Fleet management by hand held computer

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Data about vehicles and goods is fully networked for the first time

Management of fleets of vehicles and the flow of goods can now go hand in hand. Siemens VDO Automotive and Intermec specialists have developed a complete solution involving fleet management and a mobile goods capture handset for package and courier services, which can be used by any type of haulage company. As was the case in the past, with this system a driver can check the loading and unloading of goods using a pocket computer. Additionally though, now dispatchers can also locate vehicles anywhere in the world. And whether the driver is on the road, at a warehouse, or in the customers office, the dispatcher at the control centre can continue to communicate orders and messages to the driver, which are stored temporarily on the vehicles onboard computer.

Mobile systems that allow logistics service providers to supervise the flow of goods have of course existed in the past. Siemens VDO Automotive and Intermec are now offering a system that networks goods handling and fleet management for the first time though. This innovative combination has been made possible thanks to the interplay between the Intermec CN2 data capture handset and the Siemens VDO Datcom telematics system. The automotive supplier has developed software for the input device that works together with the Datcom-S-Box onboard computer in the vehicle and the fleet management software in the dispatchers office. While the driver can complete order-settlement outside the vehicle with his shock-resistant, waterproof handheld computer, scan packages and have deliveries signed for by the addressee on the touch display, the Datcom S-Box built into the vehicle also keeps in permanent contact with the dispatching office. It constantly transmits the vehicles current position, and if wanted it can also transmit substantial vehicle or engine data from the temperature up to the petrol level in the tank. Moreover the dispatcher can send new orders, text messages and other information to the Datcom S-Box at any time from his or her office.

The link between the two computers creates an intelligent interface; as soon as the handheld computer is put back into its cradle in the vehicle, all of the current data is automatically transmitted to the control centre and new messages from the office are transferred to the device.

This innovative system means that orders can be planned better and vehicles used more efficiently. Thanks to the ability for the current order status to be read permanently in the office and behind the steering wheel, and the ability of every consignment to be tracked using an optional bar code or RFID scanner, quality of service can be completely optimised with the Intermec and Siemens VDO Automotive system.

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