Wetralog GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Westfleisch group, has been using the Trimble Transport & Logistics telematics solution since 2009. In this fifth year of use, the Bönen-based company has just equipped its vehicles with the next generation of the CarCube system. A total of 129 vehicles use the on-board computer. Plans are also in place to integrate Wetralog’s many subcontractors, using a Trimble solution consisting of the FleetXPS mobile on-board computer and the fixed on-board unit Truck4U. In the company’s own driving school, its drivers and schedulers receive training to support their daily work with the CarCube and Trimble back office applications.
The administrative offices of Wetralog GmbH, the logistics subsidiary of the Westfleisch group, occupy a central location close to the A1 and A2 motorways. White vehicles with red-blue lettering create a distinctive brand image for the fleet of vehicles operated by the logistics service provider, specialising in transportation of meat and animals for slaughter. There is, however, one notable exception: a training vehicle – with the words ‘driving school’ painted in large letters.
“To address an imminent shortage of drivers, we are training our drivers ourselves,” explains Ralf Kappelhoff, manager of the Wetralog driving school. A particular emphasis on the Trimble telematics solution is apparent. Both the training vehicle and a special training unit are used to familiarise drivers and schedulers with the Trimble solution.
The data provided by the CarCube allows drivers to analyse their driving style in detail, resulting in savings in fuel consumption. Mr Kappelhoff views the driving school as an investment in the future: “Around 40 of our drivers are due to retire over the next four years.” The logistics company currently employs 280 professional drivers.
Wetralog has been using the Trimble telematics solution since 2009.
For example, to streamline loading management of loading equipment, the company has drawn up a special sequence of questions to be answered by drivers. After entering the type of loading equipment, the driver then needs to specify the number of items of loading equipment. Recording this data in the CarCube ensures direct access to this important information in the event of a trailer swap. An interface with the company’s freight forwarding software makes the data available to the schedulers as well.
The company has also made other improvements to its processes. Including the remote tachometer download. In the past, drivers had export this data “manually”, a task that took some 15 to 20 minutes. The data is now exported remotely during the trip. The CarCube uses a wireless connection to transmit all the required information to head office. The vehicle does not need to be physically present at the company.
Transparent data on driving style is also helping to achieve significant gains in efficiency. The information allows Wetralog to tailor training to drivers’ specific needs, helping to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. “In particular, the driving style assistant will help us make considerable improvements in terms of more environmentally friendly driving,” adds Mr Kappelhoff.
Amendments, updates and other modifications are transmitted directly to the telematics system ‘Over The Air’ (OTA). The FleetWorks Web application updates all CarCubes at the same time, “This simple solution avoids the need for complex update processes,” says Mr Kappelhoff.
There has also been a significant improvement in communication between drivers and schedulers. Every day, the company schedules 400 lorries, transporting live animals such as pigs and cattle, as well as packaged meat.
The scheduler and driver have access to the same data, avoiding lengthy discussions on issues such as driving times and rest periods. Using the CarCube for navigation allows a continuous display of the vehicle’s current location and possible arrival time on the Trimble FleetCockpit dispatching software. “We have harmonised our working processes,” states Mr Kappelhoff. A feature that should help to eliminate potential risks of errors in communication between schedulers and drivers.
Wetralog is pursuing its aim of moving towards paperless driver’s cabs. In future, it plans to use telematics to capture all documents including expense reports, activity logs and reports on empties.
In the past, Wetralog has particularly appreciated the telematics supplier’s very good support, rapid solutions and assistance during implementation. For expense monitoring, Wetralog relies on Trimble’s FleetHours solution. The system accesses driver data directly from the CarCube, allowing minute-precise calculations.