in an industry that isn’t typically so. And the company has been growing monumentally and what’s excited us about Connecteam is that the whole staff is very open to suggestions. We have a lot of software programs that we work with that listen to what we suggest but never undertake any of them.
“Whereas Connecteam actually listens and executes the ideas – plus, in a timely fashion.”
So, we are quite familiar with the various software solutions out there and are looking to find programs that speak with each other. Connecteam has mentioned that they’re looking to work with an open API program which is very exciting for us.
Currently, we still use 4 different software solutions to run our business. One of which we are legally obligated to use, an ELD that is added to the bus itself which has GPS tracking and also logs the driver’s hours to ensure they aren’t exceeding the state limit.
We have one booking system that we then assign busses for. And we manually staff a driver for this as well. The reason we actually went looking for a program like Connecteam is because manually assigning a driver is not just time-consuming but it creates a headache. Not to mention it creates the opportunity for errors. And before Connecteam, it was archaic where our dispatch team would literally call drivers, “Hey, we have a booking Wednesday, are you available?” And if they say yes, then we would text them the information. When you’re running around 14,000 trips a year, managing your business through phone calls and text messages just doesn’t work.
This is why we immediately moved to a program that can automate our staffing and tracking our teams. With Connecteam, we actually use the Shift Confirmation feature a lot because this tells us the driver saw the shift and they know a trip is coming up so they know what they’re doing. It eliminates the “He said/She said” scenario of “You said 8PM, not 8AM or I didn’t know it was an out of town trip and I can’t do it on short notice.”
“Connecteam eliminates the surprise element of errors and miscommunication.”
Our sales team uses Connecteam so once a trip has been assigned, they can view which driver is available or can issue an open-shift given the specific requirements like driver’s license and credentials. It really streamlines the whole process.
Essentially, American Transportation’s biggest challenges were efficient scheduling, knowing driver availability, easy communication, providing shift information, and a lot of this was done through ancient means like text messages and phone calls.
“Super messy and time-consuming! But now that isn’t an issue anymore.”
The All-In-One Solution
“The majority of what we utilize Connecteam for is for time tracking and job scheduling.”
We assign shifts based on driver availability which is easy to see on the app, instead of calling drivers one by one to see who is available to cover a shift. We also add shift attachments so that way they have all the correct information for the shift and we don’t need to print out trip sheets. Now, our drivers can have all the information needed ahead of time.
The job scheduler automates our staffing and our tracking capabilities.
On The Go Workflows
The workflows feature is a big help for us. Especially for the drivers who run the school bus. We are required to fill out which students arrived and which didn’t. When we add this information to the shift, the driver knows exactly who is supposed to be on the bus and if a kid missed the bus then they can actually fill a form out that gets sent to our admin team. From there, they can inform the school really quickly on which student was not on board. The drivers fill this form out at a stop and it’s just a streamlined process now.
Employee Training & Safety
We have all kinds of stuff uploaded on the Connecteam customize feature, for training and safety awareness, that we share with relevant individuals. Whether it’s policies and procedures, forms that drivers need to add a signature to for the Department of Transportation then we use the digital e-signature feature, purchase orders, and more.
We use the chat feature a ton to communicate with everybody. For example, when we have a big staff meeting then we just send a company-wide chat without having to manually call each of them. Sometimes we add it in as a shift that everyone has to confirm if they’re coming or not which helps us know what’s happening in real-time so that we’re prepared.
Better Time Tracking & Payroll
Our payroll is based on the time clock. We actually used to use a separate payroll system just to use this but now we do it all time tracking on Connecteam.
So how did I find Connecteam? I am really diligent in what I do and I personally interviewed 24 companies. There was a company that I was using but after playing around with it, it didn’t have a lot of the features we were looking for. I wrote down all of the features that we needed and did some research on the companies out there that fit the bill. Out of the ones that actually got back to us, we then had some further in-depth talks and Connecteam actually came in at the last minute. So we put the kibosh on signing with this company as Connecteam really fit the bill.
For our drivers, there was an initial learning curve as the team was used to doing things manually. They now have gotten way more used to it! They all really like it and it’s a lot easier than doing things manually.
The interface is fantastic and simple. Personally, if I was to build something like this, this is exactly how I’d build it. Connecteam is easy on the eye, spaced out so it isn’t cluttered, and user-friendly.
“Connecteam helps us cut an immense amount of time and eliminates miscommunication!”
Bottom line, it’s really hard for a business owner to find a program that’s going to do absolutely everything it needs to as every business is so different and customizable. And I don’t think that a lot of software companies out there understand the importance of customer service. It’s fine to say, “We can’t do that.” Just tell us instead of brushing us off. Why do I bring this up?
“The customer support team at Connecteam is fantastic, they’re quick to respond and never let you down.”