Tag Archive for transport

Tracking a Movable Feast: How National Food Does It

National-Food_Home
Photo courtesy National Food Corporation

Based in Everett, Washington, National Food is an egg and egg products production and distribution company. To economize its egg delivery service, its transportation department also offers for hire truckload and LTL (less than load) transportation services of refrigerated and dry freight to other food companies throughout the Pacific Northwest.  “In doing this, often if not always, we transport a variety of products that are being delivered alongside our products”, said David Harbour, Transportation Projects Manager at National Food.

Because of this diversity of product that National Food transports, the temperature monitoring solution David’s team picked isn’t used as advertised. At Webtech Wireless, we promote temperature monitoring as a solution that enables fleet managers to know through real-time alerts if temperature thresholds in trucks and trailers are being reached. While this is valuable information for National Food, they’ve opted out of the real-time alerts and focused instead on the benefits of reporting.

How National Food does it

For National Food, it’s all about reporting. “We have less need to know what’s going on in real-time than to have the reporting capabilities after the fact”, said David. And after-the-fact reporting is how National Food saves thousands of dollars in otherwise lost revenue. A shipment can run around $40,000 to $50,000, and I can think of at least three instances where temperature reporting saved us a lot of money. If a client claims that a shipment was spoiled, we can produce reports that show it didn’t happen on our watch”, said David adding, “It saved our bacon.”

Looking Forward to the New WT2250

WT2250 by Webtech Wireless“We already have three WT2250 Locators installed and plan to upgrade 28 trucks with the WT2250s as well”, said David. He mentioned some of the new features he’s looking forward to having with the new WT2250 Locators. “The WT2250 Locator sends a temperature report with every record, so in addition to the GPS location information, I know what temperatures my reefer trucks are recording”, said David. He goes on to mention the rugged build of the new WT2250s, “The antenna is built in, so there’s no separate accessory and one less fail point”.

With configurable timed reporting intervals and detailed reports show temperature history and readings exceeding thresholds, David and National Food have much to look forward to as they continue to deliver eggs and other food products to their customers—efficiently and cost effectively.

National-Food_eggs

Finding the Right Fleet GPS for a Livable City

Port Metro Vancouver
Images courtesy of Port Metro Vancouver

Vancouver has always prided itself as a livable city. Year after year, Vancouver tops the list as “world’s most livable city”. One unintended result—stemming from its freeway wars of the 1960s and 70s that put a finish to highway construction—was that the city’s residential streets would find themselves hosting long queues of Port container and long-haul truck traffic.

While Port Metro Vancouver does not operate container trucking companies or container trucks of its own, with 149 privately-owned trucking companies sending over 2,000 trucks to the Port, it has found itself at the diplomatic center of a delicate balance between trucking and city politics.

Last year after Port Metro Vancouver closed its receiving entrance on Clark Drive (a designated truck route), residents quickly noticed a huge increase in container truck traffic on Nanaimo Street (a primarily residential street). With complaints flooding in from constituents, City Hall put pressure on Port Metro Vancouver to do something to reduce this congestion.

In a special pilot program, Port Metro Vancouver equipped 300 container trucks with GPS tracking devices to send information to Port authorities about what routes Port-bound trucks were using. In a recent interview with The Vancouver Sun, Port Metro Vancouver CEO Robin Silvester described the pilot program  as having “already brought results”.

As with CP Rail (another customer of the Port), it vastly improved turnaround time at the Port. “It’s really looking at having a minimal number of trucks in the Lower Mainland,” Sylvester said, adding the Port hopes to reduce the number of trucks leaving without cargo by 30 to 40 per cent. “That would be fantastic. We’re building the tools to move toward that goal.” Based on the improvements in efficiency, the Port is looking to outfit all licensed trucks to its facilities with a GPS solution soon. The program is voluntary and free to licensed trucks serving the Port facilities.

Port Metro VancouverWhile the City of Vancouver is always keen to retain its “most livable city” designation, it also has big incentives to see trucks and commercial vehicles move efficiently.  With over $200-million worth of cargo moving through the port each day, the City must balance the needs of trucks and commercial vehicles positively with the overall health of the city.

The City enforces truck route regulations based on public complaints and safety inspections, but now Port Metro Vancouver can be pro-active. “The GPS (units) will create a system where we’re more pro-active rather than waiting until a community raises a concern”, Silvester said.

Going Down the Road with Terry Fox

Webtech Wireless Remembers Terry FoxIn 1912, when Thomas Wilby set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia in his four-cylinder REO Special bound for Canada’s distant west coast, he knew his arrival in Victoria, British Columbia would mark the first time anyone successfully crossed Canada by automobile. It took two months. Last week, across Canada (and around the world), runners laced up and prepared to pay respect for another great Canadian, Terry Fox. Webtech Wireless employees also took part in the Terry Fox Run, a run that in some ways also commemorates transportation in Canada. This is the story of a Canadian hero and legend who joined a nation in his Marathon of Hope—to find a cure cancer.

Owing to its geographical size (second only to Russia), Canada has historically been challenged to provide a high level of communications to a relatively small population spread across a vast land. This is the reason highways were so important to Canada’s emergence as a leader in the post-war period.  Like the Federal-Aid Highway Act in the United States, Canada’s Trans-Canada Highway Act paved the way to build the transportation infrastructure needed to move the bounty of natural resources to waiting ports and to move people—including new immigrants—around a continent untouched by war.

But unlike the United States, Canada has always been a one-highway nation and that highway is the Trans-Canada Highway stretching 7,821 kilometres (4,859 miles) from St. John’s, Newfoundland in the east to Victoria, British Columbia in the west. It is this highway that 22-year-old Terry Fox set out to conquer and set the stage for conquering cancer too. In 1980 with little initial fanfare, he aimed west with his skip-hop-run that would later became his signature (he’d already lost his right leg to cancer) he began his long journey. Sometimes, it’s said that his journey was cut short by a return of the cancer that eventually killed him, but when he was forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario, he had completed 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles) of his journey. That’s almost two Tour de Frances or 1½ times across Australia.

Webtech-Wireless-Teams Terry Fox run 2012

With a total of 17 runners, the two Canadian Webtech Wireless offices (Webtrekkers) ran in Toronto’s High Park and Vancouver’s Stanley Park to raise a total $5,496.62 for the Terry Fox Foundation. Congratulations to all.

NAFA – Embracing the Future

We were at the NAFA 2012 trade show (North America Fleet Managers Association) in St. Louis and one of the highlights of the show was the keynote presentation, Making Sense of the Future, given by Dr. Peter Bishop, PhD. Together with other trade show attendees, we gathered in full force and in great anticipation to hear Dr. Bishop provide a wide vision of the future of debt, oil & resources, people and demographics, automotive market and emerging technologies.

Patrick Lizotte, our account manager in Quebec and eastern North America said, “Dr. Bishop invited us to look into change versus sudden change, and our relationship and involvement with technology and computers; that is, how we are evolving and adapting ourselves toward the computer era”.

Some of the topics he presented included:

  • Which trends and technologies impact on our business?
  • Which scenarios of the future are imaginable?
  • What will we probably have to face and what not?
  • Which surprising changes of direction could the future take?
  • Which new future markets and business models are imaginable for us?
  • Which alternative designs for the future of our company exist?
  • What do we need to do to use our opportunities and secure our future?

Dr. Bishop concluded his presentation with a simple two-word recommendation, “Stay Awake”. – Be certain to handle Future and Change.

Dr. Peter Bishop is an associate professor of Human Sciences and chair of the graduate program in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Dr. Bishop specializes in techniques for long-term forecasting and planning. He delivers keynote addresses, conducts seminars on the future for business, government and not-for-profit organizations, and also facilitates groups in developing scenarios, visions and strategic plans for the future.