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Thinking outside the black box

Thinking outside the black box

Mobile solutions transform the way drivers, customers and suppliers interact

Supply chain data has traditionally been emitted from telematic devices attached to the trucks themselves. Devices connected to physical objects, emitting data that is both intermittent and limited. The driver, managed by information generated by wheels and metal, the human influence replaced by percentages and key performance indicators with limited visibility and insight. Reward replaced with reprimand. Today, the pervasiveness of mobile devices and exceptional connectivity has changed this. Uber is the startup mentioned in every entrepreneurial example for a reason – it took something simple and created a solution for something complex. And that simple thing? The mobile device.

“Mobility changes everything,” says David Slotow, CEO, Trackmatic. “It opens up extraordinary possibilities for the supply chain organisation, allowing it to take the way it measures performance and gains visibility to an entirely different level. Instead of the truck providing the information, it could be the driver. Just put a mobile device into their hands and they provide first hand, insightful and contextualised input that provides unprecedented quantity and quality data to the business.”

Black box solutions are almost the same as they were around ten years ago, when they first started to be reliably installed. The size and style may have changed, but the data and functionality has stayed the same largely due to its inherent limitations. For most companies the concept of the driver independently providing the data and insights the business needs is so far from the norm that it may as well be sharp turn to the left.  Yet this is exactly what mobile solutions offer – the ability to track performance regardless of whether the driver is freelance, full time or on trial, regardless of one’s own fleet, hired fleet or contractors…or a combination of all.

“The idea of a driver being the conduit of critical route and delivery information via a mobile phone is a unique perspective on how to solve some of the challenges facing operations,” adds Slotow. “The levels and depth of real-time data provided can be used to provide insight into how to address a multitude of logistics challenges that were previously thought unsolvable. In addition, putting the human touch to technology will translate into empowered drivers, satisfied customers and happier supply chain executives.”

The ability of mobility to transform industry and capability has been long documented in one success story after another. It is this global enabler that has allowed verticals to enhance offerings, build on insights and transform service delivery. For the supply chain industry, the creation of a mobile solution is a step towards an entirely different way of approaching operations, driver empowerment and customer service.

“The devices are now in the hands of the drivers and the data they generate is completely integrated into the business,” concludes Slotow. “It can be tied into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), it can monitor distance and delivery times, customer delays, issues with deliveries and all in real time. It takes the concept of customer delight out of the call centre and into the supply chain. Delays? Wrong deliveries? Issues are resolved instantly, not in days. And this is all thanks to the ubiquity of mobility.”

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