Transport industry can save millions through the integration of mobile phones with route planning software

The Danish IT company, PHD, has developed an application connecting mobile telephones with route planning systems for the transport industry. Cargoroute enables drivers to update current route systems by a simple text message from their mobile phones.

Every day, thousands of pounds are wasted as a result of commercial drivers talking on mobile phones with customers and employers providing updates on delivery schedules.

Using Cargoroute, drivers send a text message from their mobile providing regular updates on delays and timescales which are then automatically updated on the route system. Delivery times are then recalculated and sent via text message or email to the next customer on the route.  In addition, customers are able to keep track of their delivery via the Internet.

Both the carrier and the company that is responsible for delivering the goods avoid using expensive mobile-time to communicate and inform of delays. They also avoid having to manually update the route planning system since it is done automatically. In addition, the recipient avoids wasting time waiting for a delivery. The customer is always kept updated on delivery times.

In addition to savings, it is possible to redirect tasks internally. Previously it was the shipping/logistics department that was responsible for answering questions regarding delivery times.  Now, the sales department or a call centre can answer questions based on Cargoroute's online information.

Costs for the turnkey Cargoroute solution start at 1500. Prices apply to an entire company with ten cars. Traditional systems with separate terminals can cost 1000 - 5000 per van or truck.

Invented at a coincidental meeting

The developers behind Cargoroute are the director of the IT company PHD Douwe Hoekstra and Theis Pedersen, a logistics and cargo expert who met at a transport trade show in February 2005 and agreed that:

"A customer doesn't want to know when their goods have been loaded from the terminal in Harwich. Nor is it necessary to know where the package is right now. The relevant information to a customer is when they can expect delivery and that the information received is reliable and precise," says Theis Pedersen.

Ready to cross borders

Now, a year and a half later, the program is fully operational and PHD is working towards exporting the solution.

"Everything has gone so fast and we are actively investigating patent rights and future development. We expect 50-100 customers in Denmark and already see opportunities in other countries," says Douwe Hoekstra, director in PHD.

International steel manufacturer is the first customer

The first customer, Corus Byggesystemer A/S in Ebeltoft, Denmark is a subsidiary of the world's largest supplier of steel, Corus Building Systems. From the Ebeltoft location, 200 orders for Denmark and internationally are processed daily.

"Customer service is an important competitive factor for us. Just a few days after an order has been received, the metal is produced to specification and transported to the customer. Our expectation is to be able to improve service to our customers while we simultaneously reduce administration  time," says Kim Victor Larsen, Corus Byggesystemer A/S.

Industry organisation confirms need

The Danish Transport and Logistic organization, DTL, recognizes the need for new ideas. "There is no doubt that there is a need for new solutions like Cargoroute. And, this solution sounds particularly interesting. We are always on the look out for good ideas and initiatives that can help raise the level of customer service, streamline the administration process and, in general, simplify the day-to-day business of the transport industry. It is also important for us that new solutions like this meet traffic safety standards and avoid distracting the driver during transport," says senior consultant, Tim Hansen, DTL.

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