Logistics company Raben Group chose the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK N1 for its drivers’ handheld. Thanks to them, information recorded during the transport process is automatically sent to the company’s IT systems, and data synchronization between the elements of the process takes place in real time.
Any solution that improves the process management and communication in logistic companies is extremely beneficial, which is why mobile systems and devices are increasingly popular in this sector. They help to streamline the process of receiving and releasing goods, enable goods to be constantly monitored, provide up-to-date information to clients and better manage the fleet and processes in the organisation.
For its drivers, Raben Group chose 4.7-inch rugged TOUGHBOOK N1 handhelds which combine the functions of a tablet, phone and a barcode reader. The basic task for the device is to collect and provide real-time data on the status of the shipment. As a result Raben Group provides its clients and customers with the added value of a very precise tool for monitoring deliveries. In addition, the handheld is used by drivers to navigate, communicate with the transport dispatcher and customer service department as well as support additional applications that facilitate their daily work.
Implementation in 11 countries
By the end of March 2019, approximately 5,500 mobile devices were implemented in 65 branches of the Raben Group, including 4,000 TOUGHBOOK N1 units. The project covered 11 countries (the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary and Ukraine). Its scale was one of the biggest challenges during implementation.
The units at the production stage were equipped with the required software, including TLME (TISLOG Mobile Enterprise) and MDM (Mobile Device Management). Next, Raben integrated them with their systems: TMS (Transport Management System), T&T (Truck&Trace), transport map (PTV), transport navigation (PTV), vehicle management application (TISLOG), the tool counting the ETA parameter (xServer) and the Raben archive Contman CD3. In addition, the devices have been adapted to the requirements imposed in individual countries by the regulatory authorities. For example, in Poland the units have been equipped with the SENT GEO application, which allows online monitoring of excise goods.
“We are constantly changing and therefore implementing new solutions in response to the expectations of our clients,” says Bartosz Kolasiński, project manager at Raben Group. “Our employees have the opportunity to use modern, innovative systems and applications, while our customers, thanks to the possibilities offered by telematics, can optimize their work. All this would not be possible without efficient communication and a competent end user.
“It is equally important to choose the right equipment that guarantees the implementation of the developed IT solutions. TOUGHBOOK N1 is such a device. It has everything we needed – high efficiency, compact size, durability, accurate GPS system, clear display and a convenient code scanner. Taking into account the scale of the project we decided to choose Panasonic solutions as the company offered service support at every stage of implementation and after its completion, as well as the ability to customize devices to our needs.”
Real-time information flow
The aim of the implementation was to improve the flow of information at every stage of the order and thus provide customers with precise, up-to-date data on the expected delivery time, status, watermark and access to documents – individually for each shipment – delivered with the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK N1. Therefore, when selecting the device, the key elements were reliability, wireless connectivity from anywhere, data transmission and adequate computing power to allow processing of the data on the device.
Thanks to these features, Raben Group can use an innovative parcel tracking system based on the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) parameter. It uses information about the current position of the driver based on the GPS location provided by the device. In contrast to standard solutions of this type, which are based on historical statistical data, the Raben system uses real-time data and works with current information obtained dynamically during the implementation of tasks, calculating for example unforeseen events on the road.
Navigation, barcode reader and phone in one
For Raben drivers, the TOUGHBOOK N1 handheld had now become an everyday tool. The angled barcode reader enables efficient scanning of labels all the way through the whole loading and transporting process. The device also allows signature capture confirming the delivery of goods and creating electronic POD documents (Proof of Delivery). As a result, the work involved in handling paper documentation is limited, as well as the number of voice calls between the dispatcher and drivers.
The device also saves the latitude and longitude of each event and maps the route the truck travels, monitors the start/end time of the route, the number of kilometres travelled, stops visited and each operation performed on the shipment, including pallet support. At the same time, arrival and departure times as well as all operations related to delivery or collection are recorded. Registration of all events related to the start/end of the route is also supported by the geo-fencing tool, so the driver only needs to ensure that the device is turned on and all parameters are calculated automatically.
Thanks to data collected by the TOUGHBOOK N1, dispatchers can constantly monitor the current position of vehicles, as well as compare it with the planned route and sequence of points on each route. They receive notifications of possible delays in delivery or receipt of goods (Early Warning Mechanism). This allows Raben to better manage the shipping and delivery process and to report these processes in detail. In addition, the handheld provides statistical information, such as application usage, battery condition and number of completed services.
Easy Mobile Device Management
In total, approximately 5,500 drivers use the mobile devices in the Raben Group. Ultimately the company plans to implement over 6,000 such models, including 5,000 Panasonic units. To manage such a large number of handhelds, Raben uses the MDM (Mobile Device Management) system, which provides the possibility of remote device management provided by TIS GmbH. The system allows IT managers to remotely configure devices and update software made available previously, as well as install additional applications according to identified needs. The devices have a 5-year warranty, under which the service is carried out door-to-door.
“The logistics industry is one of the key markets for Panasonic,” says Anna Mazur, key account manager at Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business Division – Europe. “That’s why we offer more and more handheld devices with a built-in barcode reader. The TOUGHBOOK N1 is an ideal model for projects such as the one undertaken in Raben, not only because of the use of the device itself, but also because of the scale of implementation. With such a large estate combined with additional services, such as adapting devices to the requirements of the end user, it is a very cost-effective device.”