Western Rivers Boat Management, a family-owned business established in 1996, provides towing, crewing and management services for the inland marine industry. Vessels operated by Western Rivers transport barges loaded with rock, steel and grain for their customers, which are located along the inland river systems of the United States. The company currently operates 35 towboats and harbor tugs and will soon expand its staff to include over 400 individuals.
The Challenge: Maximize System Uptime
Technology is central to every aspect of the business’ operations. Western Rivers operates paperlessly relying on TowWorks to assist them with their billing, reporting, logging, scheduling and dispatching needs. Rose Point ECS Electronic Charting and Navigation Software is in use by all boats to improve operational efficiency, situational awareness, and decision making.
Each boat Western Rivers has in operation acts as a floating, moving office. Dependable, consistent communication and transfer of information from each boat to the company’s shoreside office located in Paducah, Kentucky is critical to keep business moving both efficiently and profitably. System downtime threatens to impose significant impacts on the business. A delay in transmission of a sales order, for example, could result in a missed customer pickup. A single missed pickup could cost the company tens of thousands of dollars.
Recognizing the crucial role technology plays, Western Rivers sought the services of Kalleo Technologies to improve, expand and support an IT infrastructure to keep their business afloat.
The Solution: Kalleo Managed IT Support Services with Help Desk Support
Kalleo Technologies provides managed IT support services with help desk support to Western Rivers’ shoreside office and vessels. Using a sophisticated set of tools, Kalleo proactively monitors Western Rivers’ network to prevent problems from occurring. IT maintenance tasks are automated and deployed without disruption to the end user or business operations. Help desk support is provided by Kalleo’s help desk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for issues that cannot be prevented.
The Result: Managed Scalability and Growth
“We chose Kalleo Technologies due to their demonstrated commitment to the marine transportation industry and their desire to be a partner, not a vendor, to my company,” states Jason Strait, Co-Owner of Western Rivers. “Kalleo does not tell us what we are going to do in terms of our technology. They invest the time to meet with us regularly, understand our goals, and develop a plan that we work together to ensure we get all we need from our technology.”
Kalleo’s understanding of the marine transportation industry has been instrumental in Kalleo’s ability to provide timely support. “Timing is everything,” says Kent Barlow, Safety and Regulations Coordinator. “System downtime can cause us to miss picking up or dropping off a barge resulting in thousands of dollars of lost revenue. Kalleo technicians’ understanding of how our boat systems work has made troubleshooting and problem solving efficient, streamlining Kalleo’s response time to our needs and minimizing any downtime we may experience.”
Western Rivers also credits Kalleo in being instrumental in the company’s ability to scale. “We have grown significantly in the last three years,” explains Strait. “Kalleo has been in lock step with us. They are willing to invest the man hours requested to support my organization and have demonstrated their determination to get the job done. Kalleo’s support has saved us time and money by eliminating strain and man hours that would have been required of my internal staff to ensure our IT efforts were managed adequately and communication of our goals remained clear.”
This year Western Rivers Boat Management will be opening a new, remote fleeting operation. There will be no shoreside office in the target region to support the fleet. Near 100% uptime will be required for this floating office. Kalleo will be there helping Jason and his team to meet this need, and all the technology needs a growing organization like them will encounter as they press forward.