According to Anselm Waterfield, CEO of TransLogix Software , advanced mobility solutions will help transport companies gain better operational visibility, improving business performance and customer service.
Transport operators are today able to provide better service capabilities to their customers with the availability of several mobility solutions in the market enabling real-time and accurate processing of information. These smart technologies are creating an unprecedented level of connectedness between the customer, the office and the field.
Consequently, mobility solutions are rapidly becoming an important differentiator for operators seeking to raise the bar on the quality of customer service delivered and improve overall business processes.
Mobility solutions available in the market include GPS tracking solutions, vehicle management solutions and mobile solutions. Smart transport operators are taking a long term view and adopting a strategy of continuous improvement to ensure that buying decisions made early will sustain them in the future when the company’s vision unfolds.
The downside of multiple solutions in the market is the inability of operators to match a specific solution against desired business outcomes. Decisions can potentially result in disappointment when businesses discover that the solution they have doesn’t meet their requirements.
Critical to selecting the right solution is having a deep understanding of the difference between GPS tracking, vehicle monitoring and mobility solutions. Requirements for the business operation may include tracking and monitoring fleets as well as driver behaviour or improving business processes and customer service with electronic runsheets, jobs and PODs among others.
Many transport companies who have implemented GPS and tracking solutions have achieved good levels of compliance through monitoring of their fleet and drivers. Drivers are increasingly careful and efficient, and there is a general level of assurance that safety standards are being met.
The problem arises when a customer calls and wants to know the whereabouts of their freight and reasons for delay. While typical GPS and tracking solutions will be able to inform the operator about the time the truck left the depot or the current location of the truck and driver, they still have to depend on the driver to know what has been picked up or delivered.
This lack of visibility in the tracking solution becomes apparent to the operator only when a problem comes up, which is when they realise the constraints of their solution.
The next step is not as simple as extending the GPS or tracking solution to incorporate real-time information delivery. A solution designed to monitor driver behaviour and compliance will not deliver the capabilities afforded by a more sophisticated mobility solution.
Mobility solutions must combine back office operational data with GPS, proof of delivery and other ‘mobile’ data. Transport companies and their customers will then have ready access to real-time job information where they will be able to see what a vehicle is carrying, the detailed status of each job, those completed with POD and those scheduled in sequence with the actual and planned route on the map.
Managing job allocations, adjustments and updating driver run sheets in real-time is now possible as is fatigue management and general communication with the driver.
A mobility solution can quickly become an integral part of the business and place many operators in a position to be able to improve business performance and negotiate improvements with the customer.
When planning for a mobility solution, it is important for the transport operator to consider how it will address the high level areas of driver compliance, freight task and customer service. Understanding the differences, limitations and benefits of GPS and tracking solutions versus advanced mobility solutions alongside a future plan will ensure that the investment made will deliver the desired results.