Mobile phone tracker keeps tabs on deliveries

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Mobile phone tracker keeps tabs on deliveries

Cliff Saran
DaimlerChrysler, which owns Mecedes-Benz, is extending a pilot IT programme based on an external mobile service to improve the delivery of components.

The aim is to improve logistics at Sindelfingen, the company's largest German manufacturing site, which handles 1,550 truck deliveries a day. The pilot extension takes place in June, and full roll-out is expected in early 2006.

The project involves using Trendfire Technologies' Real Time Mobile Logistics (RTML) service to gain greater supply chain visibility. RTML, which runs on a Nokia 60 series phone, is used each time a truck driver makes a delivery to the site.

The process kicks off when DaimlerChrysler places a components order, which is collected through RTML. When the components are picked up from the supplier, the driver uses a barcode or RFID reader to scan each item loaded on to the truck.

This information is then presented automatically on the driver's 60 series phone and RTML is updated. The driver can also use the phone to photograph damaged goods and send the information back to RTML.

Location-based services then track the truck's journey via the driver's mobile phone.

When the driver enters the Sindelfingen site, Bluetooth on the phone is used to authenticate the driver and provides drop-off locations for the delivery. At the same time, the phone's camera is automatically disabled, to comply with corporate policy.

The project's big attraction for DaimlerChrysler is its ability to improve the supply chain simply by issuing drivers with a mobile phone. No extra software is required by the component supplier or logistics operator.

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