WebTech Wireless(www.webtechwireless.com) announced Quadrant 7.0, the latest release in its wireless fleet management system that includes automated driver logs and driver performance functionality.
(www.mobitrac.com) announced it will integrate KonaWare’s mobile middleware into its transportation execution system. Mobitrac uses real-time, on-the-fly field data from mobile applications, such as KonaWare, to provide shippers and carriers with the visibility to predict and adapt quickly to unexpected events from dock to dock.
PHH Arval (www.phharval.com) and FleetRisk Advisors (www.fleetriskadvisors.com) are testing a new service that could predict accidents. The new service will combine data from telematics, participating client organizations and advanced predictive technologies from FleetRisk Advisors.
Intermec Technologies Corp. (www.intermec.com) announced the Intermec 761 mobile computer is approved for operation on the Cingular Wireless network. The rugged Intermec 761 supports voice and data transmission via GSM/GPRS technology.
(www.tripmaster.com), a provider of onboard electronic recorders and support software, announced compliance with the new DOT hours-of-service regulations effective Oct. 1, 2005.
Networkcar (www.networkcar.com) has been awarded a patent for “Internet-Based Emissions Test for Vehicles.” The patent relates to Networkcar’s online smog check technology, which allows fleets to monitor vehicles remotely for emissions compliance.
Paperwork seems inevitable in any business process, from billing customers to keeping current with safety and compliance regulations. But it’s the information on the paper, not the paper itself, that really matters.
For more than a decade, document imaging and management systems have helped businesses get fast access to information and streamline business processes. As with most information technology, these systems in recent years have become more affordable, convenient and advanced.
In the late 1990s, some fleets began to use application service provider – or ASP – arrangements with vendors. This model offered savings for the software, scanners, storage, memory and other hardware a business needed to manage documents; that’s because ASPs could spread these costs among a group of users of the same Web-based system.
But from a cost standpoint alone, ASPs no longer hold the advantage over “in-house” document management systems. Hardware and memory costs have dropped significantly in the past two years, which is one reason why sales of McLeod Software’s in-house imaging and workflow system have increased dramatically this year, says Mike Nalepka, sales manager for McLeod Imaging.
The McLeod Imaging system integrates with all the modules in McLeod’s LoadMaster enterprise management software system, including operations, accounting, maintenance and its Internet module for online document access. The integration to accounting allows users to input hundreds of reports directly into the McLeod Imaging system. Images of reports then can be e-mailed or shared with others on the network.
Even though carriers can buy hardware and storage for much less than in years past, ASPs remain popular and are growing by becoming more specialized and accessible to fleets and drivers on the road.
Pegasus TransTech offers Transflo Express at nearly 400 truck stop locations, including Pilot Travel Centers and Love’s Travel Stops. Many carriers use Transflo Express at their terminals for drivers to scan documents such as delivery and fuel receipts, shower receipts, tolls and driver logs. The document management software has the ability in both the in-house system and the ASP to categorize documents such as logs, which can be routed to the log vendor used by the carrier, says Russell Hawkins, Pegasus TransTech’s vice president of information technology.
Some ASPs also are growing through providing outsource services for what many fleet managers consider nonessential business functions – such as the delivery, opening, scanning, indexing and auditing of documents.
TripPak Services, an ACS company, provides next-day document images to customers through a Web-based application or through integration with enterprise software systems. Drivers drop trip envelopes into TripPak drop boxes at truck stops or company terminals, and the documents are scanned by TripPak and available by the next morning.
“If companies have already made an investment in imaging, we feed images and data into that system,” says Mark Cleveland, executive vice president of TripPak Services. Images are matched against dispatch data for up to 38 index values, and exceptions are reported. When a fleet’s office employees arrive for work in the morning, they can concentrate on the exceptions, such as missing documents, Cleveland says.
TripPak Services also offers Rapid Log, a service that scans and audits driver logbooks and provides fleets with drivers’ current log audit status in less than 24 hours.
Carriers that use Rair Technologies also can outsource the processing and auditing of logbooks and driver qualification files. Fleets can get documents to Rair by scanning them at their offices, having drivers scan logs at truck stops, or mailing them to Rair. Since the service is based on a monthly subscription, clients aren’t charged each time they use it, or per-document.
“The only thing they do is get us their logs,” says Dr. Henry Goldberg, president of Rair. “(The client) literally has nothing to do. That’s our business philosophy.”
Through a secure website, fleet managers can view logs and files or see summary and exception data such as a driver exceeding his hours. Considering the recent change to the hours-of-service rules, the advantage of Rair’s ASP model is that the Web-based software used by clients will have these changes updated automatically, Goldberg says.
But the ultimate goal for businesses is to capture and manage all information electronically from point to point. That’s the purpose of electronic data interchange (EDI), which many trading partners use to tender loads and freight bills. Sophisticated software systems also can convert documents from any source – be it a customer, business partner or internally – into electronic documents, thus eliminating the need for a company’s staff to scan images altogether.
InfoWeb from Xenos is one such system that can provide a company with a standard dashboard to manage all its workflow processes and documents electronically, no matter the source of the information, including EDI, downloads, e-mail or Word documents. Steve Jones, director of product management for Xenos, says that InfoWeb captures and transforms this data on the fly into whatever standard format a business chooses, such as HTML, XML or EDI.
Perhaps in a few years, companies that now are scanning most of their documents by hand may find that method also has become the exception.
Intermec, Symbol settle RFID property dispute
Intermec Technologies Corp. (www.intermec.com) and Symbol Technologies (www.symbol.com) have settled their radio frequency identification (RFID) intellectual property dispute and placed all other pending and likely legal actions on hold as they attempt to resolve other intellectual property disputes. Intermec filed a patent infringement suit in June 2004 against Matrics Corp. – now Symbol Technologies – related to Intermec’s RFID patents.
Under the settlement, Symbol has jointed Intermec’s Rapid Start RFID intellectual property licensing program, which provides Symbol access to Intermec patents on RFID tags and fixed and portable readers, among others. At the same time, Symbol is providing Intermec access to Symbol’s RFID intellectual property by exercising the cross-licensing provisions of the Rapid Start program. With the agreement in place, Intermec will file for dismissal of its RFID lawsuit in the Delaware district court.
Volvo’s onboard tech support
Volvo Trucks North America (www.volvotrucks.com) announced Volvo Link Sentry, a new service for owners of the VT 880, the manufacturer’s flagship owner-operator truck introduced in February 2005. The new service combines the Volvo Link satellite communications system with Volvo technical support resources to ensure customer support. If a fault code on the vehicle persists for more than a predetermined amount of time, Volvo Link Sentry sends a message with all the active fault codes to Volvo Action Service (VAS) – Volvo’s 24/7 roadside assistance service – for a determination of what action should be taken, if any. If necessary, VAS will contact the driver to schedule service.
Scanning for brokers
Affiliated Computer Services (www.acs-inc.com), a provider of business process and information technology outsourcing solutions, launched FreightForm Express, which helps brokers ensure proper handling and distribution of trip documents. The service uses ACS’ TripPak Scanning software (www.trippak.com) at more than 350 full-service truck stops for brokers to distribute their special handling instructions to drivers to help ensure trip documents are scanned promptly and even shared with multiple parties. It also gives brokers a mechanism for paying drivers or owner-operators and for invoicing the shipper, the company says. Custom freight labels can be generated on-demand and onsite by fuel desk clerks at participating TripPak Scanning truck stops.
Maptuit offers next-generation navigation
Maptuit (www.maptuit.com), a provider of trucking, tracking and traffic services, announced it has created its first generation of in-vehicle navigation software for both Windows and WinCE enabled devices. Maptuit expects to begin a limited trial before year’s end, ahead of the announced delivery timetables of next-generation onboard devices such as Qualcomm’s OmniVision and DriverTech’s Truck-PC DT 4000.
Maptuit’s next-generation in-truck environment includes:
- Real-time turn-by-turn directions;
- Text, graphic and text-to-speech information presentation;
- Truck-specific routing and directions incorporating fuel optimization;
- Rapid rerouting;
- Truck-specific points of interest such as weigh stations;
- Current traffic and weather conditions; and
- On-device exception alarming for unscheduled events, such as a traffic delay that might cause a truck to miss its delivery window.
Symbol gives a voice to text
Symbol Technologies (www.symbol.com) introduced new speech recognition-enabled versions of its MC9000 series of mobile computers. Designed for warehouse and distribution customers that require hands-free operation, the MC9060-K and MC9060-S models deliver increased productivity and real-time data capture capabilities for enterprise mobility systems, the
Symbol’s new multifunction device supports multiple data capture functions including voice recognition, barcode scanning, imaging and keyboard input, providing flexibility to use whatever data capture technology is most efficient to perform the task at hand. Warehouse workers can benefit from increased mobility as they move from task to task by listening to instructions through a headset and communicating verbally with an existing enterprise resource planning system (ERP) or warehouse management system (WMS) over a wireless network, the company says.
The MC9060 models with speech-recognition technology are available from Symbol partners including IBM, Lucas Systems, MCL Technologies, Systems Application Engineering (SAE) and Voxware.
Cube Route (www.cuberoute.com) said that Internet grocer Peapod has implemented the Cube Route Visibility Service across 13 of its 15 warehouses throughout the United States. Peapod is using Cube Route for dispatch management and visibility into its delivery operations, allowing the company to provide customers with real-time status of deliveries.
PeopleNet (www.peoplenetonline.com) announced that Walton, Ky.-based Verst Group Logistics selected its onboard computing and mobile communications system. With 62 power units, the fleet expects to save 30 minutes per day per driver by keeping them from having to walk into the office before, during and after shifts.
TMW Systems (www.tmwsystems.com) announced that Youngstown, Ohio-based Falcon Transport has chosen TMWSuite as its enterprise management software. The automotive, flatbed and general commodities truckload carrier operates a fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles.
GeoLogic Solutions (www.gogeologic.com) announced that three existing customers have signed agreements to upgrade their fleets with GeoLogic’s MobileMax Multi-Mode system: Don Hummer Trucking Corporation, Oxford, Iowa; Diversified Transfer & Storage, Billings, Mont.; and Hendrickson Trucking, Sacramento, Calif.
Bulldog Technologies (www.bulldog-tech.com) announced that it developed a sensor network solution for Ruan Transportation Management Systems. The solution uses 2.45GHz ZigBee-based RF tags and readers to monitor the temperature of refrigerated containers for Ruan, and delivers data in real time to a PC-based application.
Pegasus TransTech announced that the Trimac Group’s U.S. Chemical Division implemented its TransFlo document management and workflow system and TransFlo Express truckstop scanning solution. The U.S. Chemical Division has been able to pay drivers faster, lower courier costs and accelerate invoicing, says John Jansen, director of pricing of the 1,000-truck fleet.
Netkey Inc. (www.netkey.com) announced that Swift Transportation is using Netkey software to power a nationwide network of kiosks designed to provide Swift drivers, owner-operators, shop workers and other employees with easy access to human resources and corporate information.