What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We have a functional version installed on approximately 40 of our trucks (about half of our fleet). We are in the process of putting it on all of our equipment. We’re still tweaking a few things—only the kind you can find after putting 40 of them in the field—but it’s going really well.
We used a company to do the same thing before Flint Hills Group. It was just so cumbersome as there were five or six different pieces of hardware that had to go in each truck. Communication between the hardware was clunky, the system didn’t work 10% to 15% of the time, and it was a real problem. That old system was on 3G, so we had to look for a newer version.
Since putting in the new software, the drivers are so excited. The UI is simpler, the system is quicker, and it works every time. We all know how frustrating it is for our drivers when they need to complete the work but can’t because the computer won’t work. The new app has helped a lot with driver happiness with the system.
The reporting has been far superior as well. The way we generate reports and receive information from the trucks has improved drastically. The managers who have to collect and report that data to the customer are excited about it too. It used to take a couple of hours; now, it takes half an hour.
How did Flint Hills Group perform from a project management standpoint?
Since the inception of the project, we have had twice-weekly scrums. Initially, I felt like it was going to be overkill, but as we got into the project and saw all the things that come up, it really proved to be just right. Meeting twice a week for half an hour at a time with the entire team on those calls pretty much without fail helped a lot.
By meeting twice a week, I was worried that they wouldn’t respond to emails, questions or concerns very fast, but they do. We have our meetings, but if something comes up before then, we can communicate immediately.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I have never been involved in a software project at this level before. The developers seem to be excited about the project—it doesn’t seem like they were just phoning it in. It got me excited that they were excited. Maybe this is more common than I think it is, but it just felt different.
Are there any areas they could improve?
This isn’t constructive criticism, but the hurdle that took the longest to get over was basic industry knowledge. If they had spent a little more time in our legacy system at first, it might have advanced the project a little faster.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
I would say trust the process. A few times, I thought we weren’t heading in the right direction, but we were. They really do care about making their client happy. There was never a situation where I felt like they were going against all my wishes. They were doing what was good for me even when I didn’t know it. Have good communication with Flint Hills Group and trust the process.