Alexander Lumber Company

Building Materials

GPS Insight Forward IconAlexander Lumber: Success with GPS Insight

  • Heavy-duty trucks based in Chicago can do at least $1.4 million in business each month as a result of faster turnaround times.
  • Average 14-minute turnaround time fleetwide.
  • Nearly 3,000 turns in one year at Crystal Lake location alone.
  • More than 100 vehicles (heavy-duty trucks, medium-duty trucks, and vans) enterprise-wide.

Even though its history stretches back to 1891, Alexander Lumber Company isn’t stuck in the past. The company, which operates 10 retail yards and two component plants throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, turned to technology to keep its fleet on the road.

Quicker Turnarounds are a Boost to the Bottom Line

Cutting Downtime, Committing to Customers

Every moment that a truck is sitting in a yard is a moment it’s not making money. Even worse, that’s a moment that makes a customer think “where’s my delivery?”

Alexander Lumber wanted to reduce the time it takes to turn a truck – to have an empty truck return to the yard, get re-loaded, and get back in action. To accomplish this, they use GPS Insight fleet tracking technology which reduces truck turnaround times and keeps their commitments to customers.


Putting the System into Action

Bob Knowles is Alexander Lumber’s go-to fleet efficiency expert. He took a hands-on approach to mastering the company’s fleet management solution to implement their strategy.


Setting a Goal

The company set a goal to turn each truck in 20 minutes or less. Using GPS Insight, they beat that goal considerably, with turnaround times plunging to about 14 minutes, or a 30% decrease. Rick Vancil, Executive Vice President for Alexander Lumber, said the reduced turnaround time allows the company to make more deliveries without buying new equipment.

To take advantage of this time reduction, he assigned half of his heavy-duty trucks in Chicago to make an extra delivery per day. As a result, that location could boost revenue by $1.4 million every month.

A True Team Effort

Bob Knowles’ creative use of GPS Insight connected drivers with employees at the yards to further decrease turnaround times. By using the landmark feature, the yard personnel know when trucks are 10 minutes away. At that point, their “pit stop team” preps to load the inbound truck.

Vancil said implementing GPS tracking also brought out the best in his team. He mentioned one employee who had been with the team for 45 years and welcomed a new way of approaching an old problem.

“Technology can help people who might seem entrenched to find a better way of doing things,” Vancil said, “and they can have fun doing it.”

We achieve our on-time delivery commitments to our customers and are able to deliver more per vehicle.

Rick Vancil

Executive Vice President, Alexander Lumber Company

Doing More with Each Vehicle

Alexander Lumber also uses the GPS Insight landmark feature to ensure accurate results and maintain drivers’ accountability. Each vehicle is now doing more, and customers are happy with the on-time delivery performance.

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