Transportation & Logistics
Thursday | 11 October, 2018 | 1:43 pm

Cloud solutions from Transview Logistics allows dispatchers to cease the “blind panic” in finding trucks to place their loads

Written by By Corinna Petry

October 2018 - Trust is a vital element in the metals distribution business. When an order is promised on a certain date and the delivery doesn’t arrive on time, the aggrieved customer may turn to someone else for the next order. But the shortage of freight capacity and drivers is widespread so countless shippers are looking for ironclad solutions. Mike Bjerke, managing partner of Transview Logistics in Boulder, Colorado, believes his company has Web-based, organized, transparent solutions to improve freight management.

No stranger to the metals industry, Bjerke worked in sales and product management for Crest Steel Corp., Los Angeles, for several years before going to graduate school and purusing a career in investment banking.

“I spent my formative years at Crest; those grinding years where you get your teeth kicked in. When I started in steel, a colleague told me that if you stick around long enough for the rust to get in your blood, you never leave. He was absolutely right.”

Drawn away from banking by an opportunity to start up Transview Logistics, Bjerke and his partners decided to “pull away from everything else and go full-steam ahead” with the company by 2015.

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“We can plot inventory on screens in warehouses and see how it’s being staged in real time,” says Mike Bjerke.

Clickety clack

“We are building modern software solutions for dated technology,” Bjerke says, because he recognizes metals companies are often on the same ERP systems for decades. “They bought it in 1986 and the monitors still have green screens. As an example—and there’s nothing wrong with it—when I started at Crest, we had clickety-clackety keyboards with dedicated terminals and  green flashing cursors.

“We have clients with virtually identical systems today,” he continues. “They are terrified to leave that system and have seen that when others have tried to update all at once, there are horrible fails.”

So Transview Logistics works with such service centers that “have a stable system but it’s dated and everyone knows it. But you don’t have to replace it. You can buy various modules—for sales, for freight. It doesn’t have to replace your system. It can integrate with it and be cloud-based. You can interact with your own system and do things you weren’t able to do before.”

The vendor’s products, including BuildMyLoads, Headlight Freight, Glass Steel and Glass TMS, offer “modern features without taking the risk of starting over from scratch.”

The software developer is able to attract service center clients through trust, but “more because we know their business. They use metal-specific jargon and I know exactly what they’re talking about. It’s purely theoretical for a vendor coming from outside the industry but when service centers talk with us about their pains and frustration, I have lived those problems.”


Users of Transview’s software don’t need much training because the programs are visual, Bjerke says. “It’s one thing to read a list of inventory items going on a truck. We can plot that inventory on screens in warehouses and see how it’s being staged in real time; everyone is looking at the same information.”

He realizes that all day long, shipping departments are “pestered for information: Has my truck left? Where is it? What time will it arrive? We take all that information from the dispatcher’s desk, or in his brain, and we make that visual so everyone knows what’s happening.”

There is a daily delivery screen showing when the truck loaded, when it left the warehouse, GPS tracking of the truck, what local traffic is like, and how many stops the truck will make before arriving at the inquiring customer’s dock.

Transview’s staff of software developers design products that integrate with client ERPs and maintain the platform. “We started essentially with one [software] module to solve one problem for one service center. We created our Web-based interface, solved the problem and it was ‘Aha! So cool, so powerful, so easy. So what else can we solve?’”

The company built additional solutions, which are customized and fitted within the clients’ legacy and proprietary systems. “It feels like the process never ends. Every company has a different perspective. We create new features when asked, and that builds our product line.”

The key result is “our system pulls data from your system, you work with it, and then we push it back to your system in an organized way.”

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Between BuildMyLoads and Headlight Freight, service centers can become more efficient with deliveries and save on freight costs.

Automation options

Bjerke describes BuildMyLoads as an automated load sorting and optimization module. “These are not available in regular ERP systems. With BuildMyLoads, you can take a huge list of sales orders, sort them to optimal truckloads that account for optimal routes with traffic, delivery windows [receiving hours], stop times and return-to-base time, and figure out the lowest cost total solution.”

The latest module is called Headlight Freight. It is a reverse auction for freight that helps shippers bid out their freight, communicate with the greatest number of drivers and generate a marketplace for a load.

The user can determine what the stops are, invite all flatbed carriers in, say, Houston, and ask them to bid on a specific load. Bids come in and the client accepts the best one.

This is more efficient and cost effective than previous methods of getting trucks in and out quickly, according to Bjerke. “What we observed and in talking to clients, is that dispatchers make phone calls in a blind panic until someone says, ‘I have a truck.’” They let the hauler name a price and then send the purchase order.

“It’s not like they are shopping for the best price or effectively communicating with drivers or brokers. There isn’t a lot of transparency—they couldn’t compare quotes. That bad practice is built in because availability is most important—just trying to get someone to put a truck under my load. Which is perfect for problem creation.”

In the service center industry, “we have seen all sorts of bad behavior, often due to a lack of transparency. There are the frantic hair-on-fire calls, emails, PostIt notes, texts. You’re not doing what’s best for the company when the time crunch rules all activity. Especially with the driver shortage, each phone call finds fewer options. That’s where Headlight Freight helps,” says Bjerke.

Market pricing

Using the tool, a service center can invite an unlimited number of drivers, all of whom are pre-approved and insured, with a single click. “Send out this load to five, 50 or 500 drivers. Drivers get a text and email with basic details of the load,” such as weight, distance, number of stops, delivery schedule.

Drivers can plug in a bid by smartphone. The system displays the bids by price. The dispatcher can call back and ask for a price discount. “You get a market price,” says Bjerke, in real time. Often, “the delta between the highest price and the lowest is 25 to 30 percent. Money is being saved.”

Dispatchers will find the process to be a stress reducer, Bjerke says. “Instead of sorting loads and frantic phone calls all day,” loads are automated, bids are solicited from drivers, bids are received and tracked down to what time they came in, “so there is no misunderstanding. Click. Award. We collapsed the process to five minutes per truckload.”

It makes the shipping department more effective and gives dispatchers broader reach and insight into the freight marketplace.

“With a company that has multiple locations and each one has a dispatch desk, you can make it less stressful for each one and can even visualize it systemwide. You have to communicate effectively, broadly and wisely,” says Bjerke. “You don’t want to get beat to the punch.” MM


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