ROCKTRANS TRANSPORT & DISTRIBUTION
As a transport company, it’s hard to believe Rocktrans began as a soft drink manufacturer called ‘Channels Cordials Atherton’ back in 1975. Catching the eye of Coca-Cola with its reputation for providing quality customer service, in 1980 it ceased manufacturing and began its 35-year evolution into Rocktrans, one of North Queensland’s leading distributors and transport solutions. Its relationship with Coca-Cola is still going strong, along with being an Agent on the Atherton Tablelands for the Toll Group, subcontractor work for Linfox, Visy Recycling, Aurora Recycling, and more.
Along the way, the company never strayed away from change and constantly looked for ways to evolve as a business. This continues through to its partnership with Teletrac Navman and its implementation of telematics solutions since 2013.
Rocktrans operates throughout Cairns, the Tablelands and Townsville, along with weekly trips down to Brisbane. Its 30 employees operate a fleet of more than 20 heavy vehicles and the technology helps improve day-to-day operations and safety practices.
“It was a natural progression; we certainly didn’t have the vision we have now with the Teletrac Navman system. It improved cost efficiencies and made business and administration duties easier. It has reduced the amount of duplication and helps keep the customers happy,” says Neal Rockley, the Managing Director for Rocktrans.
The company implemented several Teletrac Navman solutions including vehicle tracking, maintenance scheduling, data capture for vehicle history, driver fatigue management systems, real-time alerts and reporting tools for compliance and in-vehicle documentation.
“I’m always on the lookout for technologies that can offer benefi ts to the bottom line,” says Rockley, “improvements through innovation that can add some value to the business is a must.”
The roll-out process was seamless and quick, with all 20 trucks installed with telematics and in-cabin devices within a month. This was especially important given the area that Rocktrans operates in. With the distance travelled daily, the ability to stay in touch ensures that deliveries occur on schedule and that all stake holders are in the know, should an incident occur.
Originally, Rocktrans relied on mobile phones and two-way radio channels to communicate with drivers, but this method was cumbersome and expensive to maintain. Not to mention the risks it put on drivers, who had to find a safe place to pull over and de lay the trip. The new technology allows management to know where drivers are during any point of the journey and safely communicate directly through the in-cabin device to avoid distractions and potential harm.
Beyond ease of communication, the in-cabin devices and back-offic e system are a more cost-effective approach for managing operations and paperwork.
“We certainly didn’t have the vision that we have now with the Teletrac Navman solution. It’s great for reducing cost and increasing efficiencies in the business, especially on administration. We sa ve a lot on duplication while also keeping track of where everyone is,” says Rockley.
A large portion of paper work is consolidated and stored electronically in one place. This makes it easier to create reports, as well as fill out relevant forms to send back to the office instant ly. Admin is not waiting for drivers to return from a trip or manually key in delivery details onto a spreadsheet. Drivers enter data on their device on the spot and since it’s instantly available accreditation and reporting is quick and accurate.
Overcoming initial driver hesitance and changing the work culture was easy once drivers understood the technology and its benefits to compliance and safety. “We actually set up a separate unit to help train the staff in the office, making it a lot more effective and efficient,” says Rockley. The team use the office in-vehicle device to induct new recruits and run refresher courses.
In implementing the Electronic Work Diary (EWD) system for managing drivers’ work and rest hours, Rocktrans has seen a substantial reduction in poor driver behaviour. “The fatigue management system has been one of the biggest benefits to our business. Systems like Teletrac Navman’s are essential in today’s highly regulated safety and compliance related environment,” says Rockley. The EWD is a tool to help drivers fill in their work diary and takes the complexities out of calculating their fatigue hours, allowing them to concentrate on the road ahead. “One of the biggest savings we’ve seen is from time-sheeting the driver hours and the alert system. It saves them from poor behaviours that can be identified quickly.”
It provides real-time alerting, getting the drivers to think about their fatigue, and identifies poor behaviour quickly. Drivers are alerted based on hours worked and the relevant fatigue laws, signalling them ahead of time, for when a rest break is due. This gives them ample time to plan stops. Because information is automatically sent to the back-office, management has peace of mind in knowing that drivers aren’t overexerting themselves and remain compliant. Accurate time-sheeting also makes it easy to charge customers correctly and pay employees for the work they’ve completed.
The partnership between Rocktrans and Teletrac Navman continues to be valuable. The transport and distribution company can deliver on its commitment to providing quality customer service without compromise.
"Every business is different, but to have a system work for you is one of the major advantages to working with a company like Teletrac Navman," says Rockley, "We had a good base and they've been very helpful and flexible in moulding their system to suit our needs, which has been one of the biggest assets of our relationship with them."
Rocktrans looks forward to seeing what new innovations will come out of telematics and work with Teletrac Navman to use technologythat can elevate the business.