I.D. Systems, Inc. was founded by two Stanford engineers in 1993 to transform the way wireless technology is used to help organizations manage their mobile business assets, such as forklifts, rental vehicles, cargo trailers, or connected cars. Its goal is to provide pioneering solutions that ensure its customers’ valuable mobile assets are managed in a way that helps these organizations to be safer, improve efficiency, and cut costs.
“Our value proposition isn’t just bumper sticker talk. I use it as a litmus test for everything that we do at our organization. We’re not going to do it if we can’t do it with high quality,” says Chris Wolfe, CEO.
The publicly traded company (NASDAQ: IDSY) is based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, and has had the pleasure of providing its leading solutions to exceptional companies all over the world, including seven of the ten largest car manufacturers, three of the largest consumer goods companies, four of the five largest aluminum producers, and one of the largest retail organizations. It has worked with Avis, Ford Motor Company, and the U.S. Postal Service, among others.
I.D. Systems operates with a focus on three B2B markets: industrial fleet management to improve safety and efficiency; fleet tracking solutions that provide greater asset visibility; and “connected” vehicle control solutions that help you manage your entire fleet, with knowledge of everything from where your mobile assets are, to why they’re getting into accidents and who has been operating them.
In the forklift and industrial truck management space, I.D. Systems’ ground-breaking PowerFleet® Management System combines the VAC (Vehicle Asset Communicator) hardware with its data analytics platform PowerFleet IQTM, and its cloud-based Vision ProTM software, allowing users to check the status of their fleet at any time with a glance at its interface.
The management system optimizes your fleet by improving material handling safety, establishing accountability for the use of equipment, and automatically detecting and managing vehicle impacts. It also identifies equipment issues before they become costly problems, schedules maintenance automatically, and boosts material handling productivity by identifying forklift drivers who are both the safest and most productive.
This fall, I.D. Systems will be releasing the next generation of the PowerFleet® portfolio, PowerFleet® Enterprise, a VAC-based solution designed to meet the needs of I.D. Systems’ customer base of Top-100 manufacturers, who require solutions on a larger scale. Interestingly, these customers once made up the entirety of I.D. Systems’ client list.
“I’ve been CEO since December of 2016, and when I came in, our industrial truck space was primarily focused on the largest fleets – the largest strategic accounts. We’ve been very successful in that area… but like many markets, the industrial truck space breaks down similarly. You have strategic accounts, which can represent a million potential units,” Wolfe explains.
“Then you have the mid-tier accounts, which are perhaps 25 to 125 vehicles per site. Finally, [you have] the small-tier accounts which are under 25 vehicles, and you can’t sell [them] the same solution. Every strata, every budget, every operation needs its own unique solution. Unique in price, and unique in capability,” he says.
PowerFleet’s® new branding will feature a solution for every customer. PowerFleet® Enterprise will have the capabilities of naming users and offering impact control and electronic checklists, and will come with all sensor, wireless, and software options.
For sophisticated multi-site users, Powerfleet® Expert will name its users, offer impact control and electronic checklists, and have a camera option with various wireless methods and a mobile app or simple software option.
For smaller sites of 10 vehicles or fewer, Powerfleet® Essence is perfect. The brand new solution allows for anonymous (OC1 series) or named (OC3 series) access control, and an impact control option with the OC3 series, but no data collection.
“You don’t need to have IT involvement, yet you get all the benefits of running off of an iPad right to the vehicle. So, you can manage safety, security, and driver behavior – and you can do everything at a very cost-effective price,” adds Wolfe.
Lastly, if vehicle security is all that is needed, the PowerFleet® Entry provides a smart key system that can get the job done.
The nimble company of 120 was able to adapt its products to all levels of the market with its recent acquisition of Keytroller in 2017. Keytroller is a Tampa-based company that focuses on safety products (for access and monitoring, speed control, and more) for the truck, construction, off-road, and marine markets. At the time of acquisition, Keytroller had been doing business with 500 dealers, whereas historically I.D. Systems usually made direct sales to strategic accounts.
“When we acquired Keytroller, what we bought was a product portfolio as well as a new distribution channel to get out to the dealers in America and internationally, for our whole product suite,” Wolfe recalls. Acquiring a safety-focused designer and manufacturer is also beneficial in an industry that has become increasingly preoccupied with velocity in warehouses. This is because a worker can be fast, but not necessarily safe.
“Velocity without safety is actually dangerous,” Wolfe tells us. “What we’re trying to do is combine the safety portfolio with the data analytics platform so we can see how many pallets a person moves per hour and how they operate a vehicle during that time. We can also match that with time-clock information to know that not only were they our most productive employee, but also the safest. That to me is more critical than anything, especially nowadays with the fast-paced environment we have.”
Throughout its 25 years in business, I.D. Systems’ game-changing solutions have been very well received by the market, as they increase safety while revealing hidden costs. In one case study, a multinational food and beverage company used PowerFleet® IQ AnalyticsTM data to measure productivity along with safety and efficiency, incentivizing high performers and offering training where improvement was needed. Safety compliance essentially increased to 100 percent, accidents and damage decreased more than 85 percent while pallet moves remained at target levels, and the company was able to save a cool $2 million.
In another case study, a power equipment manufacturer needed to boost its profitability if it wanted to keep thousands of jobs in the United States. By analyzing PowerFleet® data, it reduced equipment, labor, and damage costs by over $3 million altogether, completely removed alcohol-related driving incidents, and introduced a new culture of safety to its all-American production plants.
However, it is also worth noting that in addition to PowerFleet®, I.D. Systems also offers other solutions. Its connected vehicle division is currently rolling out a custom solution for Avis Budget Group, deploying 50,000 units in a six-month timeframe. It signed a contract with Avis in 2017 and began deployment in February.
“I don’t want to understate the importance of the other work we do, because a lot of people don’t realize how we can scale and scale quickly,” Wolfe says of the mid-sized technology provider.
I.D. Systems has begun mining vehicle checklist information, so in the future the company will be able to tell which OEMs tend to fail because of tires, batteries, or other reasons. This information is not only valuable to those renting the forklifts for material handling, but also to the manufacturers themselves.
Another future goal of the company is to have all future platforms come with Bluetooth capabilities and a family of wirelessly enabled sensors that can measure factors like humidity, temperature, and altitude on mobile assets. These features will help material handlers ensure that their products are handled well and will reach the end user in superb condition. A new line of such tracking telemetry products will be announced by I.D. Systems’ logistics division this season at an American Trucking Association event, and similar industrial truck products will be introduced over the next year.
And of course, the growing company is always on the lookout for both additional acquisitions and top-notch talent. CEO Chris Wolfe says that energy and perseverance are among the top qualities that the employer seeks out in new candidates.
“We’re a player-coach environment, and we’re at 120 employees. We look for people who personally, being the 121st employee, can help us change the trajectory of this company. That’s how impactful you can be at this company. We’re looking for people that want to have that kind of impact and who have the energy to make it happen.”