Appian Expands Web-Based Reporting GPS Tracking for Fleets
March 24, 2009 Dan Burger
Fleet routing technology has come a long way since the days of using push pins and strings to plot routes on a wall map. With the latest generation of geographical data, companies can apply highly detailed street networks, landmarks, and specific road attributes, to plan effective routes from a computer. A good example is Appian Logistics‘s Direct Route software that now incorporates GPS tracking in the latest release of DRTrack 2009.
Companies such as Google, Tele Atlas, NAVTEQ, and others are amassing data using fleets of vans armed with sophisticated camera, video, GPS, elevation, and geographic data-capturing equipment.
Appian’s Direct Route automated fleet routing and DRTrack GPS software make use of this detailed road network data and create more efficient route plans. Address-level mapping, road-network editing, GPS tracking, and street-level views incorporate the most current and accurate situational data, which includes such factors as geographical data, road speeds, and drive-times. Each of these elements influence route planning.
The capability to quickly adjust regional driving rates for inclement weather, block street segments, and edit individual road speeds brings several advantages, including improved route planning, more accurate drive times, and avoiding problem areas.
Enhancements found in DRTrack 2009 include new Web-based reporting features, GPS tracking, and automated notification capabilities.
The GPS device options with DRTrack include a range of on-board computers, dashboard units, and handheld devices. Appian designed the system to allow data feeds from a variety of sources rather than making the system device-dependent. Therefore, companies can choose the type of device that is best suited for their operations rather than having the hardware choice dictated. A few of the options that may be incorporated are a GPS black box, data input screens, and the capability to receive turn-by-turn directions.
Combining information such as account history (information that is often stored on the IBM midrange computers branded as AS/400, iSeries, System i, or Power Systems), planned versus actual hours, miles, and interval times–and taking that information to the Web–has increased the usefulness of DRTrack. It now offers the benefits of real-time route progress tracking, truck speed mapping, time-per-stop data, and automated alerts and e-mails for delivery notifications.
Web-based accessibility to fleet routing information allows users to function in the real world, making decisions based on what is currently happening. A few examples are the number of hours and miles needed for today’s deliveries and how many deliveries were behind schedule. It also provides historical delivery data–for instance, to a specific region for the past month that improves planning accuracy.
Automated alerts and e-mails eliminates the need to monitor all routes and allows customer service personnel to receive an e-mail when a delivery is going to be delayed. It also can be set up to provide delivery confirmations to customers via e-mail, which eliminates phone calls and streamlines the receivables process.
Increased visibility is perhaps the greatest benefit delivered by DR Track 2009. Supply chains are becoming more complex and the ability to anticipate rather than react is an advantage for strategic management and for customer service. Responding quickly and efficiently to incidents as they arise is one aspect. Reducing distribution costs is another.
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