24 January 2014
CryoService of Worcester, USA has revolutionized their bulk gas delivery process by implementing mobile computing across their entire delivery fleet. The company, which supplies gases to the science, leisure and industrial sectors, took the decision to implement a mobile computing solution and have been since reaping the benefits.
The TouchStar computers, together with specially designed application software, help the CryoService delivery team accurately log vital information. They are used to record the delivery of bulk CO2, and the collection or exchange of a cylinder, log delivery comments and capture a customer’s signature.
The switch from a paper based system to an end-to-end IT based system has streamlined the company’s operation and increased efficiency at a time of massive expansion for the company. CryoService have just relocated to 80,000 sq foot purpose built premises. “Our drivers were having to cope with a massive amount of aperwork for each customer but now it is all logged on the handheld”, said Steve Lloyd, Central Distribution Manager. “Eliminating the paperwork is saving each of my drivers up to 2 hours a week.”
Delivery schedules are loaded on to the driver’s handheld computer before the start of each shift. After each delivery, the customer simply signs the screen and a receipt is printed from the integrated printer EndCap. At the end of the shift delivery data is uploaded to CryoService’s central computer, a job previously done by three data entry clerks.
“The new system means that any problems with deliveries are identified quickly and easily and customer information is instantly available to drivers at the touch of a button”.
Cryoservice also uses the units to log driver data. Important management information such as time per delivery and time between drops is held on the units and allows Steve to sign off time sheets based on these records.
The benefits brought by mobile computing are felt throughout many other areas of the business. Steve continues, “Invoices are dispatched the next day, where previously this could take several days, and the data is more accurate which has led to a decrease in the number of credits issued.”
One of the key requirements of the system was that it had to be easy to use as nearly all the drivers were not used to working with computers. In addition, the hardware had to be durable and efficient. “The application software has been written with the end user in mind. Large touch blocks guide the driver through the process and ensure that none of the delivery details are missed. The amount of free form data that has to be entered is kept to a minimum, decreasing the likelihood of errors.”
Steve held training sessions for his drivers and most were ready to go within 45 minutes, one driver was fully trained in just 20 minutes at a service station! Although initially wary of the new system, the drivers now find their terminals indispensable. When asked how they would feel if they were made to go back to paper, the team jokingly told Steve that they would “rip his limbs off!”