$300M Shipper Builds Its Own IT SystemBy Jacqueline Emigh | Posted 2005-03-14 Email Print
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Dynamex, now the largest same-day document shipper in North America, is dropping shrink-wrapped order processing software in favor of a homegrown, highly customizable enterprise IT system.
When a company outgrows its core application package, surprising choices sometimes spring up.
After turning into the largest same-day document shipper in North America, Dallas, Texas-based Dynamex Inc. has opted to swap its old shrink-wrapped order processing system from Datatrac for an enterprise IT platform built in-house, according to Andy Argento, the shipper's vice president of IS.
A distribution module for DECS (Dynamex Enterprise Computer System) has already gone live.
Now, Dynamex will start to add GPS, route optimization, bar-code scanning and signature-scanning features across a series of customized order management, dispatch, and administrative applications, Argento said, in an interview with eWEEK.com.
Commercial elements of the Java-enabled homegrown system will include an enterprise database from Oracle Corp; Oracle financial applications; and a CRM (customer relationship management) system from Siebel Systems Inc., for example.
Dynamex first undertook DECS about three years ago, working with outside consultants at first.
"But our requirements were pretty unique, and [the consultants] underestimated the scale of what we were trying to do. So we kept missing [development] deadlines," Argento said.
When Dynamex and the consultants parted ways, three senior developers at the same-day shipping firm took over all the development work.
But Argento is convinced that the move from COPSDatatrac's order management system for the courier industryhas been well worth the time and trouble.
"COPS is really designed for the $3 [million] to $5 million 'Mom and Pop courier' business. It does a great job there. But as it turns out, COPS is not for what we've now become: a $300 million enterprise," he told eWEEK.com.
COPS is still Unix- and character-based, with file-size limitations, Argento said.
Why did Dynamex settle on COPS to begin with, anyway?
"We'd started to grow rapidly through acquisition. Over a four- or five-year period, we made about 80 [company buyouts]. At one point, we had something like 13 different accounting systems running on 10 different platforms. The largest percentage were on COPS, so it seemed to make sense to bring [Datatrac] in."
Argento expects DECS to give Dynamex much more flexibility for creating custom applications for same-day document delivery.
"Same-day delivery is where our roots are, anyway," he said. But meanwhile, he also believes the new system will support recent forays by the company into the hard goods side of logistics.
Over the past few years, e-mail has been cutting into traditional document delivery, Argento said.
So Dynamex is now diversifying into outsourced fleet management for small to midsize businesses, as well as into medical transport of goods such as specimens and doctors' records.
"Doctors and lawyers don't make good logisticians. It isn't their business. We say, 'We can take this off of you. We know how to hire and recruit drivers, and we know how to mitigate risk.' It's a pretty easy sale," the Dynamex executive told eWEEK.com.
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