November 2000, VOL 9, NO 3
PROGRESS AT WORK
By Betsey Showstack Young
Rapid growth comes with a price. For Toll Group, Australia's largest
transport carrier, five years of mergers and acquisitions left the
company with 13 disparate business units, each with its own information
Almost tripling in size over the past two years alone, Toll is now
integrating its businesses - and using Progress-based FACTS2000
to do it. FACTS2000 is a freight management and tracking system
developed by Carrier Logistics Inc. (CLI), a Progress Software ISV
that builds software solutions for the transportation industry.
Amid changing customer needs and a technology-driven market, Toll
wanted to turn its fragmented businesses into one integrated enterprise.
The company's goal was to compete even more aggressively than it
had in the past - by streamlining operations, slashing expenses,
and improving customer service, according to Steve Zangari, Toll's
IT project director.
"FACTS2000 will enable us to change how we do business,"
Zangari says. "It will support our process re-engineering and
new business practices. It will give us total visibility of our
operational data across our organization. And it will let us consolidate
information, analyze our performance, and make better business decisions."
The Toll Group was founded in 1888 when Albert Toll began hauling
coal with a horse and cart in Newcastle, Australia. Since then,
the Melbourne-based company has grown to be the largest integrated
multi-service carrier in the country, with sales of more than $1.36
billion (Australian) as of June 2000.
Toll offers a variety of transport services, including longhaul,
less-than-truckload, truckload, overnight, and parcel delivery.
Its 7,500 employees also provide warehousing, distribution, inventory
management and logistics, as well as rail, sea, and specialized
Following the recent acquisition of TNT's and Mayne Nickless' Australian
transport assets, Toll Group began implementing its new FACTS2000
system. Toll's plan is to install it on a business unit basis -
and ultimately unify management of its entire transportation network
by June 30, 2001. FACTS2000 runs on a host-based Sun E 10000 system,
configured to support 1,500 concurrent users on PCs using terminal
The first phase of implementation began in February and was completed
in July. It includes seven sites at Toll Tasmania, a business that
provides pick-up, delivery, and consolidation of freight to and
from Tasmania, a small island south of the Australian mainland.
Employees at all levels of the company will use FACTS2000 when
it is fully implemented. They range from telephone operators who
schedule pick-up and delivery, to fleet supervisors who dispatch
trucks, to Managing Director Paul Little, who uses data to make
With FACTS2000's mission-critical applications, Toll will share
pick-up, delivery, tracing, and billing information across the company
and within its vast network of suppliers and customers. "That
will enable Toll to leverage synergies such as combining deliveries,
consolidating invoices, and sharing equipment," Zangari says.
"By operating as one company, we hope to boost productivity,
save on expenses, and eventually reduce our prices while increasing
margins," he adds. "We also want to demonstrate to our
customers that we are a technology leader in our market."
A Toll selection team chose FACTS2000 and Progress after an extensive
search, first in Australia and New Zealand, and then in the United
States. "We narrowed our search to four systems built in the
U.S.," Zangari explains. "The functionality of the CLI
system was greater than any other we reviewed. And the Progress
platform was key."
Toll Managing Director Paul Little adds, "We are impressed
by Progress's reliability, speed, high performance, and user friendliness.
Progress also gives us the flexibility to custom-develop and modify
applications to fit the individual needs of our customers, and support
them in pursuing new business opportunities."
Before implementing FACTS2000, Toll used several versions of five
incompatible management systems, each operating independently, across
its 13 business units. Some customers received several deliveries
a day. And others were sent up to 11 different invoices every billing
period. "Now we will be able to consolidate our invoicing and
achieve 99.5% consistency in our charges," Zangari says.
According to Little, "the trends toward fresh food delivery,
Internet shopping, and just-in-time manufacturing have led to a
shift away from conventional methods of retailing, warehousing,
and distribution. They have prompted our customers and their suppliers
to reduce their inventory and replenish stock quickly."
He adds, "customers now require smaller deliveries more often,
reliable pick-up and delivery schedules, and the ability to track
products at all stages. With FACTS2000 and the underlying Progress
technology, we'll be able to offer all those services more cost
CLI Vice President Ken Weinberg stresses that FACTS2000 will give
Toll a competitive advantage. "Today carriers are not just
competing on how they move freight, but on how they use technology
to move data and track information."
The flexibility and speed of Progress have enabled CLI and Toll
to customize FACTS2000 at a reasonable cost, Weinberg says. "We
can tailor our applications to fit Toll's particular needs both
today and tomorrow as its organization grows and customer demands
Our applications include wireless communications, Web enabling,
and imaging," Weinberg continues. "And we are adapting
FACTS2000 to handle the specific terminology and tax requirements
of an Australian enterprise."
FACTS2000 is giving Toll a core system that it can build other technology
around, Zangari points out. The company is using other software
from CLI and LINX , another Progress ISV, as well as building its
own Progress and WebSpeed applications. They are all integrated
In partnership with LINX, Toll developed its own rating system
for the Australian market. This highly structured system is designed
to fully automate the billing process, based on each customer's
specific freight requirements.
Also with LINX, Toll is developing an incident-management module
to help the company respond to problems in the field.
Toll recently rolled out CLI's ROUTRONICS in its Toll Express
business to help determine the best routes to transport freight
to and from customers.
Toll is using WebSpeed for Web applications at Removals Australia,
its e-business providing removal management and brokerage services.
In the future, Zangari says, Toll plans to use WebSpeed to develop
software for on-line customer pick-up requests and tracking, rate,
and billing inquiries. The company also plans to use Progress SonicMQ
to develop its own mobile data and messaging solution.
In addition, Zangari reports, FACTS2000 and WebSpeed will provide
a foundation for Toll to build a transportation portal under a new
division called Toll Technologies. There, Toll plans to provide
a business-to-business supply chain for e-commerce in the transportation
industry. Companies will be able to find a range of information
on transportation and logistics, as well as buy and sell services.
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