High Risk Information Technology Changes Pay Business Dividends
Ann Arbor, Michigan - August 16, 2005 -- For the third time in four years Con-Way Transportation Services, Inc. (Con-Way) is a recipient of a CIO 100 award from CIO magazine. This years award recognized 100 organizations worldwide that, according to the magazine, took a significant information technology (IT) risk for the sake of great reward.
Con-Way was recognized for implementing its new Shipment and Equipment Management for Regional Transportation (SMART) information technology system. SMART replaced a mainframe system with completely new web-based browser functionality. Our risk in replacing a tried-and-true system with an entirely new technology was that failure in any aspect could have decreased operating efficiencies resulting in late deliveries of thousands of less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments. Con-Ways on time performance exceeds 98 percent and is a significant competitive advantage for us, said Jacqueline Barretta, chief information officer for CNF. According to Barretta the LTL operations account for 70 percent of the companys revenues and an even higher percentage of the profits.
In late 2003, Con-Way was the first LTL carrier to announce a no fee guaranteed freight delivery service whereby a shipment is delivered on time or there is no charge to the shipper. This service is heavily dependent on IT support to run smoothly. Failure of proper support could have a significantly negative financial impact on the company. Barretta said the risk was worth it though because the new system better linked, and increased the efficiency of, more than 440 LTL service centers in the U.S. and Canada.
The new system also enhances Con-Ways Computer Aided Dispatch system and provides a forward-looking infrastructure to support dock automation and hand held technologies. SMART has helped us lay a great foundation for future technologies both in and out of the truck, added Barretta. She also believes the system will contribute to increased levels of customer service. We do a great job now but the switch to SMART will pay several short-term and long-term dividends, including more opportunities for market share growth.