Replacing Onboard Fleet Tracking Devices in 7,000 Trucks (Case Study)

A full service freight transportation provider turned to Carlton Technologies, Inc. to implement new fleet tracking technology for thousands of trucks. Carlton provided inventory management, device staging and provisioning, device kitting, testing and final deployment in thousands of vehicles. Once deployed, reverse logistics, a spare device pool and ongoing warranty management helped ensure a successful migration.

,)CHALLENGE

onboard fleet trackingA full-service freight transportation provider had been using more than 5,000 Intermec 761 mobile devices for terminal freight management as well as onboard route and delivery management.

While this handheld technology served a purpose, it was not serving the customer’s true needs, which is why the company decided to migrate to a onboard transportation management system (TMS) to deliver increased functionality and capture more operational metrics.

The new TMS system would enable them to measure engine performance (such as idling and revving times), determine when trucks required maintenance, calculate cost-efficient refueling routes based on real-time fuel prices, and shorten delivery timelines through more optimized route scheduling.

Migrating to the onboard technology presented several logistical challenges, namely receiving all the new technology components, inventorying the equipment, installing related software, kitting the hardware together, deploying the technology to its instillation facilities, and installing the technology into more than 7,000 trucks.

While the transportation provider considered managing the technology migration internally, they soon realized it was not the best use of its resources. They decided to partner with Carlton Technologies, which had been providing mobile device management, repair services and expertise to them since 2008.

Company STATS

  • Largest privately held less-than-truckload (LTL) company in the United States
  • One of the top 5 carriers in the LTL industry
  • Annual shipment volume (2016): 11,030,020 tons
  • $2.2 billion in revenue
  • Expedite loads from 225 distribution centers
  • 7,000 cabs with onboard computers

SOLUTION

Carlton provided multiple services during the technology migration, including:

Inventory Management, Device Provisioning and Procuring: Carlton received new device components directly from the TMS provider. Upon receipt of the devices, Carlton inventoried all the equipment used in the technology migration. This entailed logging device serial numbers, descriptions, item numbers, and locations for more than 42,000 individual pieces of equipment with 14 individual components per kit.

Device Staging, Configuration and Testing: Carlton installed the essential fleet tracking software in each vehicle, configured to the customer’s exact requirements. Lastly, functionality tests were performed on all devices to ensure everything was working properly before being sent to the dispatch centers for implementation.

Staging and Kitting: Carlton then packaged the equipment into 7,000 individual kits (each containing 14 individual pieces) to deploy to the customer’s regional distribution centers. With two different types of truck cabs, distinct components were required for both vehicles.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Carlton supported a large-scale technology migration by providing managed services, warranty management, and reverse logistics services
  • Carlton inventoried and staged 42,000 pieces of equipment; the company packaged this equipment into more than 7,000 kits for deployment across the country
  • As a result of Carlton’s involvement, the transportation leader increased driver productivity, improved device uptime, and saved on equipment costs

Mobile Fleet Device Deployment: Once all the fleet tracking equipment was inventoried, configured, tested, and kitted, Carlton shipped the kits to the customer’s dispatch facilities across the country for installation.

Warranty Management and Repair Services: Carlton tracked all the warranties associated with the onboard logistics tracking hardware, kitting brand new equipment and performing repairs as needed. When devices required repairs or replacing, Carlton would test and send a replacement along with a prepaid return-shipping label so the company could send the defective device back to Carlton. Carlton managed the repair with the OEM manufacturer and once fixed, Carlton inventoried the repaired device in a spare device pool, which meant nimble deployment to the field as required in the future.

Reverse logistics: When the logistics provider decommissioned a truck from its fleet, Carlton sent return packaging with a prepaid return-shipping label so it could remove the hardware from the vehicle and send it back to Carlton. Once Carlton received the equipment, it cleaned, tested and recertified all onboard computing equipment devices. Carlton then placed them in a reserved inventory pool for future redeployment. If defective and under OEM warranty, Carlton would facilitate the repair process with the OEM.

 

RESULTS

Increased productivity. With Carlton managing inventory, staging, kitting, and final deployment, the customer could focus on other mission-critical initiatives.

Saved at least 292 days due to Carlton’s expertise. Carlton estimated that it took approximately one hour to inventory, stage, kit, and deploy each of the more than 7,000 kits required for the technology migration. That’s at least 292 days the customer saved as a result of Carlton managing the technology migration process.

Faster repairs enabled greater uptime. Carlton’s warranty management and coordination with the OEM repair services created more uptime, so the customer could return its trucks to the road sooner.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • A technology migration of this scale  impacted bandwidth for mission critical activities
  • Partnering with an experienced managed services provider not only reduced the burden on internal resources, but it made the large-scale technology implementation very efficient
  • Carlton created such an efficient implementation process, that after a year, the customer was able to bring the ongoing device management process back in-house

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