By Peter High. Published on Fobres.
Schneider National’s CEO Chris Lofgren describes the company’s relationship with innovation in the following way: “Innovation and technology are in our DNA. Our success and long-term success are dependent on aligning the flow of information through technology and making it available to people so they understand the implications of the decisions they make. That’s at the heart of operational excellence and who we really are.” Lofgren is a former chief information officer of the company. The current member of the team with that title is Shaleen Devgun. He and his team focus not only on ways to drive efficiency through the operation, but, importantly, they also focus on revenue-driving innovation, as well.
Case in point is the company’s In-Cab Telematics toolset. This is an area that has been core, largely driven through a partnership with Qualcomm that goes back multiple decades. Dependence on a single vendor was deemed too risky to be a sustainable model. Devgun and his team got to work on a a multivendor transportation marketplace with consumer grade tablets, Internet-of-Things devices, and apps. The results are noted below, and they are the basis for Devgun to be named a Forbes CIO Innovation Award winner.
Peter High: Please describe the innovative idea that you and your team in IT pursued. Please be specific, including the steps you undertook to implement the idea(s).
Shaleen Devgun: Schneider is a pioneer in telematics innovation, beginning in 1989, with its partnership with Qualcomm to create the first in-cab two-way satellite communication system. This innovation was a strategic differentiator for Schneider, but it eventually led to a critical operational risk: Dependence on one vendor. This monolithic, single purpose-built system was installed in tens of thousands of tractors and trailers, any transition would be difficult.
Schneider’s TECH team stepped in and mitigated this risk and simultaneously created a multivendor transportation marketplace. We replaced the purpose-built system with consumer grade tablets, Internet-of-Things devices and apps. Our transportation marketplace is filled with custom Schneider apps and apps from third-party providers.