The UniDrug Distribution Group Ltd, based in Derbyshire, are currently working with Microlise to deliver the third phase of a Microlise Fleet & Distribution solution. the contract was originally placed in May 2005 and is designed to progressively improve their efficiency and customer service capability through the use of in-vehicle tracking and telematics within the delivery operations of their fleet. This phase will allow customers to see the progress of their delivery operation through an authorised website.
The first phase of the contract with Microlise was to equip vehicles with a Microlise In-vehicle Computer (IVC) and their operations offices with Microlise Map Client software. Using data supplied from their RoadNet Scheduling software, this provided UDG operations personnel real-time visibility of plan versus actual through the GPS satellite geographic location data of each vehicle, its direction and speed which was transmitted back to the host system over GPRS communications. In addition, the vehicles also had the IVC connected to door opening, load compartment temperature sensors and directly into the engine management system using the standard vehicle CANBus interface. This provided additional data on load temperature, unexpected door opening and additional telematic data such as engine speed, gear selected, cruise control operation and engine temperatures to allow more refined management data on actual driver performance with a view to training drivers to be more energy efficient.
The cost of communication with drivers was also addressed through the introduction of hands free voice communication to the cab with calls to other destinations than the operations centre being barred.
In the second phase, Symbol MC9000 hand held mobile data terminals were installed in the cabs to allow download of the delivery manifest generated through the RedPrairie Dispatcher software and to generate positive proof of delivery with barcode scanning and image signature capture. This data was communicated using the GPRS link from the IVC back to the Microlise Transport Management Centre software installed in the operations control centre to provide clear, real-time visibility of what was actually happening in the delivery phase of the operation.
Nick Blurton, Director of Projects & Contract Development for the UDG commented, “We wanted to improve our delivery efficiency and visibility of the service we give to our customers. Introducing the Microlise Fleet & Distribution solution in a phased approach has allowed us to seamlessly achieve this and publishing the detailed real time information now available on our website has improved customer service and been well received by our Principals. The ability to have low cost communication with our drivers has also aided in increasing our efficiency and reducing our costs.”
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