AJG Parcels is a third party carrier based in Inverness serving the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which cover an area the size of Wales. Formed in 1992, it now has ten depots, 160 employees, and some 80 delivery vans.
Until recently, one labour-intensive area of AJG’s activities involved the volume of paperwork that had to be processed each day. In particular, some 3,500 proofs of delivery had to be inputted manually into its clients’ various systems. AJG therefore started looking for a more streamlined and cost-effective approach.
Managing director Adrian Gray says: “We wanted to find a way of automating proof of delivery and collection, and of tracking the precise location of our customers’ parcels. We therefore started looking for a hand held device that our drivers could use to collect the end customer’s signature at the point of delivery.”
Gray came across Spirit Data Capture, an independent company specialising in mobile computing and automated data collection.
“We particularly liked the Mobile Compia M3+, a PDA that is distributed by Spirit. It was new to the market, and promised to be a highly cost-effective solution. We therefore ordered more than 100 devices so that they could be used by our drivers.”
The Mobile Compia M3+ met AJG’s criteria for reliability, accuracy and image capture. It is a light and compact unit that boasts options such as a laser barcode scanner; an 802.11b/g radio; GSM/GPRS; a Bluetooth radio; and an integral 1.3 megapixel camera.
Gray says: “We asked Spirit to help us to develop an application that would enable our drivers to capture the end customer’s signature electronically and send it straight through to the client’s system in real time, using the Mobile Compia’s GPRS capability. This system would also enable end customers to track the location of their parcel through our website.”
The drivers can use the M3+ as a mobile phone, with a Bluetooth headset. The devices are also used for satellite navigation, as the vans have cradles that incorporate GPS (Global Positioning Satellite).
“The Mobile Compia devices have boosted the efficiency of both our delivery and administrative processes,” says Gray.
“Now that we have completed the first phase of the project – the proof of delivery and collection system – we have asked Spirit to help us to explore further benefits of the Mobile Compia’s GPRS capabilities. They will therefore be setting up a messaging system between our depots and the drivers, and a collection management system.”