“Are you crazy – you’re putting iPhones in your trucks???”
This was my reaction a few years ago when an operator told me he was sending his drivers out equipped with the first generation iPhones. This was before iPhones were even common place on the street, and when any devices in the cab were big, industrial, wrapped in rubber and generally cost upwards of $3,000 each.
Well hats off to that guy, he had it sussed. The $3,000 hardware wasn’t working for him, and he had the faith in his drivers to look after the gear. After all, the trucks they were driving cost upwards of $500,000 each, and in that context, what is another $1,000 for an optional extra in the shape of an iPhone equipped with all they need to manage their load paperwork?
Your business is dedicated to getting the right goods to the right place at the right time. This takes the careful co-ordination of customer orders, work allocation to the right driver and truck, communication of the special instructions, recording of the quantities and rates and the recording of the job as it is carried out. In this day and age, with all of the proven technology that surrounds us, does it really make sense to record all of this on slips of paper which are handed to the driver before he leaves?
Is it really right, that a driver needs to record his every move on either a log book, a job docket, or a running sheet, or all three? To hold it all together you have probably still got at least one admin clerk who key enters the runsheets to your payroll and the job dockets to your invoicing system. Even with the best will in the world, the more people involved in the process, the more likely human error is to appear in the numbers. Add to that the time for the dispatcher to work out his plan, then to convert it to driver instructions, and to ring it through to the driver. The driver, to be fair, is probably driving and can’t write it down too easily. So a few hours later he calls back the dispatcher for the right details, but the dispatcher is on lunch… so the driver does what he thinks he recalls, writes that down and your key entry girl key enters it. Perfect.
But imagine a world where your dispatcher organises the work and once he has his plan sorted, one push of a button sends it out to all of your drivers to arrive on their phones. Their instructions are there waiting for them when they next pull over, and it’s all in writing so no confusion. The driver confirms what he has picked up and when, then again when he delivers it, all in less time than it currently takes him to find a pen.
Can your drivers work a smart phone? If they’ve got kids, the chances are they are better at texting than you are, and most will be educated to the Trade-Me standard of computer literacy (more practical than any NZQA standard!). And when you are looking for paperwork, no more harried phone calls, just search the computer system from your office and the records will appear in front of you, filed by driver name, customer name, product type – whatever is easiest for you.
Even if your drivers wreck one phone per year. $1,000 a lot of money for a phone, BUT a phone these days is not JUSTS a phone, and it works out at only $20 per week over a year. $20 per driver per week is a whole lot less than you are currently paying in admin time for a slow, clunky and error prone process.
All we are waiting for now, is for the electronic log book to be approved and your drivers can focus on the job at hand – driving – whilst updating their paperwork is a task that takes a few seconds at each end. Those 10 mins saved at each end doing paper work, can now be put to good use on the road, because trying to claw 10 mins back from a journey time is a mugs game.