"We offer computer professionals a total project approach, combining the roles of programmer and systems analyst."
— Donald Hall, Sr., Director, Systems Analysis and Programming

IBM ES9000 DB2, COBOL, CICS, Assembler
Trucking company Large shop


Arkansas Best Corporation is the fourth largest company in the country specializing in long-haul transportation of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. These shipments may include food, textiles, furniture, appliances, chemicals, or plastic products. The company operates in every state, as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, and through alliances, in Mexico. Subsidiaries include ABF Freight System; Treadco, which specializes in tire sales and retreading; Best Logistics, which provides logistics management services, and DataTronics, which provides the corporation's data processing services.

Founded in 1935, Arkansas Best's revenues are $1.4 billion. Publicly held, Arkansas Best is headquartered in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The company employs 15,000 people. The company's truck drivers have won a number of safety awards and participate in the American Trucking Association's national road team.



Arkansas Best has an IBM ES9000, model 860. Software on the mainframe includes MVS, CICS, DB2, COBOL, and Assembler. The mainframe is connected to 340 freight terminals across the country using the Token Ring protocol over a leased Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) network. LANManager is used to connect 400 nodes on Local Area Networks (LAN) for file and print sharing. IBM's Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) software is used for electronic transaction transfers.

Data-Tronics, which provides all data processing services for Arkansas Best, employs 170 computer professionals. Job titles include Information Specialist, Systems Analyst Programmer (SAP), Senior SAP, Consulting SAP, Lead SAP, Area Coordinator SAP, Manager SAP, Systems Programmer, Senior Systems Programmer, Consulting Systems Programmer, Director, and Senior Director. Staff members recently installed a bar-coding conveyor and sorting system that directs shipments to the correct shipper. This system was developed in a client-server environment, using MicroFocus COBOL on PCs, C on bar code scanners, and COBOL on the mainframe. Radio Frequency (RF) technology is also being used on the freight docks and yards to manage the freight and equipment.


Computer professionals work in cubicles in a nonsmoking environment. Standard office hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM, but are flexible between 7 AM and 6 PM. A 40-hour workweek is typical. Eighty percent of the staff do not travel; five percent travel once a month, and fifteen percent travel once or twice a year. Travel is primarily in support of EDI applications. Arkansas Best offers its computer professionals a teamwork-oriented environment and a total systems approach to projects.

Arkansas Best observes nine holidays. The company offers two weeks of vacation to start, with additional vacation added after eight, fifteen, and twenty years of service. The company subsidizes medical insurance for employees and offers pretax accounts for health care and dependent care costs. The company pays for disability and life insurance and partially matches employee contributions to a retirement plan.


Arkansas Best looks for candidates with the potential to move up in job responsibilities within the company. The company finds candidates who are entry-level computer professionals with a Bachelor's degree through campus recruiting. They are selected on the basis of academic performance, grade point average, and a history of campus or co-op jobs. Candidates should have business aptitude in addition to their technical skills. Current staff members have an average of five or six years of experience and Bachelor's degrees. The company typically hires 10 to 15 new candidates a year.


Letters are preferred.

Mr. Christopher J. Cook
Lead Systems Analyst Programmer
Data-Tronics Corp.
3801 Old Greenwood Rd.
P.O. Box 10048
Ft. Smith, Arkansas 72917-0048
Phone: (501) 784-8524
Fax: (501) 784-8599

Copyright 1998. Carol L. Covin. Covin’s Southeast Computer Job Guide