Carlton Helps Estes Express Lines
Tune Up
its Onboard Technology

Carlton Customer Story: Transportation and Logistics


Time to read

5 min

Estes turned to Carlton to support the implementation of a large-scale technology migration. Carlton handled it all from inventory management, staging and provisioning, kitting and deployment to spare pool and warranty management, and reverse logistics.


Estes Express Lines, a full-service freight transportation provider, had been using more than 5,000 Intermec 761 mobile devices for terminal freight management as well as onboard route and delivery management. While this handheld technology served a purpose, it was not serving Estes’ true needs, which is why the company decided to migrate to a PeopleNet onboard transportation management system (TMS) to deliver increased functionality and capture more operational metrics. The new TMS system would enable Estes to measure engine performance, such as idling and revving times; determine when trucks required maintenance; calculate cost-efficient refueling routes based on real-time fuel prices; and shorten delivery timelines through more optimized route scheduling.

Migrating to the onboard technology presented several logistical challenges for Estes, namely receiving all the new technology components, inventorying the equipment, installing related software, kitting the hardware together, deploying the technology to its instillation facilities, and installing the technology into more than 7,000 trucks.

Estes considered managing the technology migration internally, but realized it was not the best use of its resources and instead decided to partner with Carlton Technologies, which had been providing mobile device management, repair services and expertise to Estes since 2008.


  • Largest privately held less-than-truckload (LTL) company in the United States
  • One of the top 5 carriers in the LTL industry
  • Annual shipment volume (2016): 11,030,020 tons
  • $2.2 billion in revenue
  • Expedite loads from 225 distribution centers
  • 7,000 cabs with PeopleNet onboard computers


Carlton provided multiple services during the technology migration, including:

Inventory Management, Device Provisioning and Procuring: Carlton received new individual device components directly from PeopleNet. Upon receipt of the devices, Carlton inventoried all the equipment used in the technology migration. This entailed logging device serial numbers, descriptions, item numbers, and locations for more than 42,000 individual pieces of equipment with 14 individual components per kit.

Device Staging, Configuration and Testing: Carlton installed all the necessary software onto the onboard computers, configuring each based on Estes’ requirements. Carlton tested functionality on all devices to ensure everything was working properly to minimize any issues when installing the equipment in the field.

Staging and Kitting: Over time, Carlton packaged the equipment into 7,000 individual kits containing 14 individual pieces, to deploy to Estes’ facilities for installation based on two different types of truck cabs, as different vehicle types required distinct components.


  • Carlton supported Estes’ large-scale technology migration by providing Managed Services, warranty management, and reverse logistics services
  • Carlton inventoried and staged 42,000 pieces of equipment; the company packaged this equipment into more than 7,000 kits for deployment across the country.
  • As a result of Carlton’s involvement, Estes increased productivity, improved truck uptime, and saved on equipment costs.

Mobile Device Deployment: Once all the equipment was inventoried, configured, tested, and kitted, Carlton shipped the kits to various Estes facilities across the country for installation.

Warranty management and repair services: Carlton tracked all the warranties associated with the equipment used in Estes’ daily usage, kitting brand new equipment and performed all repairs of equipment as needed. When devices required repairs or replacing, Carlton would test and send Estes a replacement along with a prepaid return-shipping label so the company could send the defective device back to Carlton. Carlton managed the repair with the OEM Manufacturer and once fixed, Carlton inventoried the repaired device in Estes’s Spare Pool, which meant nimble deployment to the field as required in the future.

Reverse logistics: When Estes decommissioned a truck from its fleet, Carlton sent Estes return packaging with a prepaid return-shipping label so it could remove the hardware from the vehicle and send it back to Carlton. Once Carlton received the equipment, it cleaned, tested and recertified all onboard computing equipment devices and then placed them in Estes’ Spare Pool inventory for future redeployment. If defective and under OEM warranty, Carlton would facilitate the repair process with the OEM.


Increased Estes’ productivity. Since Carlton managed the inventory management, staging, kitting, and deployment of all the technology in the PeopleNet migration, it reduced the burden on Estes’ internal team, freeing up resources to focus on other mission-critical initiatives.

Saved at least 292 days due to Carlton’s expertise. Carlton estimated that it took approximately one hour to inventory, stage, kit, and deploy each of the more than 7,000 kits required for the technology migration. That’s at least 292 days that Estes saved as a result of Carlton managing the technology migration process.

Faster repairs enabled greater uptime. Carlton’s warranty management and coordination with the OEM repair services created more uptime for Estes, as Carlton could rapidly replace defective equipment, getting trucks back on the road faster.


  • A technology migration of this scale stressed Estes internal teams and impacted bandwidth for mission critical activities.
  • Partnering with an experienced Managed Services specialist not only reduced the burden on internal resources, but it made the large-scale technology implementation very efficient.
  • Carlton created such an efficient implementation process that after a year Estes was able to bring the ongoing management process back in-house.

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