As a nationwide third-party dedicated delivery specialist, Concord, North Carolina-based Cardinal Logistics has a big stake in efficient operations—particularly where its drivers are concerned. To keep up with the demands of its ever-expanding business, it needs its drivers out on the road making as many deliveries as possible each day. But a few years back, it ran up against some roadblocks that were slowing its drivers down.
To understand the problem, it helps to know a little about Cardinal Logistics' operations. The carrier operates one of the largest dedicated fleets in the country, serving customers in a diverse array of industries—chemicals, food and beverage, retail, and medical supplies among them. One of the challenges of serving a diverse array of customers is meeting their equally diverse array of record-keeping requirements. Add in the need to manage truck logs, inspections, and proof of delivery, and it's easy to see why as business grew, drivers found themselves struggling with excessive paperwork.
The obvious solution was to digitize the data-capture tasks—think of the way warehouse workers collect detailed product info with a swipe of a scanner. But there was the question of finding a suitable mobile device.
There was nothing on the market at the time that quite filled the bill, according to Clay Holmes, CIO of Cardinal Logistics. "The consumer devices [that were available] did not fit our logistics environment because of restrictions on applications, system update challenges, and lack of security," Holmes said in a statement. And most of the ruggedized industrial devices offered were designed for use within the four walls of a warehouse and lacked a "mobility plan" that would allow them to be used on the road.
AN ALL-IN-ONE SOLUTION
Cardinal Logistics eventually found the solution it sought in Zebra's Android-based TC56 and TC57 series touch computers. Today, it is using the units across its fleet of 4,000 trucks.
The enterprise-class touch computers met all of the carrier's key requirements. To begin with, they digitize tasks previously captured in writing, helping truck drivers manage logs, inspections, proof of delivery, signature capture, photos, and more. As a result, drivers who were once slowed down by paperwork can now make more deliveries in a day.
They also come with voice and data plans, enabling drivers to stay connected on the road. And, as a bonus, the all-in-one computers have allowed Cardinal Logistics to consolidate all of its applications and workflows on a single device, eliminating the need for separate cellphones, scanners, cameras, and GPS units.
As for how the new mobile computers are working out, the reviews to date are decidedly positive. "The purpose-built Android-based Zebra TC56 and TC57 series touch computers are ideal for our fleet," Holmes said in the statement. "We now use one device for everything our drivers do, and it helps us, and our customers, save money."