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Collecting signatures on the EP10's screen is a critical change. "It helps reduce the number of claims and disputes after the fact," Zanette says. The built-in camera is used to document delivery and the condition of the products.
So far, with the new system deployed on more than 800 trucks for less than a year, Ferguson calculates that it has realized about $3 million in savings. The device will be rolled out to drivers for the remaining 2,300 or so trucks by March 2013.
The new system has reduced paperwork and administrative overhead for both drivers and distribution center staff. And Ferguson can now track customer satisfaction metrics, such as on-time arrivals at site, and on-time departures from distribution centers. It can now measure the average time-on-site for its drivers.
Eventually, the overall fleet management system will be expanded to monitor driver behaviors (excessive idling, hard braking, even fuel consumption) and capture vehicle monitoring and maintenance data.
"The more we progress with this, the more opportunities we're discovering in terms of enabling savings or customer service benefits," Zanette says.
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.