Trucking Technology Q&A: Melton’s Randy Rhines

SVP of Technology and CIO Talks About Keeping Carrier 'On the Leading Edge'
Randy Rhines
Melton Truck Lines

[Find the latest in trucking technology: Explore this quarter's issue of iTECH]

Randy Rhines has managed information technology at flatbed carrier Melton Truck Lines since 1989, when the company was founded with 30 trucks.

“With constant technology change over the years, it’s been challenging but rewarding keeping Melton on the leading edge as it has prospered and grown to the size it is today,” he said.

Melton Truck Lines, based in Tulsa, Okla., currently operates a fleet of 1,400 trucks. The company ranks No. 86 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Prior to joining Melton, Rhines was a programmer at CFI in Joplin, Mo., where he started in 1984 as a student programmer while attending Missouri Southern State University. He graduated from MSSU with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1985.

Describe some of the most effective ways your company is using technology to improve its operations and address its unique challenges.

Melton uses Trimble’s Innovative transportation management system that runs on IBM hardware as the core system behind its operation. We are in the beginning phases of integrating this operational data with data from several other business applications to help us analyze our business and look for efficiencies to be gained across the whole company.

What are some of the top day-to-day issues and concerns you encounter in your role, and how are you dealing with them?

Keeping up with the always-changing cybersecurity landscape is top of our concerns every day. Through peer networking and relationships with our business partners, we endeavor to stay in tune with changes in security technology and cyberthreats.

What emerging technologies are you watching most closely, and which do you believe hold the most potential to improve freight transportation?

We’ve recently delved into robotic process automation (RPA) to assist with all the manual processes required by our customers and third-party logistics companies to interact and integrate with all their disparate systems.

This will allow us to comply with their data compliance demands and relieve stressed employee resources internally that were interacting with these systems manually.

What steps has your company taken to protect itself from cybersecurity threats?

We’ve deployed many leading cybersecurity technologies and services to augment our IT staff.

We also have perpetual penetration testing in place conducted by a third party to watch for vulnerabilities in our network and thwart any new cyberattack schemes hackers come up with.

Look ahead 10 years. How do you envision the advance of technology changing the trucking industry during the next decade?

Like you’re seeing with ChatGPT today, AI and machine learning language will rapidly become adopted technologies that will change the world.

One area that is growing fast is voice-enabled systems. I can see where current human interfaces to computer systems will evolve from physical devices like keyboards and mice to simply using your voice to interact with business applications.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: