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Mobile Data – Improving the Quality of Decision-Making

  • 28 August, 2007 11:05

<p>Most of the freight industry’s major players are using mobile data – around 94% of those in the courier industry are using some form of it, along with freight companies ranging from small metro dispatch to large multi million dollar operators. But data without a structure or a vision is like having a tractor unit without its semi-trailer. Too many companies buy a data system and don’t use it – they find they’ve moved from a mountain of paper to a mountain of data.</p>
<p>A mobile workforce needs a record of the jobs it has to do, and companies need a record of the jobs in progress and those outstanding. Mobile data is a way of communicating information relating to job detail and progress, and recording every transaction along the way, without all the baggage of handwriting misinterpretations, time delays, lost dockets, key entry and after-the-event reporting, which the traditional paper system carries.</p>
<p>The tangible difference may appear to be a hand-held computer for field staff, a mobile terminal in the trucks of the fleet, or a scan gun in the warehouse, but operationally, this could be the ticket to power and results. So how do managers know when the time is right for the business to invest in mobile data, and how are the benefits quantified?</p>
<p>Mobile data by itself will not help to market a business, nor help it to compete, but it will help a company to take proactive actions, better understand its business, make better decisions, drive efficiencies into the business, drive compliance and help managers to see what is going wrong in real time.</p>
<p>If mobile data is used to make a positive change in the business, it will level the playing field with competitors (or at least slope it in its favour) if the company is the first in its field to make effective use of the data.</p>
<p>Mobile data allows managers to deal in certainty;</p>
<p>• If a linehaul vehicle is held up, the business is notified, not only of that vehicle’s delay, but also of the deliveries that will be affected, triggering automatic notification to all of those customers.</p>
<p>• The geography of all collections is known, along with the geography of all deliveries, allowing managers to calculate the difference in profitability of selling collections and deliveries in specific areas, in comparison to targeting new areas. If the difference is 15 %, what is that information worth?</p>
<p>• A problem with a specific driver or distribution centre manager will show up immediately, because reports are customised to specific needs.</p>
<p>• Managers can make specific comparisons between drivers, or to operational performance under a previous manager, and use these figures as a basis for a performance review.</p>
<p>By dealing in certainty, managers can promise their customers that they will deliver – and if they can’t deliver the goods, they can deliver timely information to enable their customers to plan around the arrival of that consignment.</p>
<p>With automated data capture, managers no longer have to work from generic reports – those built after the event, when all of the information has been collated, sorted and reconciled; those that are built to satisfy a key manager, but which don’t really relate to the other managers who also have to rely on them.</p>
<p>The fastest way to deliver the vision for a company is to make changes based on facts, not opinions. Data provides knowledge, and knowledge ensures that managers make the right decisions to deliver the company’s vision.</p>
<p>Blackbay has a wealth of experience in the Supply Chain and Field Service markets illustrated by the continued success of our clients. Contact marketing@blackbay for more information.</p>

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