Iowa 80 fuels collaboration with IBM Lotus software

Published on 26-May-2010

Validated on 14 Jan 2014

"With Lotus Quickr, our business teams, technical staff and truck stop employees located across the country all can share and access information quickly and easily." - Burke Strand, Network Manager, Iowa 80 Group

Customer:
Iowa 80 Group

Industry:
Travel & Transportation, Wholesale Distribution & Services

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Social Business for Knowledge Sharing and Innovation, Social Business

IBM Business Partner:
Innovative Ideas Unlimited, Inc.

Overview

When it opened in 1964, Iowa 80 Truckstop was a small facility located off a newly constructed interstate in a rural region. Today, Iowa 80 Group owns more than 13 U.S. truck stop locations that feature fueling islands, service centers, truck washing facilities, CAT Scale weighing services, restaurants and massive stores. The company also produces a mail order catalog and runs an e-commerce Web site.

Business need:
Build a robust environment for communication and collaboration among multiple truck stop locations and offices

Solution:
Iowa 80 Group deployed a full range of IBM® Lotus® software for communication and collaboration, including Lotus Symphony™ as a cost-effective alternative to Microsoft Office

Benefits:
Created a collaborative environment for sharing sales data, inventory information, required permits and point-of-sale collateral; Enabled truck stop managers to tap the skills of other managers online; Avoided the cost of purchasing Microsoft products for more than 100 computers, saving up to US$500 per machine

Case Study

When it opened in 1964, Iowa 80 Truckstop was a small facility located off a newly constructed interstate in a rural region. Today, Iowa 80 Group owns more than 13 U.S. truck stop locations that feature fueling islands, service centers, truck washing facilities, CAT Scale weighing services, restaurants and massive stores. The company also produces a mail order catalog and runs an e-commerce Web site.

Iowa 80 Group needs efficient ways to communicate, produce documents and share information among its corporate offices and multiple truck stop locations. “Efficient communication and collaboration are essential for our business,” says Burke Strand, network manager at Iowa 80 Group. “Our head office needs rapid access to information about fuel sales, truck wash revenue and merchandise sales to ensure timely replenishment and accurate accounting. At the same time, individual truck stop operators need ways to communicate with each other and share documents so they don’t have to duplicate efforts.”

The company also requires productivity software that is easy to learn and can provide a cost-effective alternative to Microsoft® Office applications. “Like any business, we need the tools to produce word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations,” says Strand. “But with more than 100 desktops across the enterprise, we decided to adopt a more cost-effective alternative to Microsoft products.”

Iowa 80 turns to Lotus Notes and Domino for efficient communication

To facilitate communication, increase productivity, and foster collaboration among its numerous locations, Iowa 80 Group uses a full array of IBM® Lotus® software supplied by IBM Business Partner Innovative Ideas Unlimited, Inc. The Lotus enterprise software runs on IBM System i® servers while truck scale applications run in a Microsoft Windows® environment on IBM System x® servers.

IBM Lotus Notes® and Lotus Domino® offer efficient e-mail communication and provide easy access to key information. “Our truck stop managers can use Lotus Notes to find contact information for all the vendors they use to run their business. With Lotus Notes, information is all in one place,” says Strand. “We also keep current information on the status of truck scales in Lotus Notes, so our managers can determine whether they need to call service technicians.”

The Iowa 80 Group has integrated BlackBerry Enterprise Server with Lotus Domino to provide managers with fast access to e-mail and real-time information that can affect the business. “Fuel prices can change quickly. By using BlackBerry Enterprise Server with Lotus Domino, our truck stop managers can get up-to-the-minute updates on fuel prices so they can buy fuel at precisely the right moment,” says Strand. “They also receive reminders when shared documents are updated, so they can stay informed without having to be chained to their desktops.”

Lotus Symphony provides a cost-effective productivity suite

The company chose Lotus Symphony as a cost-effective platform for producing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. “Lotus Symphony lets us accomplish all of our office tasks—like creating spreadsheets on fuel prices—without the high costs of Microsoft licensing,” says Strand. “The applications are also easy to learn. Our truck stop managers don’t have time to learn new software. With Lotus Symphony, the software interfaces are very intuitive.”

Iowa 80 creates a collaborative environment with Lotus Quickr

By providing an enterprise work space and document management capabilities, IBM Lotus Quickr™ has helped the company build a robust environment for sharing information. “With Lotus Quickr, our business teams, technical staff and truck stop employees located across the country all can share and access information quickly and easily,” says Strand. “Managers at our headquarters office can collect sales data easily to help ensure accurate accounting and make sure stores have the right merchandise on the shelves. At the same time, individual truck stop managers can access shared logs on fuel prices,” says Strand. “Lotus Quickr also lets us share signs and other point-of-sale collateral so we can ensure consistent branding across locations while saving individuals the time and money of creating their own materials. All they need is a color printer.”

Truck stop managers also can use Lotus Quickr to quickly provide inspectors with reports from the shared work space. “If a state inspector comes to one of our locations and needs to see a permit or other paperwork, the location manager can open up Lotus Quickr and print the appropriate document right away,” says Strand.

Truck stop managers find answers fast with Lotus Sametime

The company uses the skill tap capabilities of the IBM Lotus Sametime® broadcast tools to help truck stop operators get quick answers to technical questions from their peers at other locations. “If one of our managers needs to find out how to fix a truck scale, he can log in to the tech area on Lotus Sametime to see if another company employee is online and available to help,” says Strand. “Now our managers don’t have to make multiple phone calls to get information—they can ask multiple people at once and get answers right away.”

Iowa 80 Group enhances collaboration and saves thousands

By installing Lotus software instead of Microsoft products on more than 100 desktops, Iowa 80 has avoided tens of thousands of dollars in licensing costs. “We are saving up to US$500 per machine by using Lotus software instead of Microsoft products,” says Strand. “Those savings will enable us to make additional IT investments in the future as well as remain a leader in our field.”

While saving money, the company also has implemented a robust environment for collaborating across its enterprise. “Other truck stop companies use technology, but it’s generally limited to their headquarters,” says Strand. “We are using Lotus software to extend technology to all of our individual locations so we can enhance our efficiency and remain profitable even in tough economic times.”

For more information

For more information about IBM Lotus, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit ibm.com/lotus

For more information on Iowa 80, visit www.iowa80.com

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System i, System x

Software:
Lotus Symphony, Lotus Quickr, IBM Sametime, IBM Notes, IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America March 2010 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Domino, Lotus, Lotus Notes, Quickr, Sametime, Symphony, System i and System p are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. The information contained in this documentation is provided for informational purposes only. While efforts were made to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in this documentation, it is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In addition, this information is based on IBM’s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice. IBM shall not be responsible for any damages arising out of the use of, or otherwise related to, this documentation or any other documentation. Nothing contained in this documentation is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, creating any warranties or representations from IBM (or its suppliers or licensors), or altering the terms and conditions of the applicable license agreement governing the use of IBM software.