Make no mistake about it. The chassis business is tough. Keeping a chassis available and knowing where the chassis is (and has been) and what it will be doing next is difficult to track. Making sure that it is road-worthy requires constant care and attention to detail and doing that all cost effectively is challenging. That’s where CIT comes in.
Back in April, Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM), a well-known neutral chassis pool manager based in New Jersey, unveiled a new division, Consolidated Intermodal Technologies – CIT for short.
As the name implies, CIT is all about technology. Technology is not a word bandied about much when talking about chassis – trucks - yes, even the containers mounted on the chassis, but in a business like chassis pool management, legacy systems working in data silos prevail.
CIT (see CITInnovations.com) is out to change that paradigm with a technology initiative built on a robust platform that integrates chassis pool data into customizable user-friendly systems. And almost as importantly, CIT’s products are designed to interface virtually with all existing systems enabling for widescale adoption.
Tom Martucci, the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of CIT in an interview with the AJOT, explained how CIT’s platform was designed to bridge the gap between “high tech and low tech” that characterizes the problems facing chassis fleet managers. As Martucci explained, “We [CIT] wanted to address some of the pain points” of the chassis leasing business and with the first-hand knowledge acquired in day-to-day operations at CCM.
At its most basic, a chassis fleet manager needs to know where the equipment is located at a given moment (past, present and future); they must keep the equipment road-ready; and must be able to manage payments.
CCM in over a decade of managing its own chassis fleet had used the experience to develop a proprietary platform and a portfolio of functions to address the fleet managers’ basic operational needs and more (see Tolling below). So, when it was decided to open CIT as a standalone division offering technology solutions to the market, the three overarching product offerings were Asset Management, Maintenance and Repair (MandR) and Billing Management.
Since CCM was already operating as a neutral provider, CIT early on identified the potential market for these new digital solutions, including equipment providers, motor carriers, IMCs (Intermodal Marketing Companies), railroad operators, and terminal operators.
Given the diversity of chassis fleet operators and the range of technological expertise managing these fleets, CIT had to build a platform that all players in the niche market could readily deploy without significant investments in upgrades to their existing computer systems or staffing. In a sense CIT was vested with building a digital chassis management system that was still recognizable and intuitively understandable to all the participants in the system – it might be a better mousetrap, but everybody must immediately recognize…
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