Mobile computers keep freight on the move

Wednesday, 17 February, 2016 | Supplied by: Zebra Technologies

From humble beginnings in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1978, Mainfreight has grown into a leading logistics provider with operations all over the world.

The company prides itself on its ‘anything is possible’ attitude and a commitment to delivering consignments on time and damage-free. But managing logistics and distribution on such a large scale is a complicated business. It requires speed and accuracy, especially when dealing with such a high volume of consignments.

To honour its promises, Mainfreight uses technology to provide employees with insights on the go and a positive experience for its customers.

A pioneer of enterprise mobility, Mainfreight has been using handheld devices from Zebra Technologies since 1992, remote data updates from the cab since 1993 and introduced wireless coverage in 2006.

“We’ve been using these devices and capturing data for some time,” explained Kevin Drinkwater, chief information officer, Mainfreight. “Our drivers use mobile computers to record pickups and delivery, the date, time, driver details, location of driver and any special information, including taking photographs, needed when making the pickup or delivery.

“We also use the devices for notifying drivers of pickup jobs they have been allocated and drivers confirm their arrival at the customer’s site. Storemen use the handhelds for capturing information when unloading intercity, linehaul units.

“The data is used for track and trace, internally and externally and to pay drivers. It also enables us to provide historical reporting on delivery performance to our customers. We also track our driver locations using the GPS functionality in the scanners.”

Mainfreight wanted to refresh equipment across Australia and New Zealand to make these vital operational tasks even faster, more accurate and easier for its drivers and storemen. It wanted to enhance its operational efficiency in the processing, delivery and collection cycle and provide an enhanced experience to customers too.

Mainfreight opted to roll out 1500 of Zebra Technologies’ TC75 Enterprise Mobile Computers to staff in Australia and New Zealand as part of a $3 million investment.

Built on Zebra’s TC70 platform, the enterprise-grade Android device delivers an advanced mobile computing solution with multicarrier 4G LTE capabilities for constant connectivity. The TC75 can capture barcodes in virtually any condition and, while in the familiar design of a consumer smartphone, is rugged and ready for the demands of Mainfreight’s operations.

“Our scanning rates for both pickups and deliveries have risen significantly since we introduced the new scanners. We’re now very close to 100% versus just under 90% immediately before,” added Kevin.

“Having this information coming in from the devices across our business means we and our customers are working with extremely current, up-to-date information. It’s also really easy for new drivers to start using. Device training does seem to take less time.

“The flexibility and functionality is very powerful; the devices can handle applications that have been tailor made for Mainfreight, which means we can provide customers with an even better experience.

“We see that these new scanners will provide us a long-term platform to introduce future functionality, which will result in significant improvements in customer service as well as improved efficiency.”

Phone: 1300 225 593
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