How to develop an EWD solution that achieves your Fatigue Management responsibilities

A technology provider’s view on addressing Australia’s heavy vehicle regulations within your enterprise mobility solution

Globally and in Australia, fatigued and drowsy heavy vehicle drivers are a recognised safety hazard and a major concern for the road transport industry.

Insufficient sleep, night driving and long work periods are all known causes of driver fatigue.

Combating fatigue and reducing fatal road accidents involving heavy vehicles is enforced under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL); passed in most Australian states and territories in 2014. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is responsible for administering the HVNL in accordance with the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2004, the Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research found that a person who’s been awake for 17 hours has the same driving crash risk as a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.05 (g/100mL); both are twice as likely to have an accident as a well-rested person with no alcohol in their blood. Worse, a driver awake for 24 hours straight has the equivalent driving crash risk as a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 (g/100mL), and is seven times more likely to have a crash.

Electronic Work Diaries

Under the HVNL, fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle operators, their employers and any party in the supply chain must ensure safe transport activities.

As part of that, fatigue management, including driver compliance with specified maximum work and minimum rest limits, is enforced by the NHVR’s legal requirement of written work diaries (WWD) and approved electronic work diaries (EWD).

Work diaries create an accurate daily record of an individual driver’s time spent working, driving and resting, including vehicle types, locations and distances covered, as evidence to obey the HVNL.

Approved EWD Systems

As the approving authority for Electronic Work Diary systems that meet the requirements of the EWD Standards, the NHVR, as of 29 November 2018, are yet to approve any independent enterprise mobility systems, integrated vehicle telematics systems or electronic recording devices as EWD tools.

This means a WWD, as the primary record-keeping method, must accompany any data and calculations generated from a non-approved electronic recording device or digital system, until EWD systems are approved by the NHVR as an alternative. The submission and approval process for electronic work diary systems is underway…

Road Safety Management

Since 1st October 2018, all parties involved in transport tasks are now legally liable for heavy vehicle road law breaches, even if you or your company are not directly responsible for driving a heavy vehicle.

Accordingly, consignors, consignees, packers, loaders, receivers, schedulers, as well as managers, directors, executive officers and corporate entities responsible for employees—all form an important ‘chain of responsibility’ (CoR) to ensure safe management of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle operations.

Thus, when approved by the NHVR, electronic work diaries will improve safety, enhance work planning and reduce lengthy paper administration tasks.

Importantly, approved EWDs will provide a simple, secure and automated way to record work and rest hours for heavy vehicle drivers, as a legal requirement, and could provide access to more business intelligence data, therefore, becoming a real-time fleet safety, compliance and performance management tool.

EWD System Development

As a modern transport operator, integrating EWD functionality into your current enterprise mobility system or adopting an out-of-the-box approved EWD solution, will ensure you’re ready to meet your CoR fatigue management obligations.

Such an EWD system must be built to Electronic Work Diary Standards as set out by the NHVR.

Therefore, it may help to select an EWD-knowledgeable technology partner to develop a solution tailored to your needs and submit your candidate EWD system to the NHVR for approval.

 

Telematics & Mobility

Installed telematics solutions, such as Geotab, extract vehicle usage, performance metrics and GPS tracking data via a device plugged into the computer system of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle.

Such digital telematics solutions offer a convenient and automated way for the heavy vehicle driver to meet EWD requirements by collecting and recording accurate hours of driving, location and distance information when operating that specific vehicle. 

If the same driver is subsequently required to drive a heavy vehicle without telematics fitted, then a delivery tracking and fleet management solution, such as Leopard Delivery Cloud, operating via the driver’s smartphone and independent of the vehicle, could be used. This heavy vehicle driver tracking solution would log critical electronic work diary information for compliance, plus manage freight records and other logistics at the same time.

For drivers without access to vehicle telematics systems, the Leopard Delivery App may offer an easy way to collect accurate EWD information.

Sophisticated operations running complex vehicle fleets may well combine vehicle telematics and delivery mobility information to enable collection of EWD information in a consolidated and efficient way.

EWD System Technology Partners

In addition to productivity gains, Leopard Delivery has the capacity to intelligently extract, organise and manage EWD information from telematics sources and handheld equipment in compliance with NHVR’s EWD Standards.

Leopard Systems technology providers are available to partner with your organisation and help design or update your digital record-keeping solutions to meet EWD requirements. For peace of mind that your drivers will comply with EWD legal requirements, and that your organisation’s CoR obligations to your supply chain are met – talk to Leopard Systems today.

Find out what your organisation may need and speak with our specialists about implementing Leopard Telematics and Leopard Delivery for your heavy vehicle operations.

7 ways Push-To-Talk technology is replacing old-school radio comms to improve operational safety and performance

Smartphones. They’re an everyday fixture in our work and personal lives.

Yet many hazardous work operations need safe instant communications between staff, that typical touchscreen devices can’t provide, such as rapid voice broadcasts. Immediate voice transmissions cannot be received if you don’t have hands free to work the device or you’re in an environment where this action is impossible.

Therefore, many companies – for instance, logistics fleets, construction firms, field service teams and mining enterprises – are advancing operations by harnessing the speed, efficiency and agility that fast push-to-talk (PTT) communications achieve.

Here are seven ways implementing PTT technology, or replacing old radio communications with a digital PTT solution, could enhance your operational performance.

1. PUSH TO TALK & TRANSMIT

In short, digital PTT systems operate like two-way ‘walkie-talkie’ radio communication. A single push of a button allows a person to speak and transmit an instant verbal message to be received; by one other person, a group of people, or everyone on the closed channel. Not just live voice messages, next-generation digital PTT systems also transmit voice recordings, still images, video recordings and SMS-style text communications. PTT is used by dispatchers, team leaders and supervisors to communicate to their remote team, i.e. drivers, service technicians, sales assistants and warehouse staff on the floor.

PTT is used by dispatchers, team leaders and supervisors to communicate to their remote team, i.e. drivers, service technicians, sales assistants and warehouse staff on the floor. The turn-based single duplex method of verbal conversation, where only one person can speak at a time, manually controls the flow of information. This effectively prevents overlapping conversations and eliminates the misinterpretation of information.

In the past, traditional PTT systems used analogue radio systems on private licenced channels. But now that the number of available channels are declining, while the ongoing costs are increasing, analogue systems are almost unusable and soon-to-be obsolete. Legacy systems must upgrade to digital PTT systems to retain this vital communication service for managing operations.

2. PTT VIA DATA NETWORKS

Presently, PTT services are delivered via the digital/cellular mobile data network. This outperforms the analogue system by having an unlimited geographic range. This means it’s possible to talk, without interference or lag, from one side of Australia to the other, without the need for repeaters because cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection are used.
In fact, this type of coverage and the right network infrastructure makes digital PTT effective for operational teams to communicate with remote managers across the globe, at the touch of a button.

Digital PTT functionality can be added to smartphones and specialised mobile handsets, handheld devices, headsets, tablets, rugged water and drop-resistant handsets, and more. Additionally, numerous PTT services work on laptop, desktop and tablet computers via web-based portals.

3. CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS

You may be considering adding PPT technologies to your enterprise mobility system, as you move from retired radio networks to cellular networks, or as a new way to communicate with your mobile workforce.

Whether it’s instant instructions to your floor staff or in-cabin announcements to your vehicle fleet drivers, the principal advantage of PTT over making phone calls is rapid direct communication of critical information.

In addition, PTT features, such as voice-activated communication and Bluetooth connectivity, help to create a hands-free and tangle-free experience for the user.

4. DRIVER SAFETY

In Australia and other countries, using a mobile phone or hand-held smart device while driving is illegal. The laws may vary slightly from state to state and from country to country, but essentially touching the device while driving is prohibited, resulting in hefty fines and demerit points. From a safety perspective, driving while operating a mobile device is as dangerous as driving intoxicated; smart devices are a major contributor to injurious and fatal vehicle collisions.

Taking the same view of a worksite that operates machinery, forklifts and other vehicles, the distraction of a mobile device could reduce an operator’s concentration, resulting in workplace errors or accidents.

The good news is that PTT communication systems offer an excellent way for companies to reduce crash risks, comply with on-road communication standards and abide by road laws regarding mobile device use.

Importantly, when enabled by a PTT application on a device receiving incoming audible voice messages, a driver can hear an important message without removing his gaze from the road or taking his hands off the steering wheel to touch the device.

5. PLANT PROTECTION

In some workplaces, such as manufacturing plants, factory floors and retail departments, PTT technology allows a clear message to be delivered and for the receiver to acknowledge, in return, that they’ve understood the message. The digital conversion of a voice signal effectively filters out background noise, making it easier for the receiver to hear the message. Such clarity of information transmission prevents confusion, leading to error-free streamlined operations.

When quick messages need to be sent, for instance, to notify employees of a work hazard or an emergency situation, PTT achieves instant connectivity to staff. Compared to mobile phone systems, that take seconds to connect to the network and more time to establish a connection to another user; PTT is far superior when every second counts.

Also, a professional level PTT system allows a ‘group conversation’, where one user can connect to many colleagues at the same time, to work together more effectively. Plus, implement a chain-of-command group hierarchy that separates those who need to know one stream of information from those who don’t need to know and would otherwise find it distracting.
PTT applications are compatible with iOS and Android devices, including rugged devices, for when reliability and durability in extreme environments or remote regions is important depending on the type of work done.

6. ENHANCED EFFICIENCIES

Dispatchers communicating from internet-connected computers via a PTT application like Leopard Voice™,  receive rapid real-time location and status updates from field devices. This allows better visibility of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ in order to enhance operations management and customer service.

Leopard Voice™  flags which members of your team are available to talk, helping supervisors and workers identify who to communicate to, based on the situation. Plus, in a retail environment, PTT conveniently replaces annoying and disruptive voice announcements over public address systems, thus improving the customer’s experience of your business.  Leopard Voice™  flags which members of your team are available to talk, helping supervisors and workers identify who to communicate to, based on the situation. Plus, in a retail environment, PTT conveniently replaces annoying and disruptive voice announcements over public address systems, thus improving the customer’s experience of your business.

PTT securely connects your head office to job sites and fleet locations and allows tasks to be co-ordinated and situations to be responded to, in real time. This up-to-the-minute knowledge and connectivity enables faster decisions to be made, thus enhancing productivity across the board.

7. SYSTEM SAVINGS

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, adding PTT technology to your enterprise mobility solution will help your organisation save money in further ways;

  • No more fines for your drivers who’ve been caught illegally using a mobile device while operating a vehicle on Australian roads.
  • No need to pay for proprietary radio communications.
  • Stop paying for a separate phone SMS text messaging or calling service when you can use PTT to send the same information.
  • Better work processes reduce staff turnover costs.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction for increased profits.

As PTT improves operational efficiencies, more savings are achievable. For example, your head office can instantly contact a subset of employees with an urgent change that may reduce fuel, or stop a mistake from happening, which in turn saves additional rework to fix the problem.

In closing, PTT systems range from simple to multifaceted. They can be added to your existing fleet of mobile computers, in transport and logistics as well as retail operations, to provide additional functionality and, more importantly, improve business returns without a major investment to implement.

If your enterprise has specific operational needs, that require hands-free instant secure communications, talk to Leopard to find a PTT solution, such as Leopard Voice™  that can be configured to deliver this useful technology for your business and safety requirements. Alternatively, add cost-effective PTT technology to the enterprise mobility solution your team is already using.

 

To find out more, and discuss your software, hardware requirements and mobility strategy, contact Leopard Systems today.

Leopard Systems on fleet management, mobile computing, real time data analytics

Leopard Systems’ Alex Koumaras recently sat down with Andrew Sill from Zebra Technologies to talk considerations for mobile fleets in this digital age. 

 

Video transcript

Andrew:

I’m here with Alex Koumaras from Leopard Systems and we’re taking a closer look at what we
need to consider in this new digital age when it comes to mobile computing. Alex thanks for
joining me.

Alex Koumaras:       

Thanks for having me, Andrew.

Andrew: 

That was the question Alex. What do we need to be considering?

Alex Koumaras:

Well, really, it’s about real-time data these days. That’s what we’re finding. So everything that
allows for the data that’s captured out in the field to be instantly up in the cloud, and to be
available for the business to analyse, is what it’s all about. And ultimately customer service is
what we’re all here for.

Andrew:

So what about machine-to-machine connectivity and the need to capture data and analyse data
and share data?

Alex Koumaras:

Yeah, absolutely. So some elements of data capture are user-driven and others are literally
captured automatically by the machines, out in the field. And that’s what we’re
experiencing at the moment, like an influx of data that’s being captured ongoing and synced up
into the cloud.

Andrew:

So let’s just focus on the work connectivity. What does that mean when we look at mobile
computing?

Alex Koumaras: 

Look, it’s to utilise whatever connections are possible within the device that you’ve selected. So
everything from cellular to WiFi, to Bluetooth, near field communication; being able to send that
information that you’ve either captured or are processing back to head office and then straight
back again, with an update or some other kind of workflow change that you require.

Andrew: 

When it comes to mobile computing devices nowadays, and taking into consideration the new
era that we’re in, what should businesses be looking for, from a functionality perspective?

Alex Koumaras:  

Look, categorically, they should be looking for something that doesn’t limit them in the future. So
when you think about the lifespan of these implementations, three to five years, I think you need
to have all of the options; cellular coms, WiFi, near-field communications, Bluetooth. These will
enable you to not only address your immediate needs, but also the future ones.

Andrew:

You have deployed thousands of mobile devices out there in the marketplace. What are the
general benefits that your customers are experiencing?

Alex Koumaras:  

Look, one of the major ones, it’s effectively an area that they don’t have to worry about all of a
sudden. So what we’re doing is taking the guesswork out of such a large fleet that can range into
the tens of thousands sometimes. So knowing full well that you’ve got a common image across
all of those (devices) and a version of hardware and whatever else, is definitely something that
customers benefit from and are able to actually see out a three to five year period.

Andrew: 

Tell me a bit about Leopard Systems.

Alex Koumaras:

We’re an enterprise mobility solution provider servicing the transport logistics, retail
and field service industries.

Andrew: 

Well, thanks Alex. You can find out more about Leopard Systems. Just visit them online at
www.leopardsystems.com.au. Thanks Alex.

Alex Koumaras:   

Thank you.

 

If you would like learn more about best practice enterprise mobility solutions for the transport and logistics industry, download our Transport Strategy Kit.

Upgrading to Android: How to navigate the next-generation enterprise mobility landscape

Innovative companies seeking strong business outcomes in 2018 and beyond are strategically upgrading their enterprise mobility systems to the world-leading mobile device operating system, Android.

Why? Because over the course of the next two years Microsoft will phase out all support for Windows Embedded Operating Systems leaving many businesses without a choice.

Unfortunately, if your organisation operates any consumer-grade or rugged handheld devices running Windows applications, Microsoft will not be releasing any more system updates, security patches or bug fixes; and specialist support for these applications will no longer be available when things go wrong.

In fact, ‘End of Life’ dates for Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1 and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 are 10 April 2018 (already passed), 9 July 2019 and 14 January 2020, respectively.

Importantly, there’s still time to start planning in order to make smart decisions about what your company needs to do to get your future-ready mobility system in place—whether that’s changing how you do business, upgrading old devices to  ensure Android-compatible devices and software are used.

For warehousing, manufacturing, transport and logistics, retail and field service companies with thousands of employees in Australia using mobile computers and handheld devices to streamline operations and service their customers; it’s an inevitable and considerable project to manage. But now’s the time to safeguard against becoming vulnerable or exposed by security breaches and viruses, struggling to fix software bugs while adding new applications and software capabilities.

Here, we outline what’s essential to consider when upgrading your company’s enterprise mobility system to the flexible, familiar and reliable Android platform.

 

MAKING THE SWITCH TO ANDROID

First and foremost, if you’re a large company running a big fleet of mobile computers and handheld devices you’re likely to have a sizeable cash investment in the software you’re using, therefore, when Windows-based operating systems becoming obsolete, your software will need attention.

  • If your mobility software has been developed in-house or developed by a small software company, then it will likely need to be reworked to run on the Android platform – which, understandably, will come at a cost.
  • If your software has been developed by a larger software provider, such as SAP, Salesforce, or even Leopard Systems, and your provider has kept pace with mobile technologies and developed an Android version, then the majority of  software development work has already been done, providing for simplified migration. That said, it’s still a substantial project for your company to smoothly replace and transition from Windows to Android and to navigate your way through the changes necessary and potential challenges with your software provider.

Secondly, a considerable hurdle for your company to address at some point, is how to cover the internal costs, the external costs of new software development, the operational downtime costs and the costs associated with mitigating all potential risks associated with a changeover.

Furthermore, it’s a question of deciding on the right time, in essence when the balance – between continuing to use old Windows devices without incurring the upgrade costs and having the funds to support your inevitable upgrade and investment to Android – is right. Choosing when to make the upgrade investment, balanced against the risk of using a system that won’t be supported or updated in the future, will be unique to your company and mobile enterprise operations.

Lastly, is to be aware of the amount of time left on the Windows mobile ‘support clock’. Two years is not a long lead time when typical software development cycles can be anything from 6 to 18 months to rewrite specific application components in preparation for an Android upgrade.

 

THE ANDROID ‘RUGGED VS CONSUMER’ DEVICE DEBATE

Although many companies consider implementing a mobility fleet of employee-owned consumer-grade devices via a BYOD approach, most organisations have discovered that the risks and associated costs with BYOD have proven unfavourable.

In many instances, employees may not own a suitable device, or their device may not run the specific software required, or using a personal device for work is just not practical.

Likewise, consumer BYOD devices don’t always suit business workflow and operations, and may end up costing more when the total cost of ownership over several years is factored in, accounting for increased repair and replacement costs and downtime losses.

In contrast, rugged company-owned mobile devices have proven a superior investment compared to consumer BYOD devices because they:

  • Always have removable batteries – so you can replace the batteries after a busy shift or coordinate to renew batteries when they’re worn out, without any work downtime or losses.
  • Are less likely to break – so less downtime and lower repair/replacement costs, thus saving money over the life of the device.
  • Can have a comprehensive repair contract attached to them – providing a fixed cost of repair for the full lifecycle of each device, therefore supporting your hardware management costs and efforts.
  • Have model longevity – you can continue to buy the same rugged devices for 3-5 years, and not need a new model every 6-12 months, so staff remain familiar with the device model and the software configuration on it, to help maintain and maximise work productivity.
  • Have support longevity – you can access device repair and support for 3-5 years after the model is no longer being sold.
  • Have a greater range of accessory options, for example, vehicle cradles, battery chargers, multi cradles, printers and so on.
  • Are less likely to be stolen or lost because they are undesirable to the public as a personal item.
  • Have in-country enterprise-ready support mechanisms in place.

 

NAVIGATING THE ANDROID LANDSCAPE

If you’re running a Windows-based mobile fleet system with a software vendor who;

(1) may no longer be in business,

(2) may no longer offer support, or

(3) may have no intention of upgrading their software to Android,

then, first and foremost, it’s a matter of selecting an alternative software provider/system and plan transition to a completely new system.

Justifiably, there are a few directions a company may decide to pursue as they navigate the move from Windows to Android. Rugged Android devices have been available to purchase for some time, however what steps do YOU need to take to optimise your investment and transition to Android?

Initially, determine if your current enterprise mobility software vendor has kept pace with emerging technologies and already provide for Android capability within their current software.

For example, if you use a proprietary mobile retail or transport software, has that software vendor kept up and purposefully developed for Android, as well as offering Android support?

If ‘yes’, and you’re satisfied with what that vendor provides, then this will be the most cost-efficient and beneficial path to take. A straightforward version upgrade for the mobile software on your handheld devices, that automatically works with your backend system, is ideal. Plus, with no major integration costs, work or downtime, you’ll simply continue business operations following an upgrade to new software on Android devices.

If your current software vendor does NOT support Android, then you’ll need to evaluate alternate software vendors that do, and you’re confident in partnering with for the next five to ten years.

This then becomes a larger decision and implementation project depending on how your mobile software needs to be developed to integrate with your backend business system. If you decide to move to new mobility software, then you’ll need to invest in suitable integration work in order to insert all the data into the correct identical places that your previous system did, to keep your business operations working smoothly and on track.

In contrast, if your mobility software was developed in-house, as a number of smaller retail, field service and transport companies have done, it’s highly likely that your system won’t have Android capability or support.

In this case, you’ll need to assess whether to manage your Android upgrade internally, which could be costly in development, or investigate alternative external software vendors who offer a ready-made solution, or have a roadmap and development cycle, that fits your requirements for Android, then manage the integration project.

 

OPTIMISATION THROUGH MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT (MDM)

In conjunction with moving your mobility solution to Android, now’s the perfect time to conduct a full assessment of emerging technologies and specialty services that your company may wish to harness in the future for system optimisation.

With the rapid pace of smart internet-connected devices – with sensors, cameras, trackers and more – creating exciting opportunities within the mobility-IoT ecosystem, it’s wise to make decisions that don’t exclude technology options for the future.

A future-proofed mobility strategy should encompass remote hardware access and management. Android is evolving and updating far more rapidly than any other mobile operating system previously. Therefore, the need to provide system upgrades and security patches on Android devices efficiently is vital.

Android rugged devices require weekly and quarterly updates for security, preventing important data from being stolen or the disruption of your service to your customers. In short, they need to be updated at least quarterly and much more frequently than Windows devices.

Therefore, you can’t go more than three months without some sort of Android device update. This equates to quarterly updates for the next five years, making MDM services a key consideration for any Android upgrade and part of an overall mobility strategy review.

 

WHAT’S YOUR ANDROID STRATEGY?

As the next five to ten years will give rise to new advances in mobility technologies, while concurrently establishing a universal system for integrating such technologies, balancing future opportunities against unknown risks is essential.

Partnering with an enterprise mobility solution provider who understands and is at the forefront of driving innovation in this field will ensure the best outcome for your solution and give your company a competitive edge.

Leopard Systems are proud leaders in the provision of multi-platform subscription based mobility software solutions, hardware supply, device fleet management, rollout and support.

We’re skilled at implementing and deploying new hardware for large-scale fleets using your software solution of choice or our proprietary solutions best suited for your business needs.

To discuss your software, hardware requirements and mobility strategy, contact Leopard Systems today.

 

Already negotiating the transition? We also offer interim rugged devices for organisations to rent Windows devices while developing their Android mobility strategy. Rather than purchasing a new fleet of soon-to-be-obsolete Windows devices, rent these serviced and operational devices from Leopard Systems for a fraction of the cost. Don’t invest in a product that will shortly need to be replaced! Contact Leopard for more information about our device rental service.

Tech to Connect: How to Share Delivery Data for Better Supply Chain Results

Is key data from your business systems easily shared with your supply chain partners, and vice versa?

Does your supply chain operate as an end-to-end digital ecosystem with an exchange of accurate real-time information between systems; enabling greater shared efficiencies, trust and collaboration?

If not – but you want the synergistic rewards made possible by exchanging intelligence with your supply chain partners – we’ll outline the technology to connect your systems and make this happen.

Why share information?

Thanks to increasing globalisation and customer demands, supply chains are longer and more elaborate than ever before.

While the gap between downstream supply chain activities and upstream business results is widening; the sharing of accurate real-time information end to end with supply chain partners helps compensate this by enhancing business visibility.

In fact, knowing exactly how your business activities interconnect, strengthens supply chain partner relationships. Which results in more opportunities to collaborate, maximise productivity and win more business.

A bridge across systems

Digital solutions and specific technologies make sharing supply chain information easy. A cost-effective delivery solution, that bridges diverse supply chain systems, would enable greater interoperability and real-time data exchange; creating an ecosystem of well-connected, collaborative supply chain partnerships.

Ideally, this would allow all systems, from international companies to single truck operators, to talk to each other; extracting and sharing valuable data in a standardised way. And, therefore, enabling fluid supply chain data visibility for next steps, such as invoicing, accounts payable, driver payments, contractor payments, HR management, performance measurements and so on.

Let’s review the technology features of a digital system that connects supply chain partners with valuable actionable information…

Gathering supply chain information

First, Internet of Things (IoT) devices that gather and transmit data into your digital system are fundamental. These are typical sensing and tracking devices that detect accurate physical characteristics about a product you’re moving through your supply chain.

For example, a pallet RFID tag is detected by an RFID reader as a unit load of known quantity is moved out of a warehouse; a GPS vehicle telematics device creates real-time location data for freight items in a delivery vehicle; a temperature sensor with a perishable product indicates the temperature conditions the product goes through during transport; a customer-signed digital POD on a smartphone signals a successful delivery, and so on.

Collating data about your freight products is the core information handled by your digital supply chain solution. Such an IoT system receives huge volumes of continuous data that provides insight for managing entire operations.

Further, advanced technologies transmit abundant real-time data to your digital system about how a process is being performed. For example, vehicle telematics devices, gather detailed information on how a vehicle is used in relation to how the driver behaves.

Unfortunately, the danger is that some businesses assume the data gathered from these devices is sufficient to manage deliveries effectively from end to end. While this could be true for businesses who dominate a supply chain or who have a short supply chain (i.e. minimal delivery steps), it imposes limits on what can be achieved in collaboration with the compatible systems of your supply chain partners.

Sharing and analysing delivery data

Second, we need to share real-time data from your frontline sensing devices to the connected backend business systems of your organisation and your various supply chain partners.

Specifically, Cloud technology delivers computing services via the internet. The ‘cloud’ allows your gathered data to be securely stored, shared, analysed and monitored in real time. In addition, smart IoT appliances connect to the internet constantly and seamlessly gather explicit data that can be rapidly exchanged with linked supply chain systems.

In combination, Cloud and IoT technologies use the internet to securely connect computing services with physical data-collecting devices. The connectivity of many devices and systems is key, enabling the continuous communication and exchange of data in real time.

A cloud-based delivery solution, such as Leopard’s Delivery Cloud – that automatically gathers and analyses supply chain data from sensing devices, in real time, and exchanges data with your supply chain partners’ systems – would be ideal.

A standard way to exchange information

Third, adopting industry standards as bridging protocols for exchanging data across varied systems promotes collaboration between supply chain partners. This enables rapid communications and responses to supply chain challenges faced by multiple partners.

A standardised method makes it easier for diverse systems to communicate goods and freight information to other supply chain partners who have systems with the compatibility to accept and understand your information.

GS1’s global industry-wide standards for exchanging supply chain information allow diverse systems to share data. GS1 Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Standards enable accurate data to rapidly exchange between compatible systems of discrete supply chain partners and numerous back-end systems. In effect, the various systems ‘speak’ the same language, doing away with expensive proprietary closed systems at odds with collaboration. In addition, GS1 Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) Standard is the industry-wide data language for communicating supply chain visibility ‘events’.

When communication is clear, confidence builds and visibility increases, making information flow better to all members of the supply chain. Trust is established between supply chain members, leading to faster collaborative decision-making, and pursuing new business opportunities based on real strategic advantages rather than inadequate approximations.

Communicating visibility

In addition to seamless data exchange messaging between linked mobility and business systems, voice technologies, that keep everyone informed and on task, can be invaluable.

 

Cloud-based push-to-talk applications allow instant two-way messaging and open communication channels between field personnel and other parties. Operators can transmit voice, from hands-free environments, or text messages through to a web-based portal for management to act on in mission-critical situations or to improve workflows in real time

Enterprises that take advantage of voice-enabled technology as part of their greater digital ecosystem’s data flow, further enhance the quality of their supply chain collaborations and business results.

Need an agile industry-proven solution that unites your mobility system with those of your supply chain partners?

Leopard’s Delivery Cloud solution, part of the Leopard mobility suite, is a cost-effective enterprise mobility solution for any supply chain partner needing to participate in your supply chain’s digital ecosystem. You simply subscribe your operators to the cloud-based solution.

Furthermore, Leopard Delivery Cloud can be expanded to a fully integrated delivery and supply chain solution that:

  1. Gathers all types of data from many types of sensing devices (including telematics),
  2. Shares and analyses data with designated linked business systems
  3. Uses global standards for exchanging data
  4. Harnesses voice communications.

In suitable consultation, either with Leopard analysts or your team using the specific API, Leopard Delivery Cloud can exchange critical data with backend business systems across your supply chain partners.

Ultimately, an extensive range of systems can be linked to exchange information depending on what you need to enhance your supply chain operations and partnerships.

To summarise, a holistic digital solution that maximises supply chain partnerships will:

  • improve visibility putting you in control to make better decisions and solve problems
  • increase productivity when you streamline processes and eliminate redundant workflows
  • reduce costs by minimising errors and disruptions, and proactively managing risks
  • enhance your customer experience and loyalty by providing a personalised delivery experience that’s better than your competition and delights your customers
  • win new business from new opportunities revealed by your trusted supply chain partnerships.

Why not give Leopard a go?

You’ve got nothing to lose and supply chain efficiencies to gain. Get in touch today to discuss your supply chain needs. Plus we’ll happily put you in touch with some of our clients so you can hear their stories and find out if a similar Leopard enterprise mobility solution could work for you.

Contact us now on 1300 LEOPARD.

Vehicle telematics for your team: The hidden enterprise benefits of fleet and driver data

Unwatched, unmonitored vehicles could be wasting significant business resources.

However, with a smart solution in place, your vehicle fleet can become a source of business intelligence that boosts efficiencies across your entire enterprise.

That’s why more and more transport and logistics companies make clever use of vehicle ‘telematics’ systems.

Fleet telematics, in essence, is a real-time multi-vehicle tracking system. A telematics solution syncs vehicle computer systems with a centralised web-based interface to extract, store and receive high-value data about your vehicles and drivers.

Insights for all departments: What business problems can vehicle telematics solve?

For transport and supply chain companies with multiple vehicles, telematics could improve all areas of your business. But how?

In general, delivery fleet telematics systems improve business via;

  • Fuel savings
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower wages
  • Improved efficiency
  • Cost-effective communications.

From retrieving fuel usage, driving time, idling time, fault diagnostics, instrument readings and mechanical data from each vehicle, to sensing harsh braking, acceleration and cornering by drivers, plus real-time GPS location and rapid accident detection – a fleet telematics solution offers must-have insights that will improve your operations, enhance output, save money and reduce pollution.

Yet, even greater results are possible when your whole team take advantage of telematics information. Each department’s inefficiencies can be scrutinised, questioned and resolved via a whole-of-business approach.

 

Questions your various departments may ask:

MANAGEMENT:

Managers study telematics data to better understand where business losses are occurring.

  • How many accidents did we have last year and why? What preventive measures can we apply?
  • What’s causing excessive fuel use? How can we reduce our fleet’s total fuel consumption?
  • What returns could we expect from expanding into a new territory or introducing a new product?
  • How can we better anticipate our company needs and maximise new opportunities?

Managers leverage vehicle telematics intelligence to make high-level decisions based on real facts and figures to increase productivity, reduce costs and enhance customer service.

A well-designed vehicle telematics system will inherently improve driving standards and prevent accidents, which will reduce liabilities across a whole fleet for peace of mind.

FINANCE:

Financial Directors access telematics information to gain a clear picture of an organisation’s operations, to see where both saving and making money is possible.

  • What adjustments will make our fleet vehicles more efficient and reduce overtime costs?
  • How can we reduce our vehicle liabilities to save on insurance premiums?
  • What changes can we make to price our delivery tasks more competitively?
  • How can we better manage our capital investments and vehicle assets for greater returns?

Vehicle telematics systems accurately record and accumulate information about fuel use, vehicle maintenance, fleet productivity and safety reports.

Your finance department will find new ways to reduce costs, verify expenses, improve invoicing and increase efficiencies, such as optimising fuel use, reducing delivery times and eliminating unauthorised mileage.

SALES & MARKETING:

Sales & Marketing Directors increase company sales and grow business. With telematics data, they manage sales more effectively and instigate intelligent marketing strategies.

  • Which geographic territories are falling short of our sales targets, and why?
  • What type of driver is delivering most efficiently and effectively? How can we replicate this?
  • What can we learn from our current customers and deliveries to improve future sales results?
  • Are there reoccurring sales patterns or delivery results that reveal new markets?
  • Where should we put more salespeople?

With proof-of-service, business mileage and customer delivery reports, vehicle telematics helps increase sales and business growth, all while increasing customer confidence and satisfaction.

HUMAN RESOURCES:

Human Resources Managers use fleet telematics communications to enhance staff efficiencies, provide incentives for improved performance and motivate employees to work harder and smarter.

  • How can we provide a safer work environment while maintaining productivity?
  • What driver behaviours are impacting business operations? How can we improve our workforce?
  • Are our delivery drivers and vehicles OHS and regulation compliant? If not, why not?
  • What changes will enhance driver safety and vehicle efficiencies while minimising risks and saving fuel?

In-vehicle instructions, driver coaching, navigational assistance and safety awareness from the telematics device ensure new employees learn best-practice driving, while established drivers enhance their skills.

Further, telematics device systems offer accurate ‘hours of service’ tracking for payroll accounting, workplace compliance and staff management purposes. Plus, automated driver time-sheets reduce errors and save HR managers’ time.

FLEET OPERATIONS:

Fleet Managers demand comprehensive up-to-the-minute whole fleet, specific vehicle and individual driver information from fleet telematics systems.

  • What new strategies can we apply that will save more fuel and reduce maintenance costs?
  • How can we improve delivery response times and increase fleet utilisation?
  • What routing and scheduling adjustments can we make to improve efficiencies?
  • What type of driver is the safest and most productive? How can we increase this type of driver?
  • What vehicle maintenance and compliance measures can we perform without impacting operations?
  • How are we responding to vehicle breakdowns and security issues?

Vehicle telematics give fleet managers a wealth of accurate real-time vehicle information, such as how a vehicle is being operated, what engine care is needed, what delivery job is being executed and precisely where a vehicle is at any given moment.

Telematics unlocks extra revenue through complete fleet management control and continual optimisation of fleet operations.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:

Customer Service agents seek to provide accurate information to customers through a high level of support. Real-time vehicle telematics data, accessed via a web-based interface, clarifies customer queries relating to delivery arrival times, service schedules, demurrage events, proof of site visits, and so on.

  • Where is a customer’s delivery right now? When will the delivery arrive at the customer’s address?
  • Any mechanical alerts or vehicle problems responsible for a delivery delay?
  • What nearby fleet vehicle can cover deliveries for a vehicle breakdown or other disruption?
  • How can we improve response times and better serve our customers?

In-cabin speaker communication to drivers from customer service agents saves time, improves productivity and addresses customer queries quickly. Live vehicle tracking and customer exchange tracking provide transparency and build customer trust with your company.

By helping customers with the best, most accurate information available, excellent customer service is provided, customer satisfaction increases and your reputation is protected.

ON THE ROAD:

Delivery Drivers, Sales Personnel and Field Service agents, often in fleets of thousands, are at the coalface of vehicle telematics systems.

Their driving behaviours detected by vehicle sensors, and other pertinent engine parameters, plus route history and real-time GPS location, are continuously reported to the telematics data ‘ecosystem’. Typically, driver questions concern their day’s work;

  • What’s my optimised route and delivery order for today’s tasks?
  • Is this fleet vehicle compliant, serviced and safe for me to drive? Am I safe to drive it?
  • What’s my next delivery location? What’s the most efficient way to get there? How long will it take?
  • How can I adjust my driving to be more resourceful, save fuel and reduce vehicle wear?
  • Where is my vehicle located exactly? To notify a stolen vehicle to police or receive breakdown assistance.

Tracking of drivers and vehicles verifies ‘proof of delivery or service’ at the customer’s location, manages driver fatigue and simplifies ‘chain of responsibility’ tasks which, naturally, help drivers to perform well.

Vehicle telematics support drivers to lower costs, increase competitiveness and enhance service levels.

In turn, this creates a prosperous future for everyone connected to your company including employees, suppliers and customers.

Leopard Telematics for fleets of all sizes

Leopard Telematics, powered by Geotab, is an innovative fleet management technology that communicates vehicle data, including GPS tracking, driver behaviour and engine parameters, from an in-vehicle Geotab GO device to a secure web platform called MyGeotab Dashboard.

Easy and quick to set up, the Geotab vehicle tracking device simply plugs into the engine diagnostic OBDII port of your vehicle. No special tools or fitting expertise needed. An adapter or harness is available for when there’s no OBDII port, when the OBDII port must remain free for servicing requirements, or when the Geotab device must be secured out of reach.

Next, the device serial number, company name, asset number and odometer reading are entered into the Geotab web platform to complete the installation and connect all communications. That’s it, you’re done and ready to go.

With real-time vehicle locations on the map, safer driving environments and the undeniable cost savings of improved efficiencies, Leopard’s telematics solution offers a powerful productivity-boosting return on investment.

Affordable intelligence

Compared to traditional ‘black box’ engine recording devices, the Geotab device is a fraction of the size to install. And, for such a low-cost rapid installation, the Leopard Telematics system provides comprehensive intelligence to answer the important vehicle and driver questions asked by the largest of transport companies.

Furthermore, the Geotab device and similar OBDII plug-in devices can integrate data seamlessly from many vehicle systems, such as temperature sensors, low-resolution parking cameras, load detectors and more – making it an obvious and economical choice for delivery fleets.

In short, because knowing where your vehicles are, knowing your drivers are safe and knowing your resources are used wisely is important; the value of a vehicle telematics solution cannot be underestimated.

To find out more about Leopard Telematics, download our solution datasheet for details or contact us directly with any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you use telematics to unleash productivity and efficiency for your business.