"When an exception happens it alerts the company in real-time," says Koch. "It can even send an email to the customer telling them you're going to be late."
These systems also allow drivers to explain route deviations, thanks to the interactive menus on their cell phones.
"We allow them to type in Over, Short and Damage information," notes UPS' Brandt. "Such as: 'I planned to deliver six cases, I only delivered five.' That's great for order-to-cash type information."
When all is said and done, the biggest incentive for implementing any new system is always productivity-how will it help you move more product? With GPS-enabled cell phones it is no different.
"In conjunction with Roadshow, we've implanted a system called MobileLink Status," notes Tom Wydra, corporate fleet manager for Edward Don and Co., a North Riverside, IL company that delivers restaurant supplies to eateries and schools. "The driver's manifest is downloaded right to the phone and from that he proceeds from one stop to another. In the phone itself he'll hit a key that says when he's arrived at a stop, as well as when he's completed a stop."
Wydra runs a performance summary report at the end of the day that compares performance times they have in the system-from when they originally routed the driver's route performance time-to show how he's actually running the route now. This gives them insight into how productive the driver is currently being.
"We can see where he's losing time and we'll send a supervisor out with him if we're having a serious time problem."