The dynamic nature of the trucking industry means efficiency and streamlined operations are paramount for carriers. Elite Express, a family-owned LTL carrier based in New Jersey, found a powerful tool for this in Relay Payments, which they adopted to enhance their payment processes for fuel and over-the-road purchases. Elite CFO Dave Crowther recently joined the Dave Nemo Show’s “Future of Finance” segment along with Relay EVP Meghann Erhart to discuss the transformative impact Relay Payments has had on Elite Express's operations.
Getting to know Elite
Host Jimmy Mac welcomed Dave, who has more than 25 years in the transportation business. Dave explained Elite is a longstanding partner of Relay’s, having adopted the solution for lumper payments in its early stages. They have since been working together to find the best digital payment solutions for the trucking industry.
Dave offered insights into Elite Express’ history as a family-run carrier with a fleet of approximately 200 trucks. The company hauls a diverse range of freight, including food ingredients, pharmaceuticals, industrial parts, and more. With operations spanning across 48 states, Elite Express faces nearly every challenge seen in the trucking industry, from fluctuating fuel prices to the need for efficient technology solutions.
Enhancing efficiency with Relay
The conversation focused on Relay’s contribution to Elite Express's operations, specifically in using digital payments for more secure, timely fuel and over-the-road expenses. Dave highlighted the significant benefits of Relay in combating fuel fraud, explaining that by eliminating the need for physical fuel payment cards, the entire Elite fleet can now avoid card skimming.
“Everyone knows fuel fraud is a very real issue facing the whole industry,” said Dave. “Because you're not swiping a card, there’s no chance of skimming. We get the receipts emailed right away, we know where the truckers aren't, and we've got the information for the accounting department. It's great.”
Dave also emphasized the positive impact Relay has had on Elite's day-to-day operations. By eradicating the complexities associated with fuel payments and incidental expenses, the company's accounting team can redirect their focus to more strategic initiatives. He noted this has allowed Elite Express to operate more smoothly and strategically.
"It does help,” Dave stressed. “ It's allowed me and, more importantly, my team to be more efficient."
Looking beyond the instant benefits
The discussion raised the question of a potential positive impact of Relay on recruiting and retaining talent. The ability to offer a hassle-free, streamlined payment system can serve as a compelling differentiator in a competitive industry where driver satisfaction is integral to employee retention.
Dave expressed interest in exploring this aspect further, stating, "I hadn't thought about that side of it. I'm gonna have to get with our recruiters and see how we can help pitch that nice differential."
Driving toward a more efficient future
As the episode approached the end, it became clear the collaboration between Elite Express and Relay Payments exemplifies the transformative potential of digital payment solutions in the trucking industry. As Elite continues its journey with Relay Payments, the company stands poised to navigate the challenges of the road with greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and a focus on driver satisfaction.
Dave expressed the opinion that Relay can help any trucking business move toward a more efficient and digitally-driven future. “Honestly, you know, any size fleet from the independent contractor on up benefits,” he said. “It's really not a size thing. This is about efficiency, making things easier.”