The on-demand economy and the continued growth of e-commerce has had a huge impact on the logistics and supply chain sector. Today, companies operating in this space must work increasingly hard to adapt and meet consumers’ expectations and demands.
Technology underpinsmost aspects of the end-to-end supply chain; investment in new software and solutions helps businesses to stay ahead of the needs of customers. Identifying when such change is needed requires a constant process of self-evaluation.
Eddie Stobart, a British supply chain, transport and logistics company, recently identified an opportunity to make improvements by replacing its legacy telematics infrastructure. Over the past 12 months, the company has implemented a new solution across its entire vehicle fleet having decided to revamp its in-cab technology to drastically improve the overall visibility and management of its fleet.
On the move
Eddie Stobart needed a scalable solution that supports Android, iOS and Windows applications to deliver crucial information to drivers, planners and customers. User friendliness was key, including an easy-to-navigate interface for drivers.
Eddie Stobart also wanteda solution it could build on as the transport industry evolves and the company enters new markets. Other factors it considered weregreater overall efficiencies andcompliance with health & safety standards.
The solution came in the shape of Eddie Stobart Link which the company produced with Microlise. The in-vehicle technology is a custom-designed, ruggedised device,called the DriveTab, which bears the Eddie Stobart brand.
Real results in real time
The benefits of the integrated, centralised system were immediate after implementation. New workflows supporting established best-practice processes and ways of working were built into the software. This includes vehicle safety checks mandated by the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, driver-style feedback and customer-specific instructions for drivers and planners.
Real-time information can also be more easily exchanged,right across the delivery process, than had been possible with the legacy system – for example, drivers’ start-and end-times are automatically and accurately recorded via the DriveTab.
To improve overall safety, Eddie Stobart can analyse driving styles more closely using an advanced grading system. Planners can provide live feedback to drivers, who can in turn adjust their driving. The company can also identify needs for future training modules.
The integrated system means thatif a driver is ever stopped by a DVSA official, they can immediately provide a log of all the vehicle’s safety checks.This reduces the administrative burden on the driver as well as lessening the amount of paper-based documentation across the company. This digitisation also helps avoid duplicating processes.
Putting customers in the driving seat
Perhaps most importantly, by deploying a centralised solution with this level of programmability; Eddie Stobart has been able to improve the way it communicates with its customers. Real-time information canbe exchanged between planners, drivers and customers directly via new estimated time of arrival (ETA) boards.
Planners can provide customers with planned, estimated and actual arrival times, warning of expected delays. This data is displayed on the customers’ ETA board in the form of planned versus actual route. The boards also provide a clear overall view of live road conditions, so drivers’ routes can quickly be re-adjusted, helping to minimise delay.
Internally, the data enables planners to better mobilise and manage the warehouse workforce, so deliveries can be turned round as effectively and quickly as possible. Further, by providing accurate fuel consumption data at every leg of a journey, planners can better determine the best conditions for a particular delivery, such as the best time of day for departure, the best trailer type to use, its weight and so on.
Moving with the times
This telemetry solution that was been built with the needs of drivers and customers in mind has helped Eddie Stobart to make more informed decisions about even granular aspects of deliveries and share up-to-the-minute information with customers. The company can carefully monitor its entire fleet operations in far greater depth than previously imaginable. This improved visibility allows the company to identify new ways of better serving its customers as their needs and expectations evolve.