Flywheel Logistics’ Pre-Pickup Tracking

by May 7, 2015 0 comments

The solution helps reduce customer attrition by 25% and reduce communication amongst stakeholders from 36 hours per transaction to a few minutes.

Flywheel Logistics offers different categories of services based on customer needs. Its FCL service changes the transportation unit from open-body conventional truck to a high capacity ISO standard 20 ft container (TEU). It is packed with features on safety, speed and transparency. Next comes LCL, which offers clients a hub-and-spoke national network to reach destinations far and wide. In the 3PL category, Flywheel manages warehouse and distribution services for clients across India. Flywheel’s distribution services, which includes Dedicated Fleet Solution (DFS) and Cold Chain solutions, now manage a 350 strong fleet.

They faced problems from the non-visibility of pickup vehicle scheduled for the pickup of the customer consignment. There is a scheduled pickup time slab but it was not visible to the customer before pickup. The GPS information was not fully utilized and assignment of vehicles was done manually. There were no pre-alerts on next assignment for the vehicles to the field operations and the vehicles were not tightly controlled under central operations. Most of time the customer and the complete logistics chain was just focusing on delivery, but ignored the fundamental issue of pickup not being properly aligned. This hindered timely delivery of consignments. There are unwanted follow-ups at the time of pickups by the customer to the CRM, which directly impacts the company reputation in terms of commitment. The customers would often ask, “When will the vehicle reach for pickup? Where is it? Please tell us clearly whether it will come or not?”

Pre-Pickup-Tracking

The implementation

They wanted to get the exact location of the vehicle before it is aligned for the next assignment. Also, post assignment a customer should have a real view of the vehicle reaching them for the Pickup. It includes an enhanced customer enquiry system where customer can track their orders by just entering the order no. They will get the exact position of vehicle over the map. A unique tracking experience also includes a pre-pickup vehicle where a consignor can track the vehicle reaching to them for the Pickup. This project is meant for the end customers and the customer facing CRM teams, operations teams, etc.

The key products used include: TM3000 devices that comprise GSM/GPRS/SMS, GPS receivers, modems, interface section, application processor, etc. The security is based on IP54 and the GPS antenna is SMA type. The software include: eFLITE (Flywheel Internal ERP) , Vehicle Locator, GPS Engine, Optimiser, and the Flywheel Customer Portal. The service partners provide GPS services, Integrated SMS Services, Data Integration Services from ERP for Order Portal and Google Map services. Telematics is used as Key technology for sending, receiving and storing information via telecommunication devices in conjunction with affecting control on remote vehicles.

The courage to start with the small IT budget got a headstart due to already fitted GPS devices in Flywheel vehicles and data that routes through their central server. They tactfully innovated the usage of telematics data used for routine customer order tracking. After assigning the vehicle, the pickup vehicle traceability became very easy for CRM as well as the customers. Traditionally, tracking was relevant only after the pickup, but logistics service providers are still focusing on the tracking mechanism during in-transit stage of the consignment. The loop of tracking which was starting from Pickup time to delivery time was now extended and linked with the assignment of the vehicle. And customer can be more informed and clear about the exact location of vehicle even before the Pickup, which will enable them to plan and align the loading team in a very precise manner.

Harvinder Singh Banga - Vice President - IT, Flywheel Logistics

Harvinder Singh Banga – Vice President – IT, Flywheel Logistics

Implementation challenges

The most challenging part is that telematics or GPS information is used for internal purposes, and logistics service providers are still not open to sharing the exact or real time view as this could some times create a difficult situation for the operations teams. Flywheel’s policy of being transparent to the customer gave this project a great strength.

Also drivers tend to tamper with the GPS devices fitted. This was overcome by two different parallel solutions: one was to choose the right compact devices which get fitted within dashboard without exposing wires. Secondly, they started an awareness campaign with drivers showing the benefits of personal safety with such devices.

Business benefits

Initially, there was multiple level of communication among the complete chain which consumed 36 hours per transaction. This was reduced to just a few minutes. The customer, CRM, Operations, Hub Staff, Field Officer and Driver were given live access to information. They have 750+ transactions a month, so the impact is huge. Prior to this implementation, there was a clear loss of 20-25% of genuine customer sales which hugely impacted the turnover/ growth rate of the organization. By adding this new technology, information visibility issues before pickup have been greatly resolved and more customer acquisition can be done. Customer satisfaction is also increased with the enhancement in customer experience. There is also a social impact as running KMs have reduced due to more clarity on the next assignment of the vehicle.

Future plans

Expected life of this project is till the time more robotics system enter the industry. Since they have moved some of their field operations on mobile devices, they would like to give the same experience to the customer on their mobile app. Also, they are still working on the algorithm for future multiple assignments for the same vehicles by creating all the permutations on the vehicle availability. This shall include built-in intelligence for auto assigning for best optimized and nearest vehicle. This shall provide hourly movement status to the subscribed customers till the Pickup is started along with dynamic expected time of arrival.

The USP of the implementation

The industry is still focusing on the tracking after the pickup is done, and still undertaking various experiments during timeline between pickup to delivery. Various transporters are still leveraging the GPS services for their internal monitoring and reporting, and people are still cautious showing the exact location to the client. Tracking became relevant only after pickup. The loop of tracking which started from pickup time to delivery time is now extended and linked with the assignment of the vehicle. Now the customer can be more informed and clear about the exact location of vehicle even before the pickup, which will enable them to plan and align the loading team in very precise manner.

 

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