Palletways, the market leader in the overnight distribution of small consignments of palletised freight, is currently implementing next generation in-cab technology across its European vehicle fleet following successful trials.
The GPRS-driven in-cab solution - a first for the pallet network sector - will be installed in circa 1,200 Palletways vehicles and has been designed to provide unrivalled customer service and to further enhance the efficiency of Palletways network operations in the UK, Republic of Ireland and mainland Europe.
The technology has been developed by Trans-aXion, a leading European IT solutions provider, which specialises in the transport and logistics market. Palletways and Trans-aXion have worked together to tailor the system to the specific needs of the pallet network industry. The Trans-aXion software also integrates with Palletways leading edge track and trace system to provide the most advanced in-cab technology system in the pallet network sector.
Palletways drivers use a hand-held device to record Proof of Delivery (POD) information, including the recipient's signature. This information is then sent in real time to Palletways track and trace system, which can then be accessed by customers via their own PCs. POD information is also sent immediately to the Palletways members' depots, which have been involved in collecting and delivering the goods. Drivers can use the technology to view the list of deliveries and to pre-programme messages to alert their depots to unforeseen events and incidents, which can then be relayed in real time to the customer as required.
In addition, the technology greatly benefits the collection operation by alerting Palletways drivers about new orders to pick up in their local catchment areas, without the need to stop the vehicle and make contact with the depot. Utilising the full power of the integrated global positioning technology, the unit can relay a real time picture of the location of each vehicle. This allows Palletways to enhance customer order response by allocating the nearest vehicle to undertake the collection.
Said Thomas Olsson, IT Director at Palletways: "We have conducted a major evaluation of in-cab technologies and working with Trans-aXion, we have developed a bespoke system which meets the needs of the network and provides unparalleled customer service.
"The use of GPRS in-cab technology represents a first for the pallet network sector in terms of enabling real time capture and distribution of POD information to customers and our distribution networks across Europe. It also enables us to increase the efficiency and responsiveness of our collection operations."
Neil Gold, Managing Director of Trans-aXion, added: "We are delighted to provide Palletways with this real-time solution, a landmark in the fast growing pallet network sector.
"Trans-aXion previously developed the technology for the parcels industry but this is our first entry into the pallet network industry using a GPRS solution. The Trans-aXion solution uses sophisticated middleware, which was developed in-house to overcome the challenges surrounding GPRS coverage and connectivity. As a result the solution guarantees 100% data integrity."
Palletways Birmingham, one of 100 depots in the company's UK network, took part in the trials of the in-cab technology.
Simon Gibbard, the depot manager, said: "The technology takes our customer service and distribution operations to a whole new level. Above all, it will add significant value to our service proposition and act as another key differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace."
Other added value features of the technology include a vehicle management system to monitor mileage and fuel consumption. In addition, a built in satellite navigation system enables drivers to find locations they have not visited before, whilst the global positioning capability of the technology allows for 100% accuracy in the recording of delivery times, which can be used as a benchmark against key performance indicators.