Written by 6:00 am News, Service Operations

UK agronomy leaders integrate vehicle tracking and scheduling to improve service

12/06/2014 22:13

Gloustershire based Agronomy company Agrii have implemented a real-time transport optimisation and vehicle tracking solution for its agrochemicals division.

The company that is seen as a leader within it’s field in the UK has opted to utilise Paragon’s Fleet Controller system and integrate this with a live vehicle tracking feed, provided by 49 TomTom PRO 9150 navigation units, taking advantage of the systems’s advanced vehicle routing and scheduling software.  The result is a real time plan versus actual performance information delivered to the Agrii transport and customer service teams, also enabling customers to receive updated ETAs using Fleet Controller’s text messaging facility.

“By integrating Paragon and TomTom technology we are able to plan and manage deliveries of more than 350 orders a day, which given the location and type of customers we serve would be a logistical challenge if we didn’t use this solution,” said Tony Frain, Agrii’s Logistics Manager.

“The software allows us to offer customers the opportunity to place orders up to 10.30 pm and we’ll guarantee delivery if stocks are available by the next working day in three slots: before 9am, before 12pm or next day.”

Paragon also provides timed web-based reporting to Agrii customer services, with scheduled route timings updated every few minutes based on the live tracking information.  This informs the customer service agents of real-time delivery activity and allows them to prepare customers to receive their deliveries. With the nature of their business meaning many deliveries require a forklift to unload the vehicle , this efficiency allows for streamlining the delivery process saving valuable time for both Agrii and their clients alike.

With the TomTom units providing  intelligent navigation and live traffic information to help drivers avoid congestion Agrii are able to make further savings in both time and money and the all-in-one business tool combines navigation and GPS tracking in one single, portable, device is an major benefit.

Other benefits of the system are it’s flexibility – Agrii’s operation is heavily seasonal so the versatility of the solution means that the company can increase and reduce the size of the hire fleet without the cost of installing and removing hardwired equipment, and also the well documented benefits of monitoring driver behaviour including duty of care obligations. Also drivers can accurately report their working time by entering their ID into the device, tapping the screen to record when they start and finish work which in turn is automatically fed back into Agrii’s payroll system.

Agrii’s Alconbury depot is supplying 6,000 customers who range from small farms to large commercial operations growing products for supermarkets. They are located as far north as the Humber Estuary and south to the Thames Estuary, along the coast of the North Sea in the east and west to the M40 corridor. The drivers deliver the orders direct to the farm’s chemical storage facilities, the locations for which have been located accurately using the GPS vehicle-tracking units.  This ensures that each store is mapped on the system.

“By plotting the X and Y coordinates for the chemical stores our drivers can navigate directly to the site,” added Tony Frain.

“This streamlines the delivery because using a postcode alone would only take them to within a kilometre of the location. If we can get the driver within 10 to 20 metres of the store, it improves our performance and the level of service we offer our customers.”