TOPS – Software of choice for Truck and Track
Since its formation in 2002, Fargo Systems’ TOPS transport management system has been revolutionising the truck and track industry. Keeping up with ever-increasing globalisation, Fargo remains on top of its game, developing innovative logistic solutions that offer both attractive efficiencies and cost-savings to the intermodal industry. While delivering unsurpassed real-time data across the supply chain – from hauliers to end clients alike.
Steve Collins, director, says of the TOPS solutions: “Today’s global marketplace couldn’t function without real-time information. The take-up of our innovative range of products means we’re proud to call over 80% of the UK’s significant container transporters our clients. Working in 21 countries across Europe and beyond and supporting over 1,750 users daily.”
TOPS typically enables the industry to; manage quay time, detention and demurrage. It allows users to transport plan and execute with live status, GPS and ePOD capture. Its capabilities also include creating non-conformance, fleet and subcontractor management reports and splitting jobs for accurate planning, splitting and subsequent cost management of road, rail and sea legs.
“But,” says Steve, “We also work hard to ensure our technology is competitively priced to suit a client’s business model. With a significant amount of our customers categorised as SMEs, and all working hard to maintain a competitive edge, it’s incumbent on us to support those that choose to work with us.
“First and foremost, it’s about understanding customers’ operations. This then enables us to deliver market-driven business solutions that offer improved management, processes and efficiencies.
“TOPS can take care of customer invoicing, supplier purchase orders/invoices and rate confirmation for subcontractors. If you’re looking for full profit and loss reporting and analysis, it can deliver that too. Not that many years ago, such capabilities from one system would have been unthinkable, but new technologies such as ours keep our global economy moving.”
Fargo Systems pre-eminent position in the industry means it’s entirely possible that a single container import could touch four or more TOPS and CYMAN systems, rail terminals managed by CYMAN, road and rail planned by TOPS and tracked by ‘TOPS…on the go’ or TOPS ePOD. For example, a shipping line or forwarder managing the import in TOPS may choose to rail the container and send the rail ‘trunk’ of the job electronically via EDI to a rail provider. The road delivery ‘leg’ of the job would be sent via EDI to a haulier, who may use a subcontractor for delivery, again sending the job electronically by EDI. All parties could be using TOPS, with automatic updates flowing through the supply chain to provide real-time updates to each party and the end client.
Steve continues: “These days our client base includes shipping lines, forwarders, retailers, hauliers, subcontractors and rail companies on the TOPS transport management system.
“Plus, container yards, terminals, and container sales and leasing companies use our comprehensive equipment management solution, CYMAN. At the end of last year, the capabilities of CYMAN and TOPS resulted in both being confirmed as the operating systems of choice for iPort Rail, the new intermodal rail freight facility at iPort Logistics Park in Doncaster.
“As the UK’s first new inland rail freight hub for a decade, securing this contract was a real coup for us. Moreover, the key to our systems being specified was our ability to provide iPort immediate access to relevant supply chain links and interfaces.”
Andy Wishart, operations manager at iPort Rail, adds: “As a new facility with a newly established team, we not only valued Fargo’s product expertise but also their extensive knowledge of industry practice, which then helped us to refine our processes. What sets Fargo apart is the fact that they become an integral part of your business and they can be both reactive to, and mindful of, your business procedures.”
In conclusion, Steve Collins says: As well as our off the shelf suite of products delivered with a personal service; we also develop tailored solutions to meet the precise needs of clients operating across a hugely diverse range of markets. Yes, live data is a prerequisite of the global times in which we live, but our mission remains to provide IT solutions that transform how our customers – large and small – do business.