In addition, Cadec is working on “coupling the telematics world with the mobility world for a seamless user perspective,” Smith says. “Right now, if you look at the telematics market, people can use a telematics product that uses a mobile device display, and then you can buy software for the mobile device that does things like POD, scanning and so on.”
Cadec has been a little different, explains Smith. About seven years ago, the company really began concentrating on a process that focused on creating one user interface. “We know that we can’t be insular, and of course not everyone is going to want to buy our products, so again through partnership we want to bring that seamless environment where it all looks the same to the driver, it all acts the same, they’re not going from one application to another application,” says Smith. “Through the use of intelligent workflows, between ourselves and our partners, we’ll bring a seamless user experience to the driver. So simplicity, productivity of the driver, seamless data integration on the backend, and a conversion of the technologies in the foodservice—conversion is a theme for us in 2013.”
Indeed, mobility is increasingly on the minds of fleet managers, affirms Mike Mulqueen, senior director, product management at Manhattan Associates, especially as capabilities become more robust and price becomes more affordable.
“Low cost communications networks that offer really strong coverage are one example,” says Mulqueen. “Before it was just satellite, but now cellular coverage is very good and the cost for data is fairly inexpensive.” In addition, the mobile devices themselves have become more affordable and ruggedized. They can also be customized to provide pick-up and delivery applications, information on damages, and so on, which eliminate paperwork. “It’s as simple as transmitting data back to the dispatcher and/or the enterprise,” says Mulqueen. The addition of geographic information systems (GIS) and dynamic content to the fleet manager’s toolbox is also delivering impressive results, Mulqueen points out.
Recently, one of Australia’s biggest baking companies, Goodman Fielder, implemented a suite of planning, mapping, routing, scheduling and optimization solutions from MapMechanics. The suite includes a GIS solution, called GeoConcept, which the company used to optimize delivery routes for its driver/contractors.
“We wanted to make delivery routes more sustainable for our contractors—to ensure that they had an optimal mix of larger and smaller customers, and were using the right vehicle types. But, we simply didn’t have the time or necessary information to make informed judgements. We needed the right tools to help us make strong commercial decisions,” remarks Paul March, Goodman Fielder’s national supply chain business analyst.
The company used GeoConcept to map traffic flows, rebalance territories and even out the distribution load among its contractors. Overall, the results have been a “quantum leap” in helping the company control costs, says March. “We’ve been able to optimize the number of trucks, we’ve reduced mileage and fuel costs, and we’ve provided more sustainable earnings for the independent contractors who do our deliveries, reinforcing their commitment to our business. Everybody wins.”