LOGISTICS IT SOLUTIONS - “IT Solutions” revolutionize supply chain issues on multiple fronts

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Logistics  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTToday there seems to be an IT solution to everything. Scrambling to produce a wide host of solutions for a myriad of logistics situations, information technology providers are continually introducing what seems to be a boat load of systems.
Need a wireless system that will analyze how fuel efficient your drivers and trucks are operating? How about the ability to trace the location of your shipment while it is being transported via rail? Need to calculate your complete bottom line cost of shipment? You can do all of that. Last, but not least, what about screening client shipment records to make certain no one is up to illegal activity? In today’s security-conscience world, this knowledge can be invaluable.
Communications Tool and Fuel SaverGeoLogic Solutions offers its MobileMax multi-mode communications and tracking systems. Abilene, Texas-based LoneStar Transportation has equipped its fleet of 760 late model tractors and 1,200 trailers with MobileMax systems for the past five years. The systems give the fleet advanced tracking and communications capability necessary for communication with its over-the-road trucks and provides position reports to customers on their freight.
LoneStar Transportation handles a variety of freight for the construction, aerospace, oilfield, chemical, paper, plastics, metals, pipeline, and energy industries.
“While we can save transmission costs by utilizing the cellular system for communications and tracking in many areas,” says Trosky, LoneStar Transportation’s Vice President-IT. “A lot of our delivery sites are in the middle of nowhere. In those places we rely on the satellite system to remain connected to the vehicles.”
The MobileMax system at LoneStar is fully integrated with the carrier’s AS/400-based dispatch and management solution, a feature that Trosky said streamlines business processes for the company.
“GeoLogic was also instrumental in enabling that interface,” he added. “In addition, if we ever have any problems with the system we always have someone who can solve them. With one call to GeoLogic we get all the answers we need.”
Lonestar Transportation is now upgrading the system to the Cingular GPRS data solution offered by GeoLogic, which will speed transmission times and lower costs even further.
With today’s skyrocketing fuel costs, companies can now also purchase the ADV Monitor, an extra feature that goes with their MobileMax system. ADV Monitor provides real-time information on vehicle and driver performance that is sent automatically and without the need for driver interaction. By using the system to monitor its fuel consumption, Alabama-based Accelerated Freight Group is able to download data weekly on each driver and vehicle in its 70-vehicle fleet, including hours and miles driven, odometer readings, idle hours and miles per gallon.
“I look at the whole operation, and compute the numbers, and see what improvements can be made,” states Brett Vitrano, the operations research analyst for Accelerated. “A big aspect of my job is addressing fuel use and idle time because it’s the biggest component that can save our company money.”
Vitrano downloads the information into an Excel spreadsheet where it is put through several statistical and mathematical formulas to help retrieve a “purified and unanimous view.” The collected information is then cataloged with past data and put through a Regression Analysis to help predict future results and the variables that dictate performance.
The integrity of the results is important because each week, Accelerated drivers get a customized letter detailing whether they are above, below, or within acceptable idle time percentages. Drivers who exceed the pre-set goals are rewarded with bonuses, and those who are below the threshold are called to discuss contributing factors, such as a problem with the truck or their operating habits.
Track and tracing for rail shipmentsA downside to shipping by rail has always been the inability to

Karen Thuermer's avatar

American Journal of Transportation