The ability to track and trace packages and to gain accurate proof of delivery information is an integral element of a versatile parcels delivery operation. Manx Independent Carriers recently decided to migrate to a powerful mobile data capture solution sourced by Spirit Data Capture. This has transformed the level of service that the company can now provide and has also boosted its customer satisfaction levels.
Manx Independent Carriers (MIC) is the Isle of Man's premier provider of groupage services and full load deliveries. Founded in 1985, the company now has 110 employees, working from two depots - one on the Isle of Man and one in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. The company specialises in time-sensitive deliveries of pallets, parcels and full loads. It also provides specialist services such as powder tankers, out of gauge cargo and temperature-controlled trailers.
Until recently, the firm had a very basic scanning system that provided very limited information, so most information was still captured by hand. Michael Coleman, Managing Director of Manx Independent Carriers, remarks: "We knew that we needed a more sophisticated system, so we started looking for a versatile handheld solution that could give us all of the information we required.
"Another parcel carrier told us about Spirit Data Capture Limited. They came highly recommended - the carrier said that they had been very impressed by their professionalism."
Michael continues: "We deliver items for carriers in the UK they send us the parcels but we couldn't read the barcode data, so we had to generate notes manually. When the drivers came back after deliveries, we had to enter the proof of delivery data onto our system. If a customer wanted to know where a package was, we had to track it physically. We would have to call the driver to try and find the information which was a very inefficient and time-consuming process.
Defining the needs
"We therefore told Spirit that we needed a system that could track all of the packages in our care; and that could record the data on the packages and feed it into our system for track and trace, management reports etc. We particularly wanted to make life easier for our drivers. We also wanted a device that could recognise all of the different barcode formats used by our carrier customers so that we could automatically assign any items to the correct companies."
Spirit made several recommendations to MIC and the company subsequently chose the Motorola MC70. This versatile mobile device incorporates features such as a mobile phone, PDA, computer, scanner, GPS, biometrics and imager in a single, rugged unit. For field workers, it offers support for eGPRS (EDGE) networks and at the depots, it connects to a wireless LAN. It also incorporates Bluetooth functionality.
Michael Coleman comments: "We liked the screen size, the build quality and the impressive functionality of the MC70. We also liked the fact that it has Bluetooth and can act as a phone. We've now had in-car kits put into our vehicles so that our drivers can use the unit as a phone or can take a call over Bluetooth."