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With the help of GIS software, your company can combine layers of data into a single map.

This story appears in the November 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When a customer of Nevada Brake & Auto places an order withthe Las Vegas automobile parts wholesaler, he or she can expect oneof the company's 20 trucks to pull up with the delivery inabout 45 minutes. The fast delivery endears the 18-year-old companyto its customers, but it's a hassle for owner John Kruger, 51."We have a tremendous logistics concern," he says.

Recently, Kruger installed an $18,000 geographic informationsystem (GIS) to help his dispatcher efficiently route trucks. Hehopes the GIS system, consisting of three computers with softwarethat tracks his trucks on their routes, will trim 5 to 10 percentof the 40-person company's logistical outlay, which gobbles upa significant portion of its $5 million annual revenues. Truckdrivers stay in touch by cell phone, as dispatchers enter thedrivers' locations into GIS. The whereabouts of trucks are thendisplayed on a map of the city, along with the locations ofupcoming deliveries. "We thought this software could enhancethings we've done forever manually," says Kruger.

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