Closeup of an Aircraft Patrolled Sign with Maximum Speed Limit

Being a supplier to the trucking industry, I realize that the title of this blog might be interpreted with either alarm, or a ‘so what’. It can be interpreted differently depending on whether you are a US truck driver or a Canadian truck driver.

Yes, it be confusing to have two different measurement systems in countries whose economies are so integrated. I guess that is why they post so many signs with the speed limit right after you leave the border crossing.

I bet that there are places where Canadians are wondering why Americans are flying crazily past them on the highway, while some Americans may think that the Canadians’ favorite movie is ‘Driving Miss Daisy’.

But this blog isn’t about speed limits at all.

It’s about software.

Specially its about ‘software as a service’.

And more specifically yet, its about Tailwind Transportation Software and our recent 100th ‘build and release’ on our software platform. It is the 100th  since its release in late November 2016.

Over the past 14-months we have made 100 significant improvements to our software – an average of over 7 per month.

Building and selling a software as a service application isn’t a normal endeavor for a lot of software companies. For many its hard to embrace

1) the new web based technology, and

2) the culture shift in their businesses

I coach kids’ hockey as many of you well know.

I tell the kids at the start of the season, that it’s not about whether you happen to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at something; it is about whether ‘you can get better’.

I believe that if you are constantly learning, committed to getting better, that you can accomplish almost anything you set you mind to.

The ability to constantly learn and get better on a ‘just in time’ basis is the essence of continuous improvement.

Some people ask, as a friend did the other day, how I am able to accomplish what I do – doing so many things.

I told her that first you have to accept that you are an abject failure at a lot of things in your life. Some people may want to cast it in the genre of constantly seeking perfection, but that goal, in and of itself, is a syllogism – the state of perfection cannot be improved. You must first accept failure.

My doctor may say that that isn’t such a good quality, but the fundamental bargain we all strike with our mortality is, that in it’s very ‘finiteness’ is the drive that makes us want to do things, to accomplish things. I love living and I worry about squandering it, so I want to gulp down as much as I can, and the challenge is knowing when to stop gulping, and to take a few sips once in a while.

A few weeks ago we passed – nay – flew past – the 100th build of our industry leading online transportation management software application. Our stellar developers did this in 14-months – and continue to eat healthy, work out at our local gym, and sleep at night. They even smile… but not at my jokes anymore…

Yes, I am sure some customers who were with us early felt that some parts of our system were somewhat under-cooked. In fact, some may feel that way today, but all of them would have to agree that we have worked quickly and diligently to improve the Tailwind application, worked hard to help them figure a way to work around any limitation they encountered. It’s the only way in my opinion, because their businesses are constantly evolving, and our software needs to as well. But at any given moment it cannot match every aspect of their workflow, or every aspect of the workflows of the hundreds of businesses we support now. All I know is we have to constantly improve, and make prudent decisions about what we do next.

Not even a fully customized solution fits perfectly. Further, I would say that in searching for that perfection you in fact sew the seeds of obsolescence. The software gains value because of its common acceptance and the people who work around it. If it’s built by one person just for you – you shouldn’t let them leave the building at night lest they get hit by and Mac truck carrying a load of lumber dispatched on your very own TMS.

There are many a reason to like online ‘software as a service’ platforms

  • Their accessibility and availability online – accessing it no matter where you are, at home or at work, or travelling
  • Accessible on all sorts of devices – computers, tablets, smartphones
  • An API platform that can integrate with other software applications
  • Easy to ‘get in’ – trialing. Easy to ‘get out’ – cancellable, with your data exported
  • Paying monthly, according to your usage needs, avoiding big disgorgements of capital

The truth be known, the part of ‘software as a service’ that I like the best is the fact that it can be continuously improved. It fits with my way of thinking on how a business should run, and how one should want to live their life.

I like working in a company where the application and technology is constantly improving, in its speed and capability, where the ‘asset’ and footprint, is constantly being expanded.

So, why is that important?

Because competition never stops. Competitors never stand still. It’s not like companies can stay trapped with older software systems, following the old model where they wait for their client server software providers to release a quarterly update, or wait for a big version upgrade say every 3 to 5 years.

I am very proud of our onsite Development team. They are constantly improving the application (at a rate of 7 a month!). And they do this based on the feedback and input from our customers – customers who offer that feedback inside the application, via our website, and in conversation with our service staff.

We know customers can not afford to stand still.

So, they have to ask, why should their transportation management software provider do so?

We just flew past 100 significant improvements in our application – and I can assure you that there are more and more to come each and every week.

Our customers are going to get more and more value from their investment of $69, $99, $139, per user that they are paying each month.

But here’s the deal.

We want them to grow their business, get more efficient, and more profitable using our software. And if they do, we’d like them to add more users and get even more successful. We’d appreciate that. And if you feel that we have been a good and fair player then we would appreciate it if you would refer others to us so that they can grow and benefit as well. After all, we are all in this together!