Haulage company fits 150 trucks with new onboard computers. Farm Trans has the edge thanks to CarCubes.
Farm Trans has fitted 150 trucks with a CarCube, the onboard computer from Trimble Transport & Logistics. Thanks to the CarCube the drivers of the specialist in chilled and frozen goods transport and the transport of organic raw materials drive far fewer kilometres and use a good deal less fuel than before. That means that Farm Trans will recoup their investment within six months. The onboard computers were integrated with Mitoz TMS and the salary management system from LogicWay in a very short space of time. Director Theo Bos from Farm Trans: “We are now pulling ahead in the market, and for the time being no-one is going to take that lead away from us.”
The impetus for acquiring the CarCube was the truck navigation offered by this onboard computer. The Farm Trans trucks were covering six to ten percent more kilometres than necessary according to the TLNplanner, the route planning system on which the haulage company's rates are based. “Now that we use the navigation module in the CarCube, the discrepancy compared to the TLNplanner is not even three percent. That is enough to recoup the investment in new onboard computers within six months,” says Theo Bos, founder and director of Farm Trans, which specialises in chilled and frozen goods transport and organic raw materials such as potatoes and cereals.
To begin with, Farm Trans fitted the CarCube in five trucks, as an experiment. “They've never been removed. In December last year we started to fit them in the other trucks. Since the summer 150 trucks have been given the new onboard computer,” according to Bos. These trucks drive all over central and western Europe, as far as Poland and the United Kingdom.
Pulling ahead thanks to Trimble
The investment in the CarCube fits in with Farm Trans's policy to keep investing and innovating in the field of computerisation. Bos: “As the haulier I have little influence on the rates - those are determined by the market. What I do have influence over is our own cost price. That means that I try to strip everything out of it in order to keep the cost price as low as possible. IT plays a hugely important role in this,” says the director/owner.
Bos particularly appreciates Trimble's enthusiasm for meeting the special wishes of Farm Trans quickly. “With a standard system we are a standard carrier. We want to be more than that. Thanks to CarCube and Mitoz, our transport management system, we are now pulling ahead. For the time being no-one is going to take that lead away from us.”
Onboard document scanning
Farm Trans has discovered many more advantages of the new onboard computer. An example is the realtime data communication between the onboard computers and the office in Moerdijk. By the end of each day Farm Trans has all the information for that day and Bos can request reports on the journeys that have been made.
Farm Trans also uses realtime data communication to transmit the consignment notes and weigh slips. A handy document scanner has been installed in the cabs for that purpose. As soon as the driver inputs ‘end of unloading instruction’, the onboard computer automatically asks him to scan in the consignment note and weigh slip. “The documents are automatically scanned at our office and added to the correct file in our transport management system Mitoz. As soon as the file is complete, an e-mail with the scanned documents attached is sent to our client. That saves a lot of work in the office. In addition, our client can then invoice his customer directly.”
Saving on fuel costs
The Farm Trans drivers use not only CarCube's truck navigation, but also the driving style assistant. Based on, among other things, acceleration, braking behaviour and rpm, the CarCube gives each driver a score for his driving behaviour. “We can see the results in the office as well. For example, if a driver leaves his engine running for more than five minutes whilst stationary, we can talk to him about it straight away. Each month we print out the results, and then, together with the drivers with the five lowest scores, we try to improve their driving behaviour. I reckon that we have saved about three percent on fuel costs this year, as a result,” says Bos happily.
Farm Trans also uses the hands-free call module in the CarCube now. “The advantage of that is that we can monitor call behaviour from the office. That means that for each driver we save hundreds of euros every year in communication costs,” says Bos.
The onboard computers are integrated with Mitoz, the Farm Trans transport management system (TMS) developed by I-TeQ. This is the first time that both systems have been integrated with each other. “One of the advantages is that our planners can now view the estimated time of arrival calculated by the onboard computer. That generates a lot of calm in the office,” according to Bos, who says that the collaboration between Trimble and I-TeQ has run immaculately.
To calculate the spending on drivers' wages Farm Trans has implemented the TripLog system from LogicWay, on Trimble's recommendation. Bos says that he is really happy with this salary management system. “Previously, we would spend ten to fifteen hours - for each business unit - checking everyone's hours. Thanks to the software from LogicWay it now takes us two hours at most.”
Shifting gears quickly
Director Marc van Vossen from I-TeQ, supplier of the Mitoz TMS, looks back at the project with huge satisfaction. “Farm Trans is a company that quickly sees the distinctive capacity in the market and also recognises the importance of computerisation. Just like us, Trimble is a company that shifts gears quickly, rolls up its sleeves and gets to work. The collaboration has worked really well and the interface was realised quickly”, says Van Vossen.
Account Manager Paul van Ruler from Trimble endorses this excellent collaboration. “The integration took three weeks to achieve. That says something about our connectivity, but also about the speed at which I-TeQ shifts gears”, says Van Ruler. “Farm Trans is a company that genuinely uses IT as a tool to allow the planners, the management and the drivers to work smarter, more quickly and more efficiently. Director Theo Bos is continually on the search for new solutions. For that reason he needs partners to join him. In Mitoz and Trimble he has found them.”