Updates to barcode fleet fueling

imageWe released an update to goRoam for metered delivery to support fixed fueling dispensers such as Gilbarco, Wayne and Gasboy.  The system is ideal for private fleet operators, rental car companies, auto dealers and vehicle manufacturers who need to scan a VIN and preset a quantity based on the vehicle being fueled. For instance, if you need to fuel a small passenger car to 2 gals to turn the ‘fuel light’ off, we will authorize the pump for that amount.  However, a larger SUV may need the amount set to 3 or 4 gallons.

goRoam allows you to ‘request more’ if you hit the preset quantity and the vehicle still requires more fuel.  An example would be when the 2 gals did not turn off the fuel light, so you want an extra .5 gallons to see if that will turn it off.

Alternatively, you may fuel fleets where you need to authorize the size of the fuel tank (e.g. 18.6 gals) and simply record the quantity fueled.  You may fuel less than the authorized amount since there is already some product in the vehicle.  When the driver hangs the hose on the dispenser, the transaction is closed and the quantity fueled is sent to our web based inventory system.

In all cases, the quantities are read directly from the fuel dispenser.

In all cases, the quantities are read directly from the fuel dispenser, and the fuel dispenser is locked until the barcode scanner validates the vehicle and driver.

goRoam can integrate with existing applications through our web service API.  This allows you to provide your own logic and authorization for each vehicle/driver.  Or, you can use goRoam with our web  application to manage and track the quantities.  As fueling transactions are processed, the inventory in the tank is updated as shown in the screen below.

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The case for electronic versus handwritten (paper) delivery tickets

If you’re still using paper tickets for your fuel delivery system, you’re at risk of losing your competitive advantage to companies that have switched to paperless ticketing measures for on-site fueling.

The hidden costs of paper delivery tickets

Your employees are used to writing out paper tickets. Since they have come to view this as a routine part of the job, they may not think about the time it takes to write out the ticket or the likelihood of introducing errors into the system by writing the wrong information. Paperless tickets aren’t just a way to be eco-conscious, they save time and effort and are a critical part of streamlining operations.

Benefits of switching to electronic delivery tickets

While customers expect electronic tickets as a sign of professionalism, this is not the only benefit to switching from paper to an electronic ticketing system. Additional benefits include:

  • Electronic receipts are more accurate.
  • There is less labor for drivers, since they do not have to re-key the same data twice, once in the field and once on the invoice.
  • The average time saved is 1 minute per vehicle with on-site fleet fueling. This breaks to a time savings of over an hour a day per driver.
  • Since metered fuel and metered lubes delivery receipts are sent immediately, there is no lost paperwork and no delay in invoicing. Over time, this reduces DSO rates.
  • Dispatchers can review driver location and order status in real-time, to track driver progress throughout the day and alert customers to delays.
  • Metered fuel delivery drivers no longer have to make phone calls while driving to give dispatch trip and order updates, because this information is automatically in the system. This benefits efficiency and safety.
  • Paperless fuel ticketing increases transparency across operations.

How electronic ticketing systems work

If you’ve ever signed for a UPS package, you’ve used an electronic signature capturing system. We offer the same technology for onsite fueling systems. With a handheld unit, drivers can easily check fuel type, enter fuel price, bill tickets for refueling charges, and collect client signatures. Since all information is then entered into the system, central dispatch has at-a-glance operations oversight.

If you deliver fuels and lubes, you need paperless ticketing to improve efficiency, productivity, and on-the-job safety. Call us today to learn more about how your enterprise system can benefit your business.

Updated Customer Portal

Customer Portal Logon

We’ve updated the customer portal for the MobileHub web application.  Your customers can easily:

  • Logon to see their order history
  • View delivery  receipts with signature and save receipts as a PDF
  • View unit filling history, searching by asset or location
  • Export unit filling history to Excel

 

BizSpeed’s Proof of Delivery (POD) and unit filling customers (on-site mobile fueling, on-site fleet fueling, and metered lubricants and bulk products) can offer the portal to their customers.  After logging in, your customers will see the default view to search for orders delivered in the previous week.  They can search by customer order number or by date, and view your specific delivery receipt as a PDF.

Customer Portal - view orders

 

Customer Portal - print PDF delivery receipt with signature

 

Unit filling customers can search by customer location, asset or date range.  The list filters to show all deliveries associated their account and search criteria. The application uses expanding controls so you can see by line item how many assets have been filled, and then can expand to see the individual asset list, time it was serviced and the reading. The reading is the odometer for vehicles.

Customer Portal - view unit filling history

 

Customer Portal - view unit filling details

Customers can ‘export to CSV’, to view all their data in Excel.

The customer portal is available as an option for our hosted customers as well as those installed on-site.

Load Builder for Dispatching

Load builderAt the request of our lubes distributor customers, we have added LoadBuilding into our dispatch capability for the MobileHub.  LoadBuilding enables a dispatcher to create a trip and drag orders onto the trip. As orders are added to the trip, a window shows the total quantity on the trip for each product, across all orders.  Multiple trips can be added to the view so orders can easily be dragged between trips to quickly see the impact of the load on each trip (route).

Loadbuilding is used by companies that do not have route optimization systems like Ortec OTD or RedPrairie’s TMS. Those systems take a set of orders and automatically build routes, with each route having a set of orders that are within the constraints of each vehicle.

Companies who have just a few vehicles at each depot have dispatchers who know what the vehicle capacity constraints are. For example, a lubes dispatcher may know their combo trucks can have 1 – 10 totes of 500 gallons each. They want to build a trip and as they drag orders onto the trip, see the total of each product.  In this case, they have 3 orders with 200, 250 and 100 gallons of 5w-20 oil.  The dispatcher would easily see the total is 550 gals, which is more than one tote.  They could decide to add more orders to fill 2 totes, or see if they can add the 100 gal order to a different trip.

Load building can be used by package delivery companies as well, as they will see the total by product on each trip.

On-site Fleet Fueling Driver Metrics Reports

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Do you know who your best on-site fleet fueling drivers are?  Do you know based on actual metrics, or based on gut feeling?

If you want hard facts on who your best drivers are, you need to automatically collect metrics such as:

  • Gallons delivered
  • Average Minutes/Vehicle
  • Average Gallons/Vehicle

BizSpeed’s goRoam for Metered Delivery automatically collects metrics such as when the driver started a delivery, when they stopped and gallons pumped through bulk meters.  Our customers have access to metric reports and can schedule them to be emailed daily, weekly or monthly so you get direct visibility into your drivers.

The ability to operate your fleet fueling, bulk lubricants or wet hosing business based on facts and metrics is what enables you to drive operational efficiency.  These metrics are available in real-time, without the need to ask someone to collect, input and analyze data.

As you can see from the report shown above, John Jones makes the most deliveries and is also the most efficient. He delivers more fuel than average but is a minute per vehicle more efficient. Steve Philips is also efficient. While his delivery times are longer, he delivers 80% more per vehicle than the average.

We can show average time and gallons including setup, customer signature, etc. as well as without the setup.

If you’d like to see how we can help you automate your metered and non-metered deliveries, please contact us.

Apple’s iOS Growth in Microsoft Shops

Intermedia, a hosted Exchange provider, released their April 2011 device activation numbers.  Intermedia hosts 320,000 premium Exchange email accounts.  According to their post, new device activations were:

Total breakdown of ActiveSync-based smartphone’s activated on Intermedia’s service:

  • 61 percent on iPhone
  • 22 percent on “Other” (primarily Windows, followed by Symbian and Palm)
  • 17 percent on Android

The key takeaway for BizSpeed as mobile developers is the close to 80% domination of iPhone and Android. Since this was ActiveSync activations, it does not include Blackberry; however, we have not seen strong demand for our proof of delivery and inspection apps on Blackberry devices.  The primary BB users are government, and that has been a tough nut to crack in terms of helping them drive efficiencies.   Private companies have been much more aggressive in streamlining field operations.

We’ve continued to get strong interest in our Android Asset Tracking application.  That interest, combined with the fact that Android and iOS each have over 300,000 new device activations per month, has led us to accelerate our push to get our proof of delivery, inspections and handheld data collection applications running on iOS and Android.

How to choose between Intermec CS40, CN50, CN4 and 70 Series

We are often get asked for recommendations on mobile devices. If a client is looking at Intermec mobile devices, we get asked to help them choose between CS40, CN50, CN4 and the 70 series (CN70, CK70 etc.). We have customers using all models.

This article will help explain what what you should consider when choosing and will highlight real-life customer examples for field data capture and proof of delivery applications.

Intermec CS40, CN50, CN4, CN70

Feature IntermecCS40-NUM with Proof of Delivery software Intermec CN50 with proof of delivery software Intermec CN4 with proof of delivery software Intermec CN70 with proof of delivery software
Model CS40 CN50 CN4 CN70
Screen size 2.8” @ 240×320 3.5”  @ 240×320 3.5” @ 240×320 3.5” VGA 480×640 with gorilla glass
Weight 6.9oz 11oz 14oz 16oz
Intrusion Protection (IP) rating IP54 – 4’ drop IP54 – 4’ drop IP64 – 6’ drop IP67 – 6’ drop + submersible
Environment 14 F to +122 F 14 F to +122 F -4°F to +140°F -4°F to +140°F
CPU ARM 11 @ 528 MHz (Fast) ARM 11 @ 528 MHz (Fast) Marvel @ 520MHZ (Fast) 600MHz OMAP3 multi-processor (fastest)
Max cellular download 7.2Mbps 7.2Mbps 3.6Mbps 7.2Mbps
Camera 3.2MP fixed focus 3.1MP autofocus 2MP 5MP autofocus
List price (w/o accessories) $1795 $2195 $2845 $2995

Before we start, it is important to understand what features you need today as well as in the future. With rugged devices, once you purchase the device, you cannot go back and add hardware options like a camera, GPS or Bluetooth. The devices we will discuss are:

  • CS40 – smallest form factor, targeted at a size closer to a BlackBerry with a true integrated barcode scanner (not a camera scanner like the ES400, iPhone or Android devices).  Small enough to comfortably use as a cell phone and slip into your pocket.
  • CN50 – smaller form factor with solid ruggedness characteristics.  Small enough to slip into your pocket but almost too large to use as a salesperson’s full time cell phone, although it would be fine for a technician to use given they usually have less talk time.
  • CN4 – fully rugged device that replaced the CN3.  The key upgrade from a CN3 is the addition of a camera.  All CN3 accessories work with the CN4.  Larger and heavier, designed to work in field conditions – rain, snow, mud, multiple drops to concrete, etc.  The WiFi radio is designed to work in a warehouse or other environment where you may switch between access points (AP’s).
  • CN70 – eventual replacement for the CN4.  This is the most rugged, featuring an IP67 rating – you can submerse it in water and it will still work.  This has the fastest CPU.  Like the CN4, you can use it as a cell phone but it will likely not be a comfortable choice for extended phone calls.

Questions and Criteria

You can start to narrow the hardware choice by asking the following questions.

How rugged a device do you need?

  • If you’re making deliveries or have substantial outside or field data collection, you need to get a device with an IP rating designed for your environment. For instance, in fleet fueling you deliver fuel in the rain, snow, sleet or hail.  The CN50, CN4 or CN70 would meet your needs. The CN70 is the most rugged.  Our customers have had good success with the CN4 and CN50 in terms of rugged field use – surviving drops, rain and snow.
  • The CS40 is better suited for more indoor types of use, such as a sales rep that needs to scan items to place an order. It will sustain drops to concrete and is more rugged than a consumer cell phone, but is not designed to be used in the elements.

Do you need cellular data? If so, what cellular carrier do you use and do you know what the data coverage is like in your territories?

  • The reason for this is simple – some territories like the North East are completely owned by a carrier (Verizon). If you want T-Mobile or AT&T coverage, you need to check coverage or consider changing carriers.
  • All of these devices support AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile; however, they will not get 3G speeds on the T-Mobile networks since T-Mobile’s 3G is a different frequency.
  • While the cellular speeds on the CN4 are less than the other devices, it is still very fast and unlikely you would notice the difference unless you had large downloads or uploads.  An  of larger data would be taking 3MP pictures to upload. If this was a common occurrence, you may notice it but for most applications like Proof of Delivery, you would not notice a difference.

Do you need to take pictures? If so, do they need to be high quality?

  • If you need to take better quality pictures, you’ll want  an autofocus camera (CN50 or CN70). The CS40 and CN4 have good quality color cameras but are fixed focus.
  • For example, if you need to take a picture of a utility meter with the current meter reading (when replacing), any camera would be fine. However, If you need to take a picture of a utility pole where the distance is great, you would be better off with an autofocus camera like the CN50 or CN70.
  • The CN70 has the highest quality (5MP) camera and provides autofocus.  The CN50 is 3.1MP with autofocus. The CS40 and and CN4 are comparable but fixed focus. For basic pictures, the CS40 and CN4 should suffice for things like taking a picture of an asset you installed or delivered.
  • For a comparison, most newer but inexpensive cell phones have 2MP fixed focus cameras.  The iPhone 4 has a 5MP autofocus camera.

Do you need GPS?

  • GPS is built in to all of these Intermec devices.  Accuracy is 3-10 meters. If you need sub-meter accuracy, you would need an external GPS device such as those from Trimble. Their cost can be greater than $2000/ea but obviously are needed when you do things like buried meter installations.
  • All devices support Assisted GPS (AGPS), which helps by triangulating with cellular towers.  It can speed up your GPS first time to fix and more importantly help with location when inside buildings.

Do you need barcode scanning?

  • All of these devices have barcode scanning. The only decision is whether you need 1D/2D or long-range.
  • 2D scanners can be helpful if you have barcodes that may get dirty or damaged. Examples of this include plant nurseries where 2D barcodes may be easier to read due to dirt on the barcode.
  • Long range scanners can scan barcodes up to 40’ away. Long range scanners are only available on the MC909x platform. Examples of long range scanning would be scanning the barcode at the top of a warehouse rack from a forklift.
  • The CN70 has the newest, most advanced scan engine.  Under most circumstances you may not notice a difference scanning between these devices, but if you have a very scan intensive application, you should consider the CN70.

Will screen size impact your application?

  • The CS40 has a 2.8” screen versus all others with 3.5”.  While this does not seem like a lot, if your application requires a lot of screen interaction or signature capture, you would notice and appreciate the larger screen.
  • Other than the CN70, all devices have a  240×320 resolution. The CN70 has a VGA 480×640 resolution. This means for things like photos, you would notice the better screen. For standard field data collection, you may not notice the difference.
  • The CN70 uses Gorilla Glass for the screen, so it is the most durable.

So which device is right for you?

The following highlight examples of BizSpeed customers using each type of device.

CS40 – customer order entry. A distribution customer places devices at their customers’ locations to let their customers scan item UPC’s and place orders. Their primary interest was getting the lowest cost device with a solid scan engine. They considered both the CN50 and the CS40 and selected the CS40.  They use a dialup modem and did not need cellular, camera, GPS or WiFi.

CN50 – Pharmaceutical HazMat pickup. A Hazmat customer places devices at their customers’ locations (pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes) so customers can scan items into bins to be picked up, tracked and disposed of according to EPA and FDA regulations. The items, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment,  usually have UPC or similar barcodes.  They considered CS40’s and CN50’s. The CN50 was selected due to the larger screen size and larger keyboard than the CS40.

CN4 –Fleet fueling and bulk product delivery. This customer provides fleet fueling to customers like Coca-Cola, Staples, 84 Lumber, Waste Management, etc.  Their customer’s trucks are parked in their yards overnight. They use our goRoam.FuelSales module to scan each truck they are fueling, confirm the correct product (on-road vs off-road diesel for example) and then pump fuel into their customer’s vehicle.  The handheld wirelessly reads the fuel pump meter to record the quantity per vehicle.   They deliver in rain, snow, cold and hot temperatures. They considered the CN50 and the CN4.  They selected the CN4  due to it’s better IP/ruggedness rating, bigger backlit keyboard, more powerful wifi radio (for communications with the truck meter) and better truck mounted vehicle cradle.   At the time, the CN70 was not available.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact us regarding rugged mobile hardware selection. To learn more about BizSpeed and goRoam Proof of Delivery Software click or call 866-270-0541 (toll-free).

Why on-site fleet fueling?

Semi Truck FleetImagine you arrived at the dispatch office this morning and all your vehicles were fueled before drivers arrived.  On your desk was a printed receipt with gallons fueled and odometer reading for each vehicle and you saved $.10/gal over pump prices.  If that sounds like it might interest you, keep reading because on-site or mobile fleet fueling can drive savings directly to your bottom line.

Fuel costs are an assumed operating expense, but many companies only look at their monthly fuel bill and try to figure out how to get drivers to use less or pay less at the pump.  They don’t consider the total cost of fueling and fuel management.

If your drivers fuel their own vehicles then you pay for the time and mileage for a driver to get to the pump and to pump fuel into their vehicle. That’s time the driver is NOT spending delivering your products or service.  You’re trusting the driver to accurately record the gallons, the odometer reading and NOT wait or linger at the pump.

Compare this to on-site fleet fueling.

  • The fleet fueling driver arrives at your facility and pulls up to the first vehicle.
  • He scans the vehicle’s barcode which confirms the type of product the vehicle uses (dyed diesel, clear diesel or gas).  The handheld prevents him from putting in the wrong product.
  • He records the odometer reading of the vehicle.
  • He fuels the vehicle and his handheld wirelessly reads the fuel truck’s meter – no back and forth to his truck and no writing meter readings on paper.
  • He quickly moves to the next vehicle and scans it’s barcode, following the same procedure.
  • When all vehicles have been fueled, he gets your signature on the handheld and prints a legible receipt with the details for each vehicle:  truck ID, gallons, odometer and product.
  • You receive a weekly, monthly or quarterly report and electronic file of fuel usage by vehicle.

‘Okay, I see there’s benefits but what is the ROI with on-site fueling?’.  Let’s assume you use an average of 20 gals/day per vehicle and your fuel is $4/gal.

  • Driver time savings – you’re paying your driver to fuel your vehicles, not deliver your products. If it takes 15 minutes per vehicle and your driver’s loaded cost is $25/hr, you paid $6.25 on top of your fuel cost.  You paid an extra $.31/gal on top of the pump/rack price.
  • Mileage – the loaded cost per mile averages $2.50-3.00/mile (vehicle, labor, fuel, etc.).  If you drive an extra 3 miles to fuel you vehicle, you paid $9 in transportation costs.   You paid an extra $.45/gal in transportation costs.
  • Environmental – if you use an on-site storage tank and have your drivers fuel at your facility, you now have the environmental liability of the storage tank.  Additionally, if your drivers spill while fueling then you have the environmental reporting responsibility and have to ensure your drivers know what to do for HazMat.
  • Better fuel control– fuel is an expensive commodity. Drivers can pump into their own vehicles/containers, not turn in fueling receipts or report inaccurately to improve their metrics like miles per gallon. Taking the driver out of the equation reduces theft and improves accuracy.
  • Fuel price management – as specialists in fueling and fuel management, on-site fueling companies can leverage purchasing, pricing and hedging across multiple customers to provide savings and price predictability.
  • Tax savings – for equipment or vehicles that stay in your yard, you can eliminate road taxes by getting detailed fueling reports on a per asset basis.  This is especially helpful in areas like refineries or food distribution (refrigerated trailers) where there may be a large number of vehicles or trailers that never go on the road.

If you have a vehicle fleet that returns to the yard on a daily basis, you’re a good candidate for on-site fueling. Examples include:

  • Food service distribution
  • Armored car service
  • Beverage distribution
  • School buses
  • Furniture delivery
  • Lumber delivery
  • Special needs and senior transport service
  • Local delivery companies

If you’re interested in on-site fueling, you should look for companies that automate the process with wireless handhelds so they can read meters electronically. This eliminates hand written errors, calculation errors and provides you with the confidence to know your fueling records are accurate for proof of delivery.

The best run on-site fueling companies use BizSpeed’s goRoam.BulkDelivery handheld system. Contact us to find an on-site fueling provider near you.

Updates to Bulk and Metered Delivery Software

fleet fueling metered delivery handheldWe have started beta testing the update to our goRoam.BulkDelivery software for bulk, packaged and metered delivery. This is a significant upgrade as we have integrated into our current goRoam mobile application framework. It streamlines operations for delivery drivers and provides workflow specific to the type of product delivered.  We’ve tested extensively in-house and are in the process testing on-site with existing customers.  Key features of the update include:

  • Integration into the goRoam mobile app based on Microsoft’s SmartClient framework. This provides strong inter-module integration, so bulk deliveries are integrated with inspections (additional module).
  • Upgrades to the current version of SQL Server CE on the mobile device for faster data access, such as looking up customer assets.
  • Significantly enhanced inventory management on bulk trucks.  We support tracking retained products and pump-offs so you can better understand and match inventory versus strictly delivered product.
  • More metrics – we now track how long each asset takes to fuel so you can get better driver metrics at a detail versus aggregate (avg time per asset to fuel).
  • Improved workflow and user interface, including use of finger friendly controls. We have eliminated the need to do horizontal scrolling, so a driver can see everything on one page or can scroll with fingers or the keypad keys.
  • Faster meter integration with LCR-II registers and better visual indicators on meter status.
  • Streamlined workflow so drivers see forms based on the line item they are delivering. For packaged delivery, they see packaged specific data. For bulk products, we differentiate between metered and non-metered as well as the type of asset being filled.  For example, on tanks we show tank readings and can force the readings. On vehicles/engines we support odometer or hour readings.
  • Simultaneous dual meter pumping – drivers can pump from two LCR-II or other meters at the same time.
  • Better background synchronization – we use a full queuing system that detects network connectivity and syncs automatically when a device is connected via cellular, wifi or cradle.

The updated module will be available by the end of June 2011.

 

main menu fleet fueling handheld Route list with easy to view summary of each stop - handheld Post-trip tracking of retained product and pump-off handheld
Main menu Route list with easy to view summary of each stop Post-trip tracking of retained product and pump-off