How Traffix’s digital transformation places partners and people at the heart
For more than 40 years, Traffix has provided comprehensive third-party logistics and transportation solutions to customers across North America and established itself as a true market leader. Key to the company’s continued success had been a strong vision that places its customers, carriers and internal teams at the forefront of everything it does. The company describes itself as ‘the transportation people’ and this in particular continues to be a true competitive advantage at a time where technology has completely redefined the industry over the last decade.
Carlos Trivino joined Traffix back in 2014 as Director of IT for the company, bringing with him an extensive history of experience in transportation, logistics and technology implementation. He joined the company with a simple mission of looking at how Traffix could increasingly utilize technology to better serve its customer base and he admits that joining Traffix was almost a no-brainer. “I had done some consulting with Traffix and after a while I just felt that it was a great company,” he says. “It’s a privately held company and has some key partners within the company that know the business very well and have been extremely successful. Over time, as Traffix has grown and evolved, my role now looks at the technology partnerships, ensuring that software and hardware partners are vetted and align to what we want to achieve as a company.”
In 2018, Traffix experienced significant growth as its existing user base of 60-70 users skyrocketed to close to 300 users at any given time. This placed extreme pressure on the company as its existing technology architecture was only capable of handling the original number of users. This prompted the company to invest and embark on a digital transformation which would see Traffix respond to this growth spurt and be ready to experience further growth in the future. “We had to make a quick decision as to what type of technology we wanted and needed and what we were going to leverage to achieve our goal, which is to be one of the top logistics companies in Canada,” says Trivino.
Key to this growth plan, and to Trivino’s own remit, was striking strategic partnerships with technology vendors which could accelerate Traffix’s growth –this is where the company turned to Gibraltar Solutions and Trimble Transportation and Logistics (TMW). As a leading Canadian technology provider, Gibraltar Solutions recommended Nutanix hyperconverged cloud infrastructure. Nutanix will allow Traffix to leverage cloud-based technology to effectively monitor and manage a 24/7 operation across its entire footprint. It also allows Trivino and his IT team to “focus more on the user experience and performance, rather than worrying about the technology and troubleshooting X or Y”, notes Trivino. “We focus on the things that really matter and that allows us to drive true value across the organization.”
Traffix also leverages Citrix’s digital workspace to deliver applications, which allows the company to have greater access to and understanding of data flow. Trivino recognizes this as a key trend across the industry. He notes that companies and users were satisfied with “minimal” information, but in recent years customers are demanding more information and visibility and accurate data within their systems. “They want to be able to do more analytics on their side so that they can realize greater cost savings and performance,” he says. “The information would historically be accessed by a server or a PC but now it’s about remote desktops and hyper converged technology, which is where Citrix comes into play. The technology through Citrix makes the data flow faster and more efficient than ever before, not only for end users to be able to access but for us to be able to produce that information.” In addition to Citrix Workspace, Traffix, with Gibraltar’s assistance, also deployed Citrix SD-WAN, a next generation WAN edge platform that provides high performance and consistent application delivery to its branch offices. Within the branch, Citrix SD-WAN also consolidated expensive routing and security hardware, simplifying network management and reducing costs.
In order to monitor and understand this information flow it requires a comprehensive and proven multi-modal dispatch, operations and accounting system that truly enables efficiency and scalability. This is where TMW, through its TruckMate solution, has been instrumental. “Trimble Transportation is pleased to be a critical part of the technology and application backbone helping to fuel Traffix's explosive growth,” says Harald Fritz, Vice President, TruckMate. “Traffix's collaboration and partnership drive continuous improvement within the TruckMate TMS including Command Center, CRM, Agent Mobile Solution and several complimentary, 3rd party software solutions. Embedded business intelligence (BI) capabilities and KPIs provide critical data into the entire decision continuum, from Sales through execution to billing and the company's accounting and financials. Traffix is one of the most innovative brokerage and logistics providers always challenging themselves and us to capitalize on new opportunities."
When it comes to scalability, the Nutanix platform holds the key to Traffix’s technology transformation, as it enables the company to stack and grow without “ripping everything out and buying a new Storage Area Network (SAN)”. Through Nutanix, Citrix, Gibraltar Solutions and of course TMW, Traffix can invest and put more resources into its infrastructure as the business continues its rapid growth with a significantly lower up-front cost. For Trivino, it represents the value both he and the company place in the relationships Traffix looks to strike on its continuous growth journey. “We look to partner with people that want to grow together with us. If we succeed, the partner succeeds and so over time they become strategy partners with us.”
With vast amounts of data and greater access to that data, the conversation inevitably turns towards security. Traffix is investing heavily in cloud solutions and automated technology, but how does it ensure that this data is being stored securely and that customers can trust the company with sensitive information? Traffix has a wide number of monitoring systems that look closely at system behavior. Should the system behavior seem out of turn or erratic, then it creates an email response to the personal and alerts them to it. Citrix also plays a key role in the security of data, securing laptops and servers when out of use to mitigate the risk of data leaks. Trivino notes that restructuring the technology architecture of the company provided him with an opportunity to look a little closer at how Traffix could better monitor the security of its data and effectively build in a new level of threat protection.
As the company continues to explore the possibilities of technology, the very core of the business remains the same. Part of the very reason Trivino joined the company was the way it invests in its people, and while Traffix introduces more new technology, such as automation, to its operations, these people will always remain key. “We always like to leverage the people that have been with the business a long time. Some have been here many years; others are new. Each and every person brings a lot of value to the company,” he says. “In the artificial intelligence (AI) space, we are looking at the repetitive nature of capturing information and removing the person from that and moving them into a role that will bring a different but more important value to the business.”
“We can strategically place them somewhere where we can use their years of experience in another area, and they can focus more on the company itself.” Trivino points to an example where the business would place an employee in a Team Lead role and support new people coming in, helping them get to grips with the technology and overall Traffix operations. “They are teaching the new employees and helping them understand that this is how we operate, this is how we do things, and basically overseeing that department and letting go of that repetitive task that is very mundane,” he adds.
Traffix’s digital transformation journey shows no signs of slowing down. In line with the company’s growth ambitions, Traffix will continue to invest and adopt innovative technologies in order to continue to achieve rapid growth and process information. 2018 proved a pivotal year for achieving this as the company focused on investing in its network infrastructure, laying down the foundation for the company’s digital future. “What we're focusing on now is the user facing and customer facing technology, so more software development and more integration between key partners,” says Trivino. “Each partner has different types of software that we can leverage from and so we will look more at getting that data into our system, and vice versa, to be able to give our end customer the information that they need a lot quicker.”