Technology

Automation Needed in Recession

Posted on August 21, 2009 by Thi Dao

In a tough economy, wasting time equals squandering money. Eddie McCoy, founder and president of FASTTRAK reservation and management software, is well aware of this, and stresses that automation of simple tasks has become an important factor in creating efficiency, saving money, and succeeding as a company.

After 14 years of service in the livery industry, McCoy set out to develop a program that was affordable and would fit the needs of his and other chauffeured transportation companies. Now in its 11th edition, FASTTRAK software works to automate everyday tasks to free up employee time for other demands.

"It's more important now than it's ever been because people are looking for cost effective ways to organize," McCoy says. "Today, an electronic submission of a job to me as an owner or operator means a $6 savings per transaction."

McCoy points out that this doesn’t mean reducing the number of employees. Instead, he advises that employers use it to create more managerial positions in order to ensure jobs are carried out, to stay on top of the data, and to follow up with clients. “The end result should be that by managing more effectively, your business gets better,” he says.

Software Features

Since its creation, FASTTRAK has been available in a simple, downloadable software. A 30-day trial time allows the client to try it out with all the features before deciding whether to purchase it. FASTTRAK software does not come in modules, and one purchase includes all features.

The software is designed for fleets of all sizes. Features include reservation dispatch, billing, paging, automatic credit card processing, flight tracking, GPS, vehicle tracking, and text messaging. In order to use the features, clients only need to ensure that the receiving end has a text-enabled device, or contract with a flight tracking company, or any necessary agreements with service providers.

"I incorporated the technology," McCoy says. "They just have to buy the data."

Online Booking

FASTTRAK also offers a separate online booking website, MyBizTrips.com. Started when many limousine companies did not have their own websites, it can now be incorporated into an existing site, transmitting information to the FASTTRAK network system without staff input. MyBizTrips was designed for the ease of the chauffeur companies’ repeat clients. Its features include immediate booking and confirmation for the corporate traveler, live status updates, and tiered security to block or allow access to travelers or bookers in the company or department, which allows for grouping and easier management.

"You want to give [your client] the tools it takes to keep them successful as well," McCoy says. He adds that the booking and management tool gives his clients a competitive advantage, and that companies used to the convenience of the software will not settle for a competitor without it.

Future Improvements

McCoy is developing a new FASTTRAK to be built on the same technology as the new Windows 7. He expects it to be ready by early 2010. "It's going to have the same things it has now, but better. And it’s going to have as much automation as my clients can stand," McCoy says.

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