A mainstay for the logistics industry for the last decade, telematics has revolutionised the sector, points out Fargo Systems – not only through the efficiencies and cost-savings it brings to traffic operators, but also through the level of information it provides, and which is now expected by the end customer.
As Steve Collins, director of Fargo Systems, explains: “A traffic sheet and a pencil have no place in today’s logistics industry. The sophistication and complexities of today’s global marketplace demands real-time information. But, it’s not just the logistics company’s client that is requesting precise data, but the end user too – whether that’s a shipping line, manufacturer or blue-chip retailer. The customer is king has never been truer.”
As a prominent telematics provider, Fargo says its TOPS solution for the multimodal industry delivers a 100 per cent solution for road fleet operators, 3PL transport planners, rail freight operators, shipping lines, container depots, freight forwarders, manufacturers and retailers.
Steve continues: “Receiving GPS information from drivers’ TOPS…on the go, TOPS ePOD or standard in-cab systems, we’re able to provide pinpoint accuracy to the client, letting him know where a driver or consignment is at any given moment.
“But we can take this a stage further. Increasingly shippers are tracking data to the end customer via a secure web-portal, which enables only data relevant to that particular shipper or consignee to be viewed; giving them peace of mind that their consignments are where they should be when they should be.”
Darren Walne, commercial director, at James Kemball explains: “TOPS integrates with every aspect of our fleet operations.
“Whilst planning an average of 250 jobs per day it’s vital for our fleet management and that of up to 30 subcontractor vehicles.
“The system manages the servicing of our 200 trucks and 300 trailers, as well as all MOTs and repairs, driver licencing and CPC checks. Capturing all our fleet costs, literally, nothing gets overlooked from asset depreciation, lease costs, fixed depot costs, and even mobile phone charges. It makes profit and loss available at the touch of a button, giving us a complete picture of the commercial viability of every vehicle in our fleet.”
But TOPS isn’t just about off-the-shelf solutions, says Fargo; working with global freight forwarder Ligentia, the company developed a tailored solution to allow its UK offices easy access to its global interface and customer portal.
Ligentia also needed a system to manage its customers and subcontractors, with easy access to cost information (transport costs, lifting costs, depot costs), non-conformance KPI monitoring and SCAC tariffs, all of which TOPS provides.
Matt Cotcher, transport supervisor at Ligentia says: “The highly-skilled team at Fargo understood exactly what we needed and created a customised solution that fully meets our requirements which instantly delivered a return on investment.”
Steve Collins goes on to say: “The team here has experience in a variety of roles within the logistics industry, which gives us unrivalled insight into the needs of our customers. With the Ligentia system, orders are received via EDI directly into the TOPS software from the company’s global system.
“Transport orders are received, and jobs are progressed in TOPS, with real-time updates generated and sent to Ligentia’s customer portal. Conversely, it also allows customers to book delivery dates and times directly through the portal, with everything updated in real-time in TOPS, resulting in a vastly improved planning process.
“In these unsettling economic times, understanding your true fleet costs can make the difference of being profitable or not. TOPS’ reputation in the industry is second to none and as a result, we’re working with well over 100 clients. We’re also just finalising contracts with another large haulier, which will see the system roll out across its 230-vehicle fleet in the coming weeks. So, whilst we may be in economic unchartered waters, sound business sense still prevails.”