JIT-Express has been a pioneer in the demanding business of truckload and expedited shipping with decades of knowledge, experience, and service levels amongst some of the highest in the industry. A one-stop shipping resource founded in 2001, JIT-EX is committed to exceeding expectations by adapting to customer needs through constant research and development.
The company has adapted to every economic change in the past few decades, all the while keeping extremely tight service schedules, high levels of security, and offering numerous service capabilities with some of the most competitive pricing available. Their secure over-the-road network assures that all shipments arrive intact and on time.
As a regional truckload carrier, JIT-EX has grown to 250 employees serving a variety of customers and hauling an assortment of goods across the United States. Everyone in the organization is hands-on, according to the VP of Operations Ben Harrison, who started out dispatching and is also a certified driver. Today, Ben works to develop a strong foundation for JIT-EX — building infrastructure, training supervisors, and implementing more efficient processes.
The company continues to expand throughout the southeast region of the U.S. With a home office in Memphis and terminals in Nashville and Atlanta, many of JIT-EX's drivers are in constant transit, making it challenging to streamline operations in regards to time off tracking. Employees lacked the convenience to submit a time off request digitally, and multiple steps were required to communicate upcoming absences or confirm approvals.
"With a manual process the drivers don't know if you really approved their time off request or not, unless you call them and say that you approved it." - Ben
Photo courtesy of JIT-Express
With a mix of stationary office employees, shop personnel, and drivers on the road, the process for submitting, approving, and tracking PTO requests proved time-consuming for Ben and his team. Having each employee submit time-off requests via a paper form was not only inefficient, but presented a high potential for miscommunication.
"We had paper request forms that would tend to get lost or turned in at the last minute. Then, the employee didn't show up for work, and now you're trying to figure out why." - Ben
JIT-EX's operations require continuous information sharing of an employee's schedule and attendance. Logistically this data is vital to the business operations, but it's also necessary for the Memphis home office to correctly update payroll.
"It was all manually done. There was no auto-renew, and you had to calculate in your head how many hours an employee had, physically typing in every time they took a day off. If you forgot one, then you would go back and search their settlements and see how many times they got paid for vacation. It was really a cumbersome process." - Ben
Photo courtesy of JIT-Express
Ben and his team tracked employee attendance, late arrivals, and time off requests in numerous spreadsheets. With an employee's bonus tied to attendance, these records needed to remain up-to-date and accurate. To complicate the process, JIT-EX's office employees had a different system than the drivers of the organization.
"Every time someone was late or called in, we kept that information on one spreadsheet, we kept vacation time on another spreadsheet and office staff payroll on another." - Ben
JIT-EX has a variety of time off policies assigned to office employees, shop personnel, and drivers, who all work different hourly schedules. Each policy is unique to the employees it serves and requires a customizable reset date each year. All vacation and salary sick time are renewed based on an employee's anniversary date. All call-ins and late arrivals are tied to the company's bonus system and checked every quarter based on the company's calendar year. That company calendar is non-standard starting in November. Ben admits that while they managed to make it work, the system was complicated.
Ben and a team of administrators are responsible for keeping records up-to-date across multiple departments and locations. With expansion and growth comes additional employees to track and more complicated spreadsheets. In search of a streamlined process for JIT-EX, Ben found Built for Teams.
"Implementing Built for Teams makes us more efficient, with better processes, so we're not spinning our wheels with nine different spreadsheets." - Ben
Built for Teams has simplified procedures that were once manual for JIT-EX. One improvement is the ability to set customizable reset dates per policy. Each policy automatically renews on a specified date set by the company, leaving the calculations to the system and generating a variety of useful reports for the company. JIT-EX also utilizes Built for Teams to automate an increase in the employee's hours earned when they reach designated anniversary dates. After reaching the one, three, and ten-year service milestones, the system takes care of those increases. With manual procedures, there is always a risk of miscalculation or a missed anniversary date. The Built for Teams' system allows managers to offload the responsibility of keeping track of anniversary dates and policy reset dates while providing transparency to employees regarding the hours they earn.
JIT-EX needed a unified calendar that allows filtering by location and department. Before utilizing Built for Teams, the Atlanta and Nashville sites preferred maintaining an individual terminal calendar. However, each location was still required to report any paid time off used by an employee on a master Exchange calendar to update payroll. With customizable calendar settings and the use of filters, the company now maintains all information on a single calendar. For the Memphis home office, all records are readily available and each location can specify the view they share with each employee.
"With the Built for Teams calendar, you can easily see everything together all in one place, and it's really fantastic." - Ben
Built for Teams PTO Tracking
As the VP of Operations, Ben is committed to growing JIT-EX with efficient processes in place. Moving from a familiar manual process to a digital platform may intimidate some companies, but Ben feels he has continual support while implementing and maintaining a new tool.
"Built for Teams' customer support has been great because I can't tell you how many times you buy other software products and then it's, ‘Good luck!’" - Ben
Under Ben's leadership, JIT-Express continues to make significant improvements. After a decade with JIT-EX, he is a true believer in investing in tools that positively impact operations. His advice to other industry professionals is clear: don't hesitate to make a change.
"The longer you spend your time disorganized, chasing down multiple spreadsheets and manually inputting information, is the less time you have to plan and prepare for growth." - Ben