The hand held application simplifies the communication process between the drivers and the main office of the company. It is designed to enable the users to access and modify information regarding the automobile transportation process, so that the status of a transport is always up to date.
The application runs under Microsoft Mobile 5.0 operating system and used the .Net Compact Framework 2.0, with SQL Server 2000. The handheld device is Symbol MC70.
The client is a car transportation company from California.
In the process of transporting luxury cars there are a lot of documents involved. The process requires mobility, flexibility and permanent communication with the “back-office”, hence the need of a software application to simplify the communication between the drivers on the road and the main office. In this way the supervisors and the dispatchers always know the status of a transport, of each item (cargo) and the drivers can access the information for the cars they will transport.
The solution was to create a Windows Mobile application to work on the hand held devices available on trucks. The application monitors and displays information about the car delivery.
This system allows truck drivers, subcontracting company representatives, customers, and transportation company administrators to interact and take notice of deliveries, transport requests, bills, invoices, receipts.
Part of the communication is based on mobile device <->web services communication.
The mobile application uses web services to retrieve live info such as GPS data on truck geographical position, status, maintenance information, as well as directional data. In addition, the interaction between truck drivers and central system uses wireless communication between personnel operated handheld devices and dedicated software -> database, on a client server architecture.
Operators receive live information regarding their assignments/tasks and are able to close assignments and generate invoices to customers, automatically. Customers are notified through delivery receipt information that their orders have been delivered. Contact persons may sign the delivery receipts (on the handheld) and establish whether the delivered product is intact or has problems. Photos of problematic items could be stored to illustrate any reported claim that will be tackled and solved later on. Products are also examined prior to delivery (by means of both pictures and text information) to avoid any misinterpretation of other secondary, delivery imperfections. If the driver spots a defect during the inspection process, the device could be used as a camera and take up to three pictures of the specific deficiency. These pictures will be saved on the server and can be viewed by any web application user.
It is required by the law that the driver has a copy of the daily inspection on him/ her. Thus, the application allows the driver to execute the pre-trip inspection and also save the information so that it can be displayed to the legal authorities if necessary.
When the data is uploaded to the server, the application uses a Web Service for connecting to the central data base and save the changes that were made. In this way, there is no need for the transportation process to end for the data to be updated in the system.
The software had to quickly download the data needed and allow the user to change the details of the cargo as well as saving them into the main system. Automatic FTP updates and email sending were made available for the drivers.
Benefits for the client
The solution eased the communication and data flow sewing up an increasingly competent delivery.