A new traffic planning and vehicle tracking system are amongst the latest developments at DFDS Logistics connecting a network of UK depots with a cloud transport management system from Mandata.
DFDS provide logistics and supply chain services via one of Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics networks and run a fleet of over 150 vehicles from nine depots in the UK between Aberdeen and Peterborough.
The company’s UK operation has recently implemented a cloud TMS together with a range of other integrated solutions from Mandata replacing planning, monitoring and invoicing with a computerised system, automating many of its manual processes.
Remote access, centralised information, ease-of-use and greater transparency were top of the company’s list of priorities when the new system was chosen.
The custom-fit Mandata Cloud TMS was selected to provide staff at all depots access to the same information and on-line functionality, whilst at the same time simplifying procedures and providing visibility across its UK operation, Compliance Manager Mark Bennett explains:
“Before we implemented Mandata, managing work across the network was a challenge for us as we were using a mix of legacy systems and spreadsheets at our depots. We looked to bring planning and vehicle tracking together under one roof so we could see and manage loads more easily across the board.”
“We particularly liked the simplicity of the drag and drop Traffic Pad which is proving to be a real boon to us. It is giving us a slicker way to plan work; dragging and building jobs in loads is considerably reducing the overall time it takes and we are achieving more with far less effort and ‘clicks’. Data accuracy has also improved as there is less re-keying of data.“ said Mark.
As well as time savings DFDS have gained visibility in other areas of the operation such as trailer allocation and servicing. Mark explains: “We can now follow the path and life of a trailer and share trailers between depots; this is making servicing much simpler for us as we know where the trailer will be and where the work needs to be carried out.“
Providing full and live up-to-date information to everyone is also enabling a joined-up approach to be taken: “Each depot used to have its own pot of work. Now someone else can see it, doing re-loads has got a lot easier as we’re able to integrate loads from other depots in the planning process.”
“We can also identify areas where we need to look for work or indeed, where we may be over subscribed and we can react accordingly. Our sales team can see if we’re tipping into a certain area and look for loads to come back – the details are onscreen for everyone to see and because of this, we’re able to make best use of resources.”
Mobile technology is starting to play a key role too. With the help of a Mandata Manifest smartphone app and integration with their Mandata TMS, information is being fed back to DFDS Logistics triggering workflows; as proof of delivery is saved to the TMS, invoices can be emailed out, and the results of daily walk-around checks are allowing the fast identification and resolution of vehicle defects.
Now, a new Mandata vehicle tracking and fleet behaviour solution has also been integrated with the TMS to provide even more capability. Advanced features designed to capture vehicle and driver performance data provide analysis that can be shared to raise awareness and understanding of issues and monitor and improve driving standards alongside load information.
Mark Bennett added: “Now we’re starting to track vehicles with Mandata we’re gaining more detailed information; geo-fenced loads are giving us firm entry and exit times and we can see live progress and load status updates.”
It is hoped the monitoring of fuel and driver performance will prove to be a useful training aid and help to achieve further efficiencies in the coming months. Early indications show that drivers are already benefitting from comparing their performance to that of their peers and the introduction of a Driver of the Month award is recognising and rewarding improvements.
With the progress that has been made so far DFDS Logistics is being more proactive in the way they plan and monitor work. “We’re excited to see what new initiatives and other benefits can be gained from the system. Delivering value to our customers is a key priority for us and the next step is to give customers the ability to book and track jobs on-line,” said Mark.