It was all smiles and laughter as most of us attended the Westpac Auckland Business Awards Dinner and Awards Ceremony – North on 30 September 2015. The night was a celebration of our success in becoming a finalist in the category for Excellence in Innovation. Read more “Westpac Business Awards North 2015”
One of our australian customers ScuzzTrans Container Transport Company is proud to announce their partnership with country music star Jayne Denham.
The Queensland based business who specialise in transporting shipping containers are also well known for their award winning flagship Western Star truck ‘NED’. This head turner is a symptom of Scuzzy’s passion for trucks and his transport business. It’s this combined passion which brought Jayne and the ScuzzTrans team together. Check out ScuzzTrans and Jayne Denhams page for more info.
We’re proud to announce iCOS LIVE is a finalist in the Westpac Auckland Business Awards (North) 2015 – Excellence in Innovation.The iCOS Team look forward to attending the Westpac Auckland Business Awards Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony which will be held on 30 September. Read more “Finalist of the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2015”
Kathy Ross knew there had to be a better way of sending freight around our cities. In partnership with her late partner Chris Grace, the founder of Auckland-based Icos Group, Kathy spent twenty years servicing transport operators with one-off software solutions, more than enough time to discern an industry pattern of inefficient routing, needless trips and revenue leakage before founding Icos Live.
“A lot of operators I saw were cash-flow and time poor. They all lost revenue and didn’t even know it, because important consignment papers would be flying out truck windows, being stomped on by drivers or having coffee spilt on them. And there was no track-and-trace going on, no signature capture, no date-and-time stamping”
Backed financially by an aunt, Ross launched Icos Live (the name is an acronym for Internet Cargo Operating System), a web-based, software-as-service solution for transport and logistics firms that handles everything from online ordering through to electronic proof of delivery. Five years on the business is thriving, with 1000 trucks in New Zealand signed up, and 50 in Australia. “We’re transforming the way transport operators do business, taking them into a totally paperless world,” says Ross.
Importantly, the benefits are not being felt solely by her customers. More efficient truck movements means less fuel wasted, and less traffic on our streets.
“Our scheduling system enables jobs to be assigned to trucks in priority order, which helps the efficient routing of vehicles,” says Ross. “Trucks aren’t being driven here, there, and everywhere, which is definitely saving on fuel and emissions and reducing congestion.”
The key word there is ‘efficiency’. From a world where orders were keyed-in by a dispatch team, an error-prone and time consuming process, Icos Live customers are able to book online, with updates relayed back in real time. Dispatchers can organise jobs more rationally, eliminating the old industry blight of short-shipments and lost consignments. Out in the field, drivers receive their job orders and capture signatures for proof-of-delivery on tablets and smart phones.
Tony Gare, General Manager of Dunedin-based transport and logistics firm Icon Logistics, says his firm is living proof of the green benefits. In combination with a fuel-efficiency focused driver education programme, introducing Icos Live helped to save 6000 litres of diesel over a four month trial period, says Gare.
iCOS LIVE was recently selected to be part of a delegation lead by Auckland City Mayor Len Brown to attend a Tripartite Summit in Los Angles along with companies from various other industries.
NZ owned and operated iCOS LIVE was chosen for its ‘Innovation in Transport’ approach to business. This just happened to be one of the subjects that was discussed at the Summit. According to iCOS LIVE CEO Kathy Ross, Eco systems aren’t something for the future, they’re here now! iCOS LIVE in building their own Eco system in partnership with same technology companies such as Xero and EROAD are at the forefront of this new wave of business development.
Kathy Ross is extremely forthright when it comes to plotting a future for her company. Quite simply she wants iCOS LIVE to become a household name for transport not only in New Zealand but worldwide. “Receiving a personal invitation from Mayor Len Brown to be part of the delegation was a great privilege, I felt very honoured,” she said. “I had no idea of the possibilities when I accepted the invitation. However within hours of returnining home from Los Angeles I received two invitations from people I had met requesting further information on the iCOS LIVE system.”
“The networking opportunities were incredible and I left there feeling as though I had been able to forge some great friendship amongst not only our own team but also with a wide range of participants from other parts of the world. An example of the togetherness experienced at the summit was the willingness of everyone in the New Zealand delegation to deliberately seek out and introduce people who they thought would have compatible business interests.”
“A personal highlight for me was being introduced Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who is being talked up by the press as being a future United States President. He may not be everyone’s favourite but in forging a strong association between the two cities, Mayor Len Brown has done a great job of building a relationship with current incumbent Eric Garcetti and out going Los Angeles Mayor, Tom LaBonge. Len also has developed a bond with Chen Jianhua the Mayor of Guangzhou from the Peoples Republic of China which with that sort of relationship must be worth millions of dollars of exports in the years to come,” said Kathy
iCOS LIVE have been gaining traction in the Australian market, but now, having been on this recent US trade delegation the opportunity to expoit new markets such as Los Angles and Guangzhou has presented additional growth prospects for the company.
iCOS LIVE is transforming the way transport companies operate by taking them to a paperless world using smart technology. This has allowed transport companys to streamline their processes and give them control and total transparency . Plugging revenue leakages as a result of lost dockets, reducing resources and double handling of information has been just some of the other benefits achieved by using the iCOS LIVE system.
Online transport and logistics management is all about offering a real time track and trace facility that provides electronic booking through to dispatch and proof of delivery. Integrated with Xero this offers a seamless paperless solution. Integrated with EROAD, it provides freight tracking at its best as Eroad know where the trucks are and iCOS LIVE knows what’s on them. Creating an end to end digital transport solution has enabled small business owners to compete with the “BIG BOYS” .Its self -service at its best, 24/7 via the Internet at a price that’s affordable.
In the near future iCOS LIVE hopes to provide the complete domestic transport solution with the release of their 3PL , container devanning and export loading online offering. Currently the iCOS LIVE software caters for general freight, refrigerated freight, container management and tracking, bulk haulage dry and liquids , stock and panels.
by Press Release on 2015-07-03 01:57:46
Tom Ryan Cartage have enjoyed using iCOS software since 2001, having most recently deployed iCOS LIVE across 10 hiab trucks in our Auckland masonry fleet. iCOS LIVE takes real time tracking, binds it to job management and turns it into LIVE FREIGHT TRACKING after all that is what clients want to know – “Where is my delivery?”. Read more “Tom Ryan Cartage Ltd”
“We have been operating our business for over 15 years. The first holiday together as a family was after 10 years and we had to close the business for a week in order to have time off. Consequently, holidays were simply out of the question. When I discovered what iCOS LIVE had to offer and their vision I knew instantly that it was what I was looking for.
“Cargo Plus Limited has been using iCOS LIVE since our first day in business. iCOS has been an excellent partner and has offered us affordable technology that has allowed us to keep up with bigger players in the market. Our customers enjoy real time updates through the cloud based platform which are sent via our driver’s smart devices. Read more “Cargo Plus Limited”
Kathy Ross is managing director of iCOS LIVE, an online transport management software provider. The Auckland-based company has seven full time and two part time staff.
When and why did iCOS LIVE go into the Australian market?
Going into the Australian market has always been part of my vision. From our inception, we’ve had a strong sense of mission to help family-owned transport businesses run efficiently and as New Zealand has a limited number of family-owned businesses it was obvious early on we’d be going into a larger market. As a result, we’ve built our product with exports in mind.
We started receiving calls from Australian businesses and their accountants after we became part of the Xero family and we noticed they ran their businesses in a similar fashion to those here. Our product is seen as an obvious add-on to the Xero accounting system and many Australian accountants are now seeing the benefits of using a cloud-based accounting system and wanting to move their transport clients across. We also integrate with other accounting packages so Australian firms and accountants have many options.
What is the current state of your business in Australia?
It’s early days for us.
Most of our current Australian customers are in Queensland – mainly in and around Brisbane – with increasing enquiries from Sydney, Melbourne and Western Australia.
We target both small to mid-sized transport companies and their accountants. In addition we are currently working with Australian transport operator groups and that will see our software being adopted by groups of operators that are moving to paperless business systems. For now we are targeting transport businesses with fleets of between five and 20 trucks that specialise in container movement, general freight and bulk haulage.
Currently Australian customers make up about 5% of our annual sales, and we anticipate our Australian business will grow at least 25% over the next financial year.
What kind of preparation did you do before entering the market?
We didn’t do a lot of direct market research. Once we started receiving enquiries from Australia we just began to look at the businesses that were making the enquiries. We have worked on the premise that where there is interest there must be more of the same sorts of companies that could benefit from knowing about us.
It’s easy to search the Yellow Pages and then find out what sized fleets companies have and the sort of freight they carry. What’s more difficult is to find transport company accountants and convert them. However accountants talk to each other and we are seeing increasing enquiries from them. ??
What strategies have worked well for you in terms of growing your business there?
In New Zealand we have formed alliances with well-known GPS providers and that has worked well for us here. We are just starting to work in Australia with these same companies as well as partnering with Xero and accountants that use it.
Do you have any war stories to share?
I was due to go to a conference in Brisbane to look for new opportunities when the Queensland lowlands flooded. Transport operators’ offices were being flooded and their office computers and servers ended up under water and, in some cases, were carried away downriver. During the flood, trucks were without communications, drivers couldn’t get information about where to pick up their next jobs and if they could pick up deliveries, no paperwork could be produced to track and invoice jobs.
It was during this time I realised I had to get our web-based product across to Australia so that transport operators could carry on with their businesses after a disaster such as a flood or forest fire. This was an epiphany for me about another benefit of having web-based operating business systems and I know many Queensland business owners gained a new appreciation for cloud software as a result of this too.
What are three key pieces of advice you’d have for other small business owners considering entering the Australian market?
1. Be careful about who you take advice from. There are so many paths you can be led down that look good but turn out to be best for someone else’s company, not yours. The most reliable advice comes from people who have already done what you are trying to do – even if it’s in another industry.
2. Make sure you have the resources to support your product. It’s probably going to take more trips and time away from New Zealand than you anticipated so you need a team who can carry on pleasing your existing customers while you are away from the engine room.
3. Even though we have a web-based product we have needed to go to Australia and meet people to understand operating differences. When you are in that market you can stand in potential customer’s shoes and gain an appreciation of your offering’s strengths and weaknesses as seen by them – not you. You can also see new opportunities that you wouldn’t see from New Zealand.
Going into the Australian market has always been part of my vision. From our inception… Read more “NZ Herald – Small Business: Crossing the ditch – Kathy Ross, iCOS LIVE (2014)”
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