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Information Technology News – October 2003

ARL TO USE GPS-ENABLED PDAs
Application service provider Power2Ship Inc. (www.power2ship.com) plans to supply non-asset-based carrier American Road Line (ARL) Inc. with proprietary GPS-enabled personal digital assistants that will allow the more than 500 trucks operated by 70 ARL agents to communicate unused capacity to the shipping community. Under a non-binding letter of intent announced recently, the GPS/PDAs, which would be distributed by the end of this year, will cost ARL $79 a month each under a 36-month contract. But Power2Ship estimates that the deal could produce $20 million in revenue for ARL and its partners if each of the 500 trucks receives two bookings a month at an average of $600 a load.

The GPS/PDA devices capture vehicle location in real-time and wirelessly transmit data to the P2S MobileMarket, an online site that collects, consolidates, processes and presents real-time transportation-related data. This information, combined with a truck’s future bookings, enables a truck’s unused capacity to be forecasted and displayed to P2S member-shippers, which can select that truck to transport one of their loads. The PDA also wirelessly captures an electronic bill of lading at load pick-up and the electronic signature of the receiver upon load delivery triggering an electronic invoice to be sent to the shipper, thereby minimizing the collection cycle.


SODREL TO USE GPS-ENABLED PHONES

Enterprise Information Solutions, Inc. (www.eisolution.com/transportation) announced the development and deployment of a mobile phone-based solution for Jeffersonville, Ind.-based Sodrel Truck Lines, a contract mail carrier. By equipping drivers with mobile phones running Java applications, Sodrel says it can now manage mobile workers using GPS tracking technology, and have remote data entry without using more expensive in-vehicle systems. Sobel uses Motorola i58sr phones that cost less than $150 per unit.

Using Java technology gives the devices the flexibility and programmability equivalent to a desktop PC, says Marc Mitchell, EIS’s transportation practice director. Java technology on the phone allows the application to function regardless of whether the unit has network coverage, which is not possible when deploying in a web browser, or WAP, type approach, he says.

By implementing the solution from EIS, Sodrel has decreased the time required to get trucks their correct assignments and process the results of their daily trips. The deployment began in early June and quickly expanded to more than 300 units. The carrier estimates a savings of 60 to 75 man-hours per week within Sodrel’s back office support personnel.


TMI SPEEDS DRIVER RECRUITING

Using the document delivery infrastructure of its TripPak Express and TripPak Scanning services, Brentwood, Tenn.-based TMI (www.trippak.com) developed a job application service called TripPak EZ-App. The service speeds communications between potential hires and a trucking company, says Ken Rideout, director of safety and recruiting for Milbury, Ohio-based Tri-State Expedited, one of the early customers for EZ-App.

Drivers can find TripPak EZ-App forms in industry publications and fleet recruiting packages. They can drop completed driver application forms into TripPak Express boxes at truck stops or submit them through TripPak Scanning stations located several hundred travel centers in the U.S. and Canada, including full-service TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Center locations, Sapp Brothers and All America Truck Stops. Participating carriers can then receive applications by e-mail or directly into their imaging systems.

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