Mike Rodgers is not tired of the word “disruption.”
“I think it’s a fact,” he says.
For the past three and a half years, Rodgers—Pilot Flying J’s chief strategy and information officer—has been outrunning disruption by investing in mobile and innovating the travel center’s app for professional drivers, gas customers and recreational-vehicle users.
When the app first rolled out, it touted basic features such as mobile fueling and route guides. Last year, Pilot Flying J integrated its MyOffers loyalty program into the app. After that, the company added the ability to reserve showers through the mobile tool, and then parking space reservations. “If I’m a professional driver, I can drive 100 miles farther if I’m not worried about a parking spot,” Rodgers says.
However, not all drivers have to download the MyPilot app to access these features. With the help of cloud technology and APIs (application programming interfaces, which allow programs to talk to each other), Rodgers is encouraging trucking companies to put the Pilot Flying J tools in their own apps. This cloud-driven approach has allowed the chain to move quickly without worrying about infrastructure or compatibility with other systems.
“The world is moving to an API and cloud world,” he says. “Not moving aggressively in that direction is probably going to be a miss.”
“If I’m a professional driver, I can drive 1OO miles farther if I’m not worried about a parking spot.”