DELIVERIES ON TIME, ON TEMP AND PENALTY FREE FOR FULTON HOGAN
High demand is a great opportunity for any company. But for Fulton Hogan Transport, landing several big jobs brought the potential for some additional risks in achieving its time-honoured tradition of ‘doing what they say.’
In 2013, the 80+ year old, family-owned company secured some large contracts in Victoria to transport bitumen to various sites across the state. The increased work made scheduling deliveries more complicated. Since bitumen is classified as a dangerous good, safety and regulations are paramount. Even more so when the penalty for missing assigned delivery windows is $2,500–$3,000 per hour.
At the time, Fulton Hogan managed bitumen deliveries using spreadsheets and a flurry of emails, SMS notifications and phone calls between office staff, drivers and customers. This was time-consuming, had the potential for human error and didn’t provide customers the quality service the company prided itself on.
“In the first year of these projects, we received penalties for late and cold deliveries because there was a breakdown in communication,” says Jeff Sherriff, National Transport Manager at Fulton Hogan.
To solve the issue, Fulton Hogan turned to its existing partner Transtech, a division of Teletrac Navman. Fulton Hogan already had a close relationship with Transtech as it already utilised the services such as electronic work diaries (EWDs), vehicle tracking and iFace in cabin tablets.
These technologies proved popular with drivers and office staff, because not only did it eliminate tedious paperwork, but it offered reassurance.
“The drivers really like the applications, particularly the EWD, because it gives them feedback about their status and the number of hours they have left before a break or the end of a shift,” says Sherriff. “We get the same information back at the office, so in terms of allocating fleet we can make sure we are meeting our legal requirements for fatigue. We were interested to see what else Transtech would help us with.”
Setting the record straight
To better manage deliveries, Transtech suggested Fulton Hogan Transport move to CMS Transport Systems’ Freight 2020 transport management software, so it could enter, build, cost and schedule each job.
Freight 2020 also integrated with Transtech’s SmartJobs job management application, allowing drivers to enter all details of the delivery — from the temperature of the bitumen, the weight, waiting time at the loading and delivery point and customers’ acceptance of the charges — on the 7 inch in-cabin iFace tablet. The system can also be set up to allow invoicing on the same day, a real plus for any business.
The tablet is removable and ruggedised, so drivers can photograph any paper documentation onsite and the delivery can be signed for on the screen and uploaded into the system immediately.
“We’ve found the iFace very easy to use. It is quite intuitive and even our older generation drivers, who may not be as familiar with this type of technology, don’t have any issues using it,” says Sherriff.
By integrating Transtech's cloud services with CMS’s Freight 2020 transport management and scheduling system, Fulton Hogan can better manage delivery and job allocation.
“One issue we had was that phone calls were open to a bit of speculation. We needed a system where we could rely on what the customer inputs as their required temperature and arrival time,” says Sherriff.
Customers now place orders directly online through a web portal. Combine this information with details of receipt and temperature monitoring, it allows Fulton Hogan to demonstrate it completed the job as specified and with compliance with real-time ‘proof of delivery’.
“Since implementing this system, Fulton Hogan has met all its delivery requirements and our customer experience has improved substantially,” says Sheriff.
On the strength of this success, Fulton Hogan is considering automating temperature monitoring so customers can access data in real time and track their bitumen order on route.
In the meantime, for Sherriff the best part of the system is that they are managing their compliance obligations as a dangerous goods carrier.
“The community expects, and rightly demands, a safe and efficient transport industry. With the help of Transtech’s solutions we provide them real assurance that our safety and compliance is top class,” he says.