By Paul Weiss, Transport SME, Transtech, a division of Teletrac Navman
Running any transport operation is challenging, yet like any dangerous good, bitumen hauling comes with an extra layer of difficulty. Not only do you need to adhere to the highest levels of safety practices, but delivery needs to happen at the right time and at the right temperature or the bitumen becomes solid as a rock. The past practice of managing deliveries using spreadsheets, a flurry of emails, SMS notifications and phone calls means this is hit and miss. One of our customers, Fulton Hogan found that breakdowns in communication between office staff, drivers and customers made it difficult to deliver the quality service it prides itself on. It was becoming far too easy for human error to creep in, resulting in penalties of up to $3,000 per hour for late or cold deliveries. A new means of completing jobs was critical if the company was going to stay compliant with safety regulations without spending hours on manual tasks.
Bye bye paper, hello digital
To better manage deliveries, we suggested Fulton Hogan implement an integrated job management solution. The system allowed it to connect with their existing back-end transport management system where jobs were scheduled and sent automatically to the driver for each job to be completed without hassle. “We get the same real-time information back at the office, so in terms of allocating vehicles we can make sure we are meeting our legal requirements of safety and compliance.” says Jeff Sherriff, National Transport Manager at Fulton Hogan. Because this system connects to an in-cabin device, drivers receive delivery details in seconds, from bitumen temperature to weight, making recording of time at the loading and delivery points a simple feat and provides a means for instant proof of delivery. It also speeds up invoicing. Normally a week-long manual process of crunching numbers and poring over spreadsheets, is now a simple task as information is captured automatically.
Transforming customer service
The best customer experiences are quick, transparent and cohesive, but when you’re reliant on manual input and lengthy internal workflows, this is easier said than done. When customers can place orders online, this information can be combined with details of receipt and temperature monitoring that’s collected on the driver’s removable device to demonstrate it was completed as specified and generate real-time ‘proof of delivery’. “Since implementing this system, Fulton Hogan has met all its delivery requirements and our customer experience has improved substantially,” says Sheriff. To further improve visibility, it’s now looking at providing customers with access to data in real time, so they can track their bitumen order on route. For Sherriff, the most important objective is managing its compliance obligations as a dangerous goods carrier. “The community expects, and rightly demands, a safe and efficient transport industry. With a real-time job management solution, we provide them real assurance that our safety and compliance is top class.”