Are Inefficient Business Processes Holding You Back?

Are Inefficient Business Processes Holding You Back?

With cost savings initiatives more relevant now than ever, Guilford Group is committed to helping transportation & logistics firms companies redesign inefficient business processes and institute cost savings and productivity processes and programs

Guilford Group has over 20 years of experience in helping transportation companies like CSX & Mercer Transportation with institutionalizing productivity and cost management programs that improve the bottom line.

We have added staff with deep experience in the state-of-the-art cost management programs. We drive productivity, efficiency, and cost savings by establishing and implementing processes and programs that institutionalize a continuous improvement culture. Our approach includes:

●     Formalizing productivity and continuous improvement processes such as reducing complexity, deploying Six Sigma, Kaizan and Lean. We Value Analysis & Value Engineering ●     We can help by rationalizing support costs to invest in growth (Selling, Marketing) ●     Continuously monitoring and reporting outcomes. We believe in if you don’t measure it, it will not happen.

●     Formalizing productivity and continuous improvement processes such as reducing complexity, deploying Six Sigma, Kaizan and Lean. We Value Analysis & Value Engineering

●     We can help by rationalizing support costs to invest in growth (Selling, Marketing)

●     Continuously monitoring and reporting outcomes. We believe in if you don’t measure it, it will not happen.

 

By carefully analyzing potential improvement areas across your company Guilford Group has the potential to help you save 3% to 4% of your costs each year. We have done it before, we can do it for you.  

Guilford Group is proud to announce we are expanding our service offerings through partnerships with JJ Keller, #Microsoft Dynamics, & MercuryGate

Guilford Group is proud to announce we are expanding our service offerings through partnerships with JJ Keller, #Microsoft Dynamics, & MercuryGate

Collaboration with strategic partners is an incredibly effective way for a business to better serve customers. As an expert in the transportation & logistics industry, Guilford Group has recently partnered with J.J. Keller, MercuryGate and Microsoft. These leading companies have a rich heritage of servicing the transportation & logistics industry and we are excited to add their offerings to Guilford Group’s capabilities.

J. J. Keller Encompass with E-Logs

J. J. Keller's Encompass® is the industry's most versatile online tool for managing and improving all phases of driver and vehicle compliance and performance.

With an Internet-based dashboard, it delivers a real-time view of critical fleet information. Add our electronic on-board recorder (EOBR/ELD) to automate E-Logs, electronic DVIRs, and additional in-cab performance reporting.

There are several different editions of Encompass to choose from. Whether you're looking for a stand-alone compliant E-log solution or a premium system that offers complete compliance and performance management capabilities - we've got you covered.

MercuryGate

MercuryGate TMS is an enterprise level solution focused at the operations level to manage mission-critical logistics, planning, optimization, execution, and settlements. It provides common data and message sharing. This means that data is not duplicated across the Enterprise, and data-mapping expense is reduced or eliminated.

Users share a common execution platform and view the same data, at the same time, in the same format in a true operations level, collaborative environment. It is an excellent option for international, multi-modal, multi-leg shipments.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive software suite that is optimal for small-to-medium sized businesses. It’s an adaptable platform is ideal for growing companies whose needs are ever-changing.

Guilford Group is proud to partner with Microsoft and offer a full line of end-to-end solutions under the Dynamics umbrella. Spanning from ERP to sales & marketing software, we have a solution for any initiative your team may have. Guilford Group’s expertise in streamlining software to drive business processes will ensure that your new Microsoft Dynamics system is fully integrated and works hand in hand with legacy systems already in place.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE AND SEE WHAT GUILFORD GROUP’S PARTNERSHIPS CAN DO TO HELP POWER YOUR BUSINESS CHECK US OUT ONLINE OR GIVE LARRY WINTERS AT CALL AT (317) 814-1044.

Three Common ELD Mandate Myths: Debunked

Three Common ELD Mandate Myths: Debunked

The fourth quarter of 2017 is rapidly approaching which means that the clock is ticking to become compliant with the ELD Mandate going into place on December 18. In less than three months, every commercial vehicle on the road will be required to have an electronic logging device to record its hours of service.

Here at Guilford Group, we’ve been playing an active role in ensuring that our clients have an affordable option to become fully compliant. We’ve gotten a few recurring questions that have shaped this list of common misconceptions we’ve seen regarding the mandate.

 

Myth #1 - Having an AOBRD (automatic onboard recording device) installed in my fleet means that I am ELD compliant

This is FALSE. Having an AOBRD installed doesn't automatically qualify you for compliance, because the mandate requires more than basic AOBRD. The ELD Final Rule has more stringent capability and reporting requirements. That said, in certain cases AOBRD-equipped fleets have an additional 2 years to become compliant even after the December 18th deadline. We can help determine if you qualify for this exclusion.

 

Myth #2 - I already comply with the ELD Final Rule because I have a tracking app on driver phones (but no hardware installed directly in the vehicles in my fleet)

This is also FALSE. ELD compliance requires both software and hardware for tracking and must be FMCSA registered. The installation and management of these systems is a large component of what our team focuses on every single day.

 

Myth #3 - It's going to be expensive to purchase and install all of this new hardware for my fleet

Thankfully this is FALSE as well. Through our partnership with J. J. Keller, any transportation company can have access to this technology for between $24 and $50/truck/month. And compliance aside, the system is built to provide incredibly useful tools that help you manage your fleet easily, improve safety, and reduce cost.

For more information, we have a short white paper with more information on the ELD mandate and who is affected.  Click here for more information, or call us at (317) 814-1035 x600 to talk to an expert today!

Low Hanging Fruit: Risks not worth tolerating for a small-to-midsize financial firm

Based on nearly 30 years experience in IT in the financial services industry, I’m well aware that CIOs and COOs in investment management, wealth management, and financial services face massive amounts of risk and uncertainty.  Being an IT leader in this environment is more challenging than ever before. Smaller entities have different challenges compared to much larger financial services companies, such as: Limited budgets and resources, tight deadlines, and a complex regulatory landscape. However, in my experience, there are at least three types of risks that are not worth tolerating irrespective of size:  

1. Reconciliation. When dealing with multiple systems across different organizations, reconciliation processes catch any discrepancies between these systems. When your organization makes a trade, that may involve a broker/dealer and custodian, and your internal systems - then all tracking information (cusips, quantity, rates, dates, etc) must all be the same across all the systems.  Reconciliation will eliminate the issue of selling assets that the client does not own or buying securities against less cash.  Depending on the volatility in the market and volume of the trade, this may end up being a significant loss for a financial institution.  For example, if an average discrepancy of just $1.00 occurs for a stock sale of 10,000 shares an average of once a month, this poses a $120,000 loss over the course of a year. 

One best practice is to designate one system as the book of records (most likely the custodian’s system), and then reconcile all other systems to it at least once per day and ensure the opening holdings are accurate. The potential ideal solution is to sync all your systems in real time and track actual trades from bid to settlement, so a detailed record can be maintained for optimal cost savings and to satisfy regulatory compliance.

2. Remove Excel from your mission critical workflows. Often, managers, analysts, traders and back office personnel use Excel to record transactions and track prices. There are two critical drawbacks of this approach:

  • Difficulty of retracing prior trades and finding the correct files when needed.
  • Commonality of human errors when using Excel.

In my experience, Excel should only be used as a calculator, not a record keeper. One potential solution is to replace Excel with a clear system workflow that everyone follows which allows all actions to be entered into a database for easy traceability and regulatory compliance.

3. Pre-Trade Compliance:  Pre-trade compliance is the step that confirms compliance impact before a trade is executed. A financial institution should have an automatic notification if any rule (regulatory or client driven) will be violated. For example, a client may have a stipulation to not allow any one security to comprise more than 5% of their portfolio (including mutual funds, bonds, or ETFs).  If a particular trade is scheduled and has a small component of that security (to increase the holding over the 5% benchmark), your firm may risk losing the client.

In conclusion, with the myriad of challenges that a financial services CIO or COO faces, these are the areas that can be considered ‘low hanging fruit.’ If you have a challenge in the financial services sector and would like an expert, independent point of view, or would like to learn more about Guilford Group’s experience in the financial services sector, contact Rakesh Kapur (COO, 317.814.1040).

Guilford Group is a multi-discipline information technology consulting firm specializing in enterprise application development (mobile, web, and data analytics), IT project management, IT staffing, IT consulting, System integrations, and maintenance, support, and system upgrades. Guilford Group has built a 20+ year reputation for our integrity, accountability, personalized attention and commitment to excellence.

Guilford Group Releases Software that Shows How The Market Impacts Your Sales

Guilford Group Releases Software that Shows How The Market Impacts Your Sales

INDIANAPOLIS — Guilford Group, an Indianapolis-based software company, announced the launch of its new software, SalesForekast™. For the first time, companies can utilize a fresh new set of online analytical tools to support a forecasting process that has historically been expensive and cumbersome.

SalesForekast™ distinguishes itself from the competition by allowing companies to simply and affordably correlate their sales to macroeconomic indicators. Therefore, companies can gain an additional perspective on future sales based on trends that the economy is following.

Using SalesForekast™, private companies gain a competitive edge by understanding how their performance can be affected by broad economic and market trends.

Similarly, private equity investors can confirm prior to investing whether market trends will provide a tailwind or headwind in the near future. This allows investors to screen opportunities efficiently while reducing the risk of poor investments.

SalesForekast™ can be used effectively to look at forecasts for sales and market capitalization for public companies or their divisions. It reduces the time and expense typically required to perform market analysis and trend correlation at this level.

SalesForekast™ also enables access to Fortune 100 level forecasting for small and mid-sized companies with large customer bases.

“The sales forecasting and economic correlation tools available through this software gave me another view as compared to the internal ‘bottom up’ forecast. This equipped me with the information I needed to convince my board of the growth potential of the company.“ -Bill Midgette

“I have used this approach with a number of companies that I have invested in and found that there was an opportunity to provide a software package that would be helpful to companies and investors in order to improve their forecasting capabilities. The correlation with macroeconomic indicators provides another view of the world – at a very reasonable cost.” - Rahul Kapur

For a limited time, SalesForekast™ is offering a free 14-day trial that includes full access to their software.

For more information on SalesForekast™, watch the video overview or visit www.salesforekast.com.

About Guilford Group

Guilford Group is a multi-discipline information technology consulting firm based in Carmel, Indiana. We specialize in IT project management; enterprise application development with particular focus on mobile development, web applications and data analytics; IT staffing; system integrations; as well as maintenance, support and upgrading IT systems. Guilford Group has a reputation in the community for our integrity, accountability, personalized attention and commitment to excellence. Our forward-thinking and client-focused service sets Guilford Group apart from other IT Consulting firms. We can be highly competitive by leveraging our dedicated outsourcing capabilities.

Takeaways from the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association Annual Management Conference

Sometimes, all of the technology in the world is not a replacement for meeting people in-person. I had the good fortune of attending the Pennsylvania Motor Trucking Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia this past Thursday - Saturday. It was a jam-packed event, full of great speakers, excellent networking, and tons of fun!

For those who were not able to attend, my quick takeaways of each speaker are below.  

Friday: 

  • Leo Bagley from PennDot spoke about the enormous budgeting challenge associated with improving our roads and transportation infrastructure and the urgent need to overcome the talent gap in order for the industry to continue to thrive. 
  • Rep. Martina White, brought a real local flavor to the conference (Ms. White represents Northeast Philadelphia in the state legislature, has family ties to the trucking industry, and lives locally).  She encouraged those in the industry to more actively engage their local representatives to improve awareness of critical issues.  She gave the example of increasing the depth of the Philadelphia port to 45 feet, which expands the types of freight that can come to our docks.  
  • Megan Juday gave an extremely informative talk about the importance of succession planning in family businesses (which is the case for many small and medium trucking companies). Speaking from personal experience, she gave examples and practical advice on how to overcome the many operational and emotional challenges. Personally, my favorite piece of advice was to schedule an annual, in-person meeting to talk about family business (and have a little fun!) 
  • Author Brian Fielkow wrapped up the day's speakers by talking about the inextricable link between people & process and driving a positive culture, and the direct link to safety.  I'm sure I was not the only one who took notes on his down-to-earth, practical advice about how to build a safety culture in any company. I'm looking forward to reading his book, Leading People Safely: How to Win on the Business Battlefield

Saturday: 

  • Elisabeth Barna, the COO & EVP of Industry Affairs of the American Trucking Association, and Kevin Burch the ATA Chairman talked about the positive PR momentum from the President's visit earlier this year, their new mascot, and the many resources available to promote the trucking industry available from the ATA.  Kevin gave a great overview of current industry trends, including safety and the ELD mandate, and how the driver shortage is evolving.  Many people don't know that over 7 million Americans and 56% of our GDP are associated with the trucking industry. It's our job to make sure they don't forget it! 
  • Doug Marcelo, Trucking Defense Attorney gave an extremely engaging, informative, and funny (!) talk about the very serious topic of trucking litigation. I was amazed at the level of technology associated with reviewing accidents.  Hopefully, Doug's vivid real-life examples of how immediacy and technology (social media, video footage, drones, simulations, etc) served as a wake-up call to those in attendance on how to better protect drivers and trucking companies.  
  • Bill West, an industry veteran with over 30 years behind the wheel offered some salient tips on how drivers (and the companies that support them) can help promote health and wellness, through better eating, exercising, and rest.  He promoted the Healthy Fleet Challenge
  • Gary Johnson from Lytx followed Bill with an informative presentation about the evolution of technology in the trucking space, improvements in the safety ecosystem, and the complex interplay between humans, technology, and the environment. To me, his use of videos really brought to life the importance of training fleet drivers in how to use technology to improve operations (and not add risk).  
  • Finally, Susan Reszczynski from EROAD talked about the upcoming ELD legislation, including the differences between AOBRD and ELD, and some very practical tips on how to choose a reputable ELD supplier.  

Additionally, the PMTA organized several social and networking events, including trivia, a food tour of Philadelphia, and a Philadelphia "Founding Footsteps" trolley tour, wrapped up by a Chairman's banquet on Saturday night. I'm only disappointed that I didn't win the silent auction item I bid on! 

Kudos to PMTA for doing a great job assembling a wonderful group, both speakers and fellow attendees.  I'm looking forward to deepening the relationships I made... and I can't wait until next year.  

Rajat Kapur (Guilford Group Business Development)

Guilford Group is a custom software development firm with over 20 years experience in the transportation industry with customers such as CSX.  Our goal is to help transportation companies improve their productivity, reduce their regulatory risk (through ELD compliance), and improve their end customer's experience through better systems and technology.

Creating Value by Building Partnerships

Guest post by Rahul Kapur, Icon Investment Partners

Companies build partnerships essentially to find growth opportunities or for significant costsavings. For growth, the partnerships would add know-how, technology, products, geographies and / or customers. There are numerous types of partnerships and companies need to learn how to successfully leverage these. These make companies more agile. Partnerships can be of different types: from leveraging great suppliers, to a variety of licensing agreements to university programs, and consulting arrangements, etc. Companies need to be flexible, in their approach. The key is to find the capabilities and know-how that is needed.

 
 

Of course protecting yourself with NDAs and other arrangements is essential to ensure that IP is protected.

Technology partnerships come in many forms. Arrangements span project and resource management, co-development, licensing, joint development, and acquisitions.
Specifically technology partnerships can help
  • Expand existing capabilities
  • Develop current core competences to strengthen the company
  • Add new to the company capabilities necessary for growth into new business areas.
  • Bring new ideas and new thinking into the company.
  • Provide speed to market in highly competitive situations.
  • Allow for resource flexing of resources or cost savings


Customer Self-Service Improves Your Business Model

Guest post by Jim Muehlhausen, author of Business Models for Dummies

Those of us over forty remember the days when “customer service” meant someone attending to your every need. Gas station attendants pumped your gas, travel agents handled every aspect of your business trips, and you spent Saturday morning working with the friendly bank teller who handled your banking needs.

Today, a high level of customer service does not mean waiting hand and foot on the customer. The desires of the customer have changed. Speed and ease are the new benchmarks for service, not hand-holding. Most of us are glad to pump our own gas, fetch our own soda, or book our own travel if it accomplishes the task quickly and easily. It’s about “check next” not being waited upon. So how to savvy companies leverage this dynamic for competitive advantage?

Step 1 is to let go of the notion that personal service equals customer service. Speed and ease equal customer service these days and it doesn’t matter if it’s a computer, data, or an ATM that delivers it.

Step 2 is to make a list of all the data the customer might want.

Step 3 is to find a way to give it to them. For most companies, this means opening up internal data systems to customers. With the rapid adoption of mobile devices, the best way to jump ahead of the completion is to allow mobile access to internal data to customers. Before we go through some examples- one caveat. There are hundreds of potential options for data sharing, so let me shorten the list. Only consider options that lower costs AND increase service levels. This will eliminate all the “it would be nice” options.

Examples of opening up internal systems ..… that lowered costs AND increased service

If there is a theme to these opportunities, it falls under the heading “Remove Tolls”.  A toll booth operator prohibits you from driving down the road until you pay a toll. Many legacy customer service operations do the same thing. I simply want to know where my package is, but I have to call into someone who can answer the question and pay a “toll” with my time to find out. By tracking the nature of customer service inquiries, you can determine what “tolls” you have erected for your customers. Eliminate them via technology and self-service to gain an edge on the competition.

You can learn more about business model innovation on our blog www.businessmodelinstititue.com