For delivery company Wentworth Carrying, using mobile phones to communicate between drivers and with head office was creating headaches. Calls were expensive, as well as impossible during certain activities such as loading and unloading times. Texting was inconvenient: texts were delayed if the phone was out of range and drivers had to pull over to text, wasting time and effort.
The new solution, combining MOTOTRBO* DP3601 portable two-way radios operating on TL Parker’s Connect Plus (Orion Network) has revolutionised communications for the business. Drivers, even those who found hands-free too challenging, readily embraced the easy functionality of the new radios. Owner-operator Angela Chambers is thrilled by cost savings, increased productivity and greater operational efficiency. The difference is so immense that Chambers compares it to “like going from being mute to being able to talk”.
Wentworth Carrying is a New Zealand based fleet company which aims to provide an efficient, reliable delivery service to all its customers throughout Christchurch and North Canterbury.
The company’s vision is to exceed customers’ expectations by ensuring quality and excellence in every aspect of the business, with an emphasis on customer service.
The company views itself as an integral part of the distribution system of its major customers, many of whom require time-sensitive pick-ups and deliveries to support just-in-time inventory management. The expertise of the company lies in multi-stop loading and unloading with specialised vehicles.
Running entirely on a cellular platform was starting to have a negative impact on the business. Using mobile phones meant that communication was expensive and difficult. For example, drivers couldn’t use their mobile phones during certain times, such as while loading or unloading goods.
Owner-operator Angela Chambers explains her frustrations with the limitations imposed by running the business with mobile phones:
“People don’t recognise how much communication is required for a delivery business. The mobiles were too slow, and in many situations we or the drivers couldn’t send messages. Drivers had to pull over in order to text. When drivers were out of range the texts would arrive late. While some of the drivers had hands-free facilities, not all drivers were happy to use it. In any case, our drivers generally used their own phones, which were usually prepaid, so they were reluctant to use them much. We could have bought phones and earpieces but it would have been expensive and we would have still faced the same issues.”
“It got too hard and we contacted TL Parker,” says Chambers.
The digital mobile radio (DMR) solution was a combination of Motorola DP3601 portable two-way radios operating on Connect Plus (Orion Network).
The Orion Network is a multi-site digital trunking radio system which was launched in New Zealand in April 2012. The network accommodates the high volume, wide area voice and data communication required to keep a mobile workforce connected. The network provides clear audio, greater coverage encompassing only the area required by the customer, all for a low monthly fee.
The difference is so immense that Chambers compares it to “like going from being mute to being able to talk”. The shift to radio has meant that business efficiency has been improved in a number of ways.
Drivers can easily talk while driving, loading, unloading or other busy tasks. The radios are simple to use, and have been well received by drivers.
Chambers adds: “The system has lightened the workload of the drivers. And I can guide a driver to the destination over the radio if need be, rather than having the driver pull over to use the map.”
“The radios are really easy to use: we don’t need to stop and think about how to use them. We just push the button and talk. Even those previously reluctant to use the hands-free now use it – they talk all the time!”
“This system is definitely more efficient and the cost savings are across the board. We’ve not only saved on mobile phones costs, but we save time, which is a big factor, by making everything quicker and easier. A job which used to take one hour now takes nowhere near that time. It’s hard to put a monetary amount on the value because there’s so much time saved as well,” says Chambers.
One of the features enjoyed by Wentworth Carrying is the capacity to talk to drivers individually, or the whole fleet simultaneously.
“We can talk privately to a driver, for example, if you have a question for a particular driver you can talk to him or her solely. Or we can talk to all drivers simultaneously and work out quickly who is closest to a job.”
“Generally we can do a whole lot more. We’ve gone from ‘can’t do’ to ‘can do’, and it’s really broadened our perspective of what we can do.”
Currently GPS functionality is not being utilised, however the functionality is there if this changes in the future.
“GPS is not required at the moment but as runs evolve this may also change, for example, if someone is making lots of out of town trips. It’s not just the delivery company that wants to know where the delivery is – the recipient also wants to know. With GPS I can potentially check this without interrupting the driver to call him or her, and gain an insight into where they are.”
* MOTOTRBO is Motorola’s digital mobile radio (DMR) portfolio.