The system will enable Rank Hovis, which delivers more than a million tonnes of flour a year to bakers and industrial and wholesale outlets, to check and receipt deliveries and manage the audit process more efficiently.
"The mobile system will give us improved visibility of deliveries, greater accuracy as information is no longer rekeyed in the office and faster invoicing, among other things," said John Redshaw, national logistics controller at Rank Hovis.
The company has fitted 34 of its delivery vehicles with Symbol Pocket PC devices, running the Collection and Delivery application from software provider Three X. The system includes an onboard docking station, printer and modem, with communication via Vodafone's GSM network.
How the system works
When the driver logs on to his system at the start of his shift, job details - delivery schedule, customer information and manifest - are downloaded to his handheld device.
At each stop, the driver is prompted to enter full information on delivery status - a clean or partial delivery, or non delivery. If there is a discrepancy, the driver amends the quantity and selects a reason before verifying the number and type of pallets exchanged. This audit capability helps to cut costs by ensuring pallets are not lost or misplaced. A receipt is then printed which the customer signs and retains for reference.
When the handheld is returned to its docking cradle, details are sent back, via the GSM network, to Rank Hovis headquarters in High Wycombe. An invoice is then triggered.