Magazine Article | December 1, 2005


Source: Field Technologies Magazine

A mobile solution allows a steel-hauling company to manage its growth and increase the accuracy of its pickups and deliveries.

Integrated Solutions, December 2005

K & D Transportation, Inc., a regional steel-hauling company operating 35 trucks throughout the Midwest, wanted to eliminate confusion in its dispatching process. As the company grew, the learning curve for drivers locating new addresses increased and dispatch operators were overwhelmed with requests from drivers requesting directions. In order to continue servicing its existing and new customers, K & D Transportation needed a change. John P. Hills, fleet safety director at K & D Transportation, Inc., was entrusted with finding a solution.

With the desire for smoother operations in mind, Hills began researching possible solutions. He wanted something the drivers would use, could reduce radio traffic, and would free up the office staff and dispatchers to concentrate on other activities. "We needed a solution that could stabilize our operations, increase the speed and accuracy of our pickups and deliveries, and allow staff members to work on the tasks assigned to them," says Hills. The office staff and dispatchers were spending too much time providing directions to destinations and assisting with detours the drivers encountered. K & D Transportation had previously used a mobile workforce system, but the drivers simply stopped using it because it wasn't meeting their needs and it was easier for them to call the dispatchers for directions. K & D Transportation turned to ALK Technologies for assistance in finding a better way to manage its drivers.

After road-testing several solutions with its fleet, K & D Transportation selected ALK Technologies' PC*Miler|Mobile solution. This solution uses global positioning system (GPS)-based routing information, communicated to drivers via Nextel mobile phones. With the mobile phones, drivers can receive hands-free, street-level directions for 7 million miles of North American roadways. The truck-specific information includes spoken directions explaining the most advantageous route, how to avoid roads with height restrictions and tight turns, and information about toll roads and road construction areas. PC*Miler|Mobile also provides dock-to-dock directions, 5 million points of interest including truck stops and weigh stations, and automatic route recalculations when an incorrect turn is made. The mobile phones have display screens capable of exhibiting a large area or zooming in to present detailed city roads.

K & D Transportation makes more accurate and timely deliveries and pickups now, even with its many new drivers and destinations. The routing solution reduces the need for drivers to contact dispatch when they have difficulty finding their destinations or require assistance when encountering a detour. As a result, the dispatch and office employees are available to perform other tasks, making the general office flow less confusing and less rushed. With PC*Miler|Mobile's Web-based tracking system, K & D Transportation's dispatchers can monitor drivers' locations at all times. This allows the dispatchers to notify customers of actual pickup and delivery times. According to Mike Livingston, general manager at K & D Transportation, "PC*Miler|Mobile provides a comfort zone. We like knowing our drivers have a tool like this on the road, giving truck-specific directions and automatically rerouting them when necessary. It's especially valuable when drivers are picking up or dropping off in a new area. It will also help us with driver retention and recruiting."