R McDowell haulage has transformed its fleet management operations after introducing mobile devices in a move to paperless working. Part of a comprehensive system supplied by Freeway Fleet Systems, rugged Samsung tablets used in the workshop are connected in real-time to central software that is used to manage the fleet of over 200 units.
With their distinctive black vehicles, McDowell provide transport, haulage and warehousing logistics services from their headquarters in West Yorkshire. Established in 1976 the company offers general haulage, pallet services through TPN, and contracted services to a number of household names and blue-chip companies.
The tablets are used by McDowell engineering staff, replacing paper job sheets and inspection reports. Freeway’s fleet management software was first introduced in 2012 as part of an initial move toward digital working, replacing traditional wall charts and paper records through the automation of work scheduling, stores and purchasing.
“We reviewed a number of systems but it was clear that Freeway was the only system that offered the full range of functionality that we needed as part of an all in one system. The introduction of mobile devices in the workshop is a significant step up as we now have real time information on the status of every vehicle in the fleet,” Johnathan Brewerton, McDowell’s Garage Manager.
According to McDowell Freeway has had a big impact on productivity not just in the back-office but also in the workshop. Previously up to a hundred job sheets were being entered each week and this, in addition to managing all the paperwork, was a full time job. Fitters meanwhile were having to manually fill out job sheets which was taking up valuable time.
“With data entered on the job our fitters are more productive and happier. The system has also replaced one full time administrator now reassigned to take on tasks that I was previously burdened with. This has allowed me to spend more time managing the operation; more time to think about and improve the way we work,” says Brewerton.
Freeway allows McDowell to immediately see the current status of a vehicle and it highlights any compliance issues. Extensive reports allow historic information to be reviewed in order to assess the performance of vehicles and individual components, including prices paid for each part.
“The beauty of Freeway is that it gives us all the information we need at the touch of a button. Everything we need is held in a bubble and it’s all very clear and easy to use. The other important thing about Freeway is that it links to other systems such as Mandata and Sage, so it becomes an integral part of our business,” adds Brewerton.