What does an Operations planner do? At Atlas, he or she builds trips, origin to destination, for the transport of goods. A planner must match an ever-changing array of equipment and personnel with loads of varying sizes bound for places all over the map. It’s a complex process, much like a three-dimensional board game with pieces in continual motion. However, it is getting much simpler, thanks to a new application from Atlas IT.
“Many of our agent planners had figured out a way to combine shipments on their own, but it was cumbersome,” says Ryan Parmenter, Director, IT Development. “They needed a better tool.”
Ryan and his team developed AtlasNet® Planning Manager so each agent can configure their own view of shipments, essentially filtering out the noise and clutter to focus more clearly on shipments that are of interest to them.
“For example, say there are 100 available shipments,” says Ryan. “It may only be practical for a planner to consider 30 of those. Now they can set their view definitions geographically, by type of business and/or kinds of equipment, and according to the van operators they are assigned to build loads for.”
When Planning Manager went live in early January, it brought an important, immediate benefit.
“Because there were no tools to allow agent planners to easily combine shipments into a trip, there was not a reliable way for Atlas Operations to see what was in a trailer," says Ryan. "Now, Atlas Operations has that visibility, and that means better capacity management.”
More Goodies On the Way
Planning Manager is slated for several upgrades this year. Among these are an easier means of viewing available tonnage, located within the tool itself, and more reliable data updating to better reflect reality. Users will see the geographic locations of van operators with potentially available capacity.
“Planning Manager is a valuable systems advancement,” says Ryan.
“With better visibility and capacity management, Atlas planners and agent planners can more easily determine good hauling solutions for customers.”
Do You Portal?
To make transactions easier, Atlas introduced a web portal for consumers in 2017, the Atlas Customer Portal. Customers have the capability to make a credit card payment through the tool and will soon have the option to pay with e-check. Forthcoming enhancements include the option to get push notifications when key shipment events occur (e.g., survey date, packing date, PVO assigned) and access to information about the PVO assigned to handle the move.
Now, portal power is coming to corporate clients as well. A corporate client dashboard will provide easy access to reporting on shipments, claims, and payment information. Want to know how much a particular employee’s move will cost? A self-service estimating tool will let a corporate client user quickly see.
Customers can learn more or create an account at: Portal.AtlasVanLines.com