Old Dominion Freight Line
Old Dominion Freight Line Offloads Over 1,000,000 Calls Annually
Significant productivity gains realized with iVoice IVR
Since 1934, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. has been offering services as a less-than-truckload general commodities carrier. Known in the industry as "OD", the company is headquartered in Thomasville, NC and is in the midst of a five-year growth pattern averaging 15-20% annual growth.
Today, OD has 152 service centers in 44 states throughout United States with 100% full- state coverage in 32 of the 44 states. OD offers international shipping to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, as well.
Benefits of IVR
Several years back, OD first realized that IVR could provide a cost-effective communication mechanism with customers and drivers. In fact, OD previously implemented a UNIX-based IVR solution that provided very good efficiencies within the organization. However, when OD wanted to expand the system with new features, several limitations were identified in the existing system. Barry Craver, Senior Applications Development Manager for OD recalls, "We had several issues with our existing IVR, so it made sense to start looking at what else the market had to offer. The old IVR required a proprietary programming language and communication with our AS/400 was by screen scrape; changes to our AS/400 applications would wreck havoc with the IVR because of the screen scrape. In addition, because of the proprietary nature of the system, we relied on a single person to do development work. Finally, we were looking to add new IVR applications requiring Text-to-Speech and the old system could not support that technology. The time was right to start looking to see what else was available."
OD's search ultimately led them to iMessaging System's iVoice IVR. "iVoice offered us the ability to develop IVR applications without any special training – anyone on staff can write iVoice applications because it's all AS/400-based. Also, changes to AS/400 applications like our dispatch system never affect the operation of iVoice," notes Craver.
Bob Newingham, OD's Solutions Analyst for automated dispatching solutions, has primary responsibility for iVoice. Bob cites several reasons why the system made sense from his standpoint: "The programmer efficiencies we gained were big – we leveraged existing work by creating entry points to our existing code so that we did not have to duplicate logic. We also found that iMessaging provides quicker response and more knowledgeable support, from installation to ongoing support. iVoice gave us new features like Text-to-Speech and the ability to monitor the system remotely, too."
But the most significant benefits iVoice offered were a lower total cost of ownership and a 50% reduction in call time on driver calls. Newingham notes, "Our old IVR had a lot of system overhead with screen scraping and sending data back and forth to the AS/400." iVoice is so much faster than the previous IVR system, that when iVoice was originally implemented, OD had to slow down driver calls because drivers wanted the interaction slightly slower. "The increase in calls we can handle has been a major improvement with iVoice. We now service more calls, more quickly. In fact, iVoice will offload over 1,000,000 calls for us this year alone," touts Newingham.
OD IVR Applications
To date, OD has implemented two primary applications with the iVoice; one services driver transactions and the other handles customer service inquiries.
The driver system allows OD drivers to handle the entire dispatching process without the need to involve a "live" dispatcher. The driver system provides the ability for OD drivers to obtain their assignment from plans created by the central dispatch system. Drivers call iVoice when they are at the OD service center and are provided with "load assignments" that they will pull for that work shift. Drivers can also "dispatch" themselves as well as "arrive" themselves at their intended destination. Furthermore, the OD technical team has included facilities within iVoice for the system to handle the "meet & turn" process. A "meet & turn" is when two drivers meet at a predefined location between two OD service centers and exchange trailers. Each driver then returns to his or her domicile terminal with the exchanged load.
The customer service applications offer OD customers telephone self-service options for shipment tracking, rate quotes and transit times. The iVoice system even provides the ability for customers to request a faxed copy of the proof of delivery document through integration with two complementary iSeries solutions, Quadrant's FastFax server and imaging.
Looking ahead, OD has identified future iVoice applications for both drivers and customer service. OD will be expanding IVR services to include leased drivers. The leased driver application will service pickup and movement of "containers" from large shipping ports. OD primarily uses leased drivers for the container operation and pickups are done from various points that involve transportation from city/state to city/state. The use of Text-to-Speech software, an integrated service of iVoice, will be used to generate the speech associated with the city/state locations. Text-to-Speech is used when dynamic voice messages are a requirement, such as with addresses, cities, names or special instructions. OD leased drivers will use the system to call iVoice to retrieve their next assignment. On the customer service side, OD is considering providing the ability for customers to make payments via credit card using an iSeries-based credit card processing capability developed in house.
Barry Craver sums it up this way: "When we found iVoice, it all came down to three main factors: maintainability, total cost and features. iVoice delivered it all and we have been very pleased with our choice. With 1,000,000 calls serviced annually and the number growing, the system has been an excellent investment for us."