“If he knows the next stop is a third party, the driver can call ahead while at the previous stop and ask, ‘Are you ready for me yet?’ as opposed to going to the stop and not having freight,” says Mike Zupon, director of information technology. “It creates a lot of opportunities. The more information you have, the better decisions drivers can make.”
Zupon says customer service is likely to improve since the new app is more intuitive. “Drivers embrace that,” he says.
Cheetah Mobile includes turn-by-turn navigation and Google Earth maps. Ward Transport also is testing new features in Cheetah Mobile to take pictures, scan barcodes and capture document images.
Some fleets may want drivers to present an invoice to customers at the point of delivery; to do so will require using software focused specifically on transactions at that location.
Airclic offers mobile applications specifically for transportation companies in food service, retail distribution and third-party logistics with cross-docking operations; these products are called Food Perform, Order Perform and Transport Perform, respectively.
“What we focus on is what the driver is doing during the course of the day – the actual business process and business transaction,” says Mike Lee, chief execuitve officer of Airclic. “It is all about what is happening with the end customer.”
With Airclic, drivers can scan products as they are delivered, note any exceptions and credits from damages and other incidentals, and capture a signature from customers. Through Airclic’s Web-based software, fleet managers can track delivery performance metrics and exceptions.
An optimized route is just a plan; the actual savings come through execution. To speed – and ensure – return on investment from route optimization systems, fleets are using tools to evaluate driver and route performance.
Telogis offers a number of “planned versus actual” reports for route performance and driver behavior. Real-time alerts and scorecards within its integrated route management and telematics platform show deviations in stops per hour, mileage, on-time performance and other metrics, including fuel efficiency and safety.
“All data is available in one database,” Morris says. “It makes it much easier to plan and do improvement analysis.”
Real-time monitoring tools can be used to adjust routes on the fly to avert problems. Some fleets have Telogis Mobile data integrated with a “call ahead” phone system. As a route progresses, the automated system calls the next stop to confirm arrival; if the delivery cannot be made, the system automatically recalculates the route’s stop sequence and updates the driver’s mobile application.
RoadNet has a Web-based tool for operations personnel, RoadNet Info Center, that tracks planned versus actual performance metrics. RoadNet also has a Performance Dashboard for executives to manage performance on a higher level, such as comparing East versus South fleet operations in terms of mileage and on-time performance.
Also of Interest »