By Ron Caines
For the past 12 years Minneapolis-based Street Fleet has operated as a courier service providing same day delivery and scheduled runs to the Twin Cities and the surrounding five-state region. Street Fleet has contracts with thousands of companies for the mission-critical delivery of legal documents, medical supplies, equipment and other necessary goods, making more than 1,000 deliveries a day.
As a full courier service, Street Fleet prides itself on its technological capability and superior customer service. For example, Street Fleet's interactive Web site allows customers to place orders online and track their status in real time, a service typically only available through large courier services such as FedEx.
With business booming, Street Fleet CEO Joe McGraw recognized the need for real-time data communications between the company's 100 vehicles in the field — including cars, pickups, vans, delivery trucks and bicycles — and its dispatching system. Street Fleet set out to upgrade its world-class dispatching system by supplying ruggedized, mobile handheld devices to all drivers in the field.
McGraw deployed the internal dispatching system by choosing integrator Emkat, Inc., a company that automates business processes utilizing Penchant Software, which provides customized solutions for the transportation, logistics and warehousing industries. With that area of the business addressed, McGraw turned his attention to incorporating a mobile computing device. Because customers depend on Street Fleet's personnel to deliver their cargo in a timely manner, a rugged mobile device was needed that also had the battery life to last an entire work day.
Street Fleet needed a rugged mobile computing device to tie into its real-time dispatching system to provide real-time data communications. The requirements were clear; the device had to:
- Be easy to use.
- Incorporate signature capture.
- Maintain all functionalities in extreme environments.
- Run on Windows Mobile.
- Work with a specific data carrier.
- Integrate with Emkat's deployment of Penchant Software.
- Sustain battery life through the entire work day.
In March 2009 Street Fleet began implementing 90 Psion Teklogix Ikôn rugged mobile computing devices in all field dispatch vehicles. The Ikôn matched the qualities that Street Fleet was looking for: they could be vehicle-mounted and/or carried by hand, were rugged, extremely user-friendly and are much easier to read in direct sunlight than other available PDAs. Additionally, "The Ikôn fits comfortably in the hand, not only in our driver's hands but in the hands of our customers who constantly hold it to sign off on deliveries," says McGraw.
A major factor in Street Fleet's selection of the Ikôn is its ability to run real-time data. Street Fleet now has the power to communicate more efficiently and track the GPS coordinates of all its new drivers. "Real time data, barcode scanning and signature capture not only place us ahead of our competition but impress our customers and allow them to have immediate status updates," says McGraw.
To communicate with the Ikôn, Street Fleet uses Penchant Software's dispatchOffice platform, which manages Internet order entries and can also determine the best driver and route with GPS mapping.
Exceptional Local Service through World-class Data
The Street Fleet drivers' routes change minute by minute as new jobs are dispatched. Fortunately for the field workers, the Ikôn battery life is strong enough that they are able to make it through the whole day without recharging. "We have been 'wowed' by the Ikôn devices and how incredibly intuitive they are to operate," says Paul Jarvis, a Street Fleet field manager. "We are also now able to track weather and traffic conditions during our routes, making getting back and forth that much easier."
Medical lab equipment, lab specimens, pharmaceuticals and vital legal documents make up 50 percent of Street Fleet's daily deliveries. These high-priority supplies and documents require significant attention with on-time, safe delivery. The signature capture feature ensures the package has been delivered successfully and customers can track status of deliveries in real time over the Web.
"Our customers rely on us to provide timely delivery of medical devices, lab specimens and other life-saving medical supplies on a daily basis. In order to accomplish this, it is imperative that we are using the most advanced technology to guarantee each delivery from dispatch to delivery," concludes McGraw.
About the Author: Ron Caines is president of worldwide sales at Psion Teklogix Inc. More information at http://www.psionteklogix.com/us.