Student Stash
GPS helps a student moving service stay on course.
By Cindy Waxer

(FORTUNE Small Business) – Collegeboxes ships and stores the belongings of more than 6,000 students from 35 colleges and universities across the country--quite a logistical feat for a small, fast-growing outfit. The company's dispatchers had to work the phones every time they needed to locate a crew and estimate when it would arrive at the customer's home or dorm. It was an "inefficient and broken" system, according to CEO Scott Neuberger, 24.

Collegeboxes found a relatively simple technological solution last year, deploying a cellular GPS system from Xora to track and manage its crews. Xora is one of the country's largest suppliers of cellphone-based GPS tracking systems. Leading competitors include TeleNav, ActSoft, and It2Me. Xora has an exclusive partnership with telecommunications giant Sprint Nextel, whose mobile devices support the service. Because most of Collegeboxes' moving crews already carried Sprint Nextel phones, Xora was the natural choice.

Collegeboxes is based in Watertown, Mass., and pulls in around $2 million a year in gross revenues. During the peak moving seasons, at the beginning and end of the academic year, the company's ten call-center operators coordinate more than 1,000 moves a day. Thanks to Xora, the operators have online access to maps and reports that track moving crews all over the country.

Collegeboxes' $10,000 investment in GPS technology paid for itself in less than three months, says Neuberger. Knowing how far a moving crew is from a particular job has helped Collegeboxes reduce customer queries by more than 15% and call-center expenses by 20%. The six-year-old company has also been able to increase on-time pickups and deliveries by 20%.