With all of the new emerging technologies related to the agriculture industry, it’s difficult to know what system is right for your business. Managing your vehicles, equipment and drivers can be critical to your operations. So what kind of a solution will work best for my business and what technologies should I use? For Minnesota Valley Irrigation (MVI) the choice was simple.
MVI, a leading provider of center pivot irrigation systems for the upper Midwest, had been using a leading GPS provider for 7 years. The company initially chose to implement a GPS tracking system to help verify worker locations, but after continued poor customer service and vehicles constantly dropping off the system, they decided it was time to make a swithch. MVI looked at various systems and decided that Pedigree Technologies OneView® was the best fit for them. “This is way better than what we had before. When I continue to play with the system, I like it even more,” said Leon Barthel, Equipment Manager at MVI.
OneView has transformed their entire operations and made the company more efficient, allowing MVI to increase the number of trips made each day without adding to the workload. Barthel uses the system everyday and continues to see the benefits. “It’s the first thing I turn on in the morning and the last thing I turn off when I leave for the day,” said Barthel
Read the entire case study and learn how the company was able to
- Reduced Operations Costs including labor and fuel consumption,
- Improved Dispatching and response times, and
- Increased Customer Satisfaction by estimating delivery times.
Download the case study now to read more!
As the year winds down and thoughts turn to new toys and expensive gifts, we at Pedigree are already busy playing with a new toy. It’s the TTU-720 asset tracking tag from CalAmp, the gift that will make it much easier to keep track of those expensive pieces of equipment. Yes, we already have several options for asset tags we’ve been using successfully for some time; however, asset tracking is one of those applications where there is no single hardware solution that will suit every use case.
The complexities of the hardware conundrum are multifaceted. First, there is the question of whether or not there is power available to run the device. In many cases, the equipment being tracked is non-powered which means that any hardware will need to be battery powered. This option means tradeoffs between how frequently the device can report and how long it can run between recharges or battery replacements. Sometimes the solution requires a device that may only report once a day, but must work in the most far flung places, requiring a battery powered GPS tag with satellite communication. Other times frequent reporting for items in transit, a box or tote for example, is needed which means that locations has to come from triangulation from a wireless carrier’s network since GPS will not work inside the container.
The TTU-720 fills a void for a cost-effective, GPS enabled tag that uses cellular communications to report its location. Why is that important? It has to do with two-way communication and the cost of sending a request for current location from the device. Satellite communication is an excellent solution in far afield places, but these tags only broadcast location, they don’t allow for the applications to ask it ‘Where are you now.’ Therefore, the location will be based on the last broadcast, which could be up to 24 hours old. Additionally, the cost of using satellite to broadcast messages is often 10x the costs of cellular.
Again, there is no single solution when it comes to asset tracking, and there are plenty other permutations. Still, we were happy to get our present from CalAmp a few weeks before old Saint Nick starts handing out his. The TTU-720 should make 2013 a happy new year for anyone trying to keep track of trailers, skids, tractors or, for those in the North Pole supply chain, even sleighs.
We have been getting a lot of positive feedback from our customers about the POV tablet-based solutions for electronic driver logs and hours of service. The users who have gone through roadside inspections have reported not only that they have passed but that the highway transportation officers have even complimented them on the system. These are the calls you love to get from your customers because it reflects success in delivering solutions that make their business safer, more efficient and ultimately more profitable.
The EOBR issue is an especially challenging one for customers and vendors in the SMB and mid-market. Interpreting the rules and implementing a system for compliance isn’t “plug and play”. Above and beyond the technology implementation and training there is the business process reengineering project to make sure people know the rules and follow procedure to comply. Large enterprises often turn to consultants like IBM or Accenture to lead these re-engineering projects and couple them with system integration and implementation as a packaged solution. This is a fine approach for large companies with deep pockets but it’s a luxury many mid-sized and smaller transportation companies can’t afford.
In the process of developing the driver log application Pedigree has developed relationships with a number of transportation consulting companies that can help small to midsized companies interpret regulations and implement the business processes and rules to achieve compliance. A good example is Compliance & Safety Services, Inc. out of Fargo. They are a regional service and consulting company that help customers address everything from drug testing to IFTA reporting and Hours of Service. CSSI has not only been a great help to some of our fleet customers, they have been a great help to us in suggesting features to improve the overall customer experience.
With their help, we’ve developed some tips to help motor carriers and drivers with roadside inspections. Download our tip sheet, 5 Tips for Motor Carriers to Help Drivers Pass FMCSA Roadside Inspections, to learn how you can prepare your drivers to be successful with roadside inspections.
We will continue to look for more consulting partners like CSSI to help our customers successfully implement the processes to maintain compliance using OneView. If you are a compliance consultant, please contact us for more information. We’re always looking for partners and products that can make our customers safer and more profitable.
With the variety of electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) solutions hitting the marketplace, evaluating which option is right for your business can be a tricky process. While price will inevitably be a consideration in your decision making, simply choosing the lowest cost solution can lead to gaps in functionality, poor implementation, and unrealized ROI.
Maintaining Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compliance is more than just putting an EOBR device in each of your vehicles. Treating the device as ‘plug & play’ – install it and forget it – will not facilitate adoption or utilization. Untrained or uncommitted drivers, lack of oversight, and poor understanding of industry regulations will lead to violations and hefty fines.
To combat these challenges, choose a solution provider who offers detailed rollout plans, installation and implementation services, and extended training and support. This helps you maximize the utilization and effectiveness of the EOBR, and ensures your staff will be fully trained on the system.
Some solution providers are even partnering with industry consultants to provide long-term support relationships for managing compliance. If you don’t have the resources internally to devote to compliance needs, seeking out solution providers with these types of strategic relationships gives you the best resources for achieving and maintaining compliance.
Even if your company has one person, or a team of people, responsible for managing compliance, there are advantages to finding a solution provider with more robust training and support. With the shift to EOBR devices, employees will be responsible for learning new procedures that will accompany the new technology. Leveraging your solution provider’s relationship with a consultant ensures your internal staff is trained on new rules and procedures, and empowers them to manage the new devices.
The important thing for companies to remember is this – compliance is more than a device in the cab. It takes commitment to the new solution, trained employees, company-wide adoption, and an understanding of how rules and regulations affect your business. While it is ultimately the responsibility of the business owner to ensure compliance is being met, finding a solution provider who can support your compliance goals is essential to being successful.
For additional tips on how to increase understanding of new EOBR technology and utilization of your EOBR solution download our tip sheet: 6 Tips for Maximizing Your EOBR Solution.
According to the American Trucking Association, we rely on roughly 3.1 million men and women to transport the goods and services that keep our country running. These truck drivers are an essential part of our marketplace, bolstering the economy while striving to keep our highways safe. This week, Pedigree Technologies joins with the trucking industry to honor America’s professional truck drivers and the impact they have on our daily lives.
These days truck drivers travel over 397.8 billion miles annually. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, celebrated each September, is a time to express our appreciation for their time behind the wheel. The miles they drive aren’t easy by any means, and they’ve gotten even tougher and more complicated with recent legislation.
One of our goals at Pedigree is to provide these hardworking individuals with tools and technology to make their jobs easier. That’s why we’ve partnered with a team of experienced compliance and safety consultants to help our customers meet FMCSA requirements and DOT regulations. By utilizing common technology like tablets, drivers can safely communicate with the home office, manage hours of service, and generate electronic log books. By streamlining these processes, drivers can focus on what really matters – transporting their goods and services safely and efficiently.
There’s no doubt that truck drivers have a difficult job. Worrying about rapidly changing legislation and compliance issues shouldn’t be one of them. Pedigree Technologies strives to develop products and services that make meeting FMCSA compliance simple, affordable, and effective.
We appreciate the profound impact truck drivers have on our lives, and we look forward to returning the favor.
Interested in more information on Pedigree’s EOBR solution? Get a free, customized demo
While it may seem like machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions are still in the early stages of adoption, the fact is that we’ve been deploying telemetry and remote monitoring systems for several decades. There are hundreds of thousands of low speed cellular connections monitoring tanks, pipelines, turbines and all manner of mobile equipment. These systems have been around so long that they are actually reaching their ‘end of life’ and need to be replaced. This has users, as well as solution providers, scrambling to come up with migration strategies that in most cases mean spending extra money to essentially get exactly the same functionality they have today. The place where there are potential improvements is in the support and manageability of these devices. By replacing dumb terminals with more intelligent network devices, users can increase their uptime and lower their support costs for solutions that are increasingly becoming a critical part of operations.
The modern mobile network was not designed for machine-to machine-communications. At first glance, it would seem that handling infrequent messages of several hundred KB or less would be trivial for high speed 4G cell networks, and in many ways it is. The challenge with M2M is not in carrying the messages - those are handled quite nicely by mobile networks of all stripes. The real problem is with the lifespan of these networks. The cell phone world is one of planned obsolescence. Consumers have come to expect ‘new every 2’ will provide a new phone with more powerful processing to unlock the wonders of our social, entertainment and business cyber world. Machines, on the other hand, are much more averse to change. Once things are set up and the device is connected, the less things change the better. This philosophy is more akin to that of SCADA networks that often run for 10 years without significant changes.
As others have pointed out, this is especially important in light of the decision to start decommissioning some of the 2G networks. Customers and solution providers will be faced with the unenviable task (and costs) of replacing networking hardware on a significant installed base of mobile and remote equipment and vehicles. For all practical purposes, there isn’t much that can be done to avoid the 2G migration problem, but there are some lessons to be learned when it comes to implementing M2M solutions that can help in the future. Replacing the 2G devices will require someone to change the SIMs, if not the device itself, which means truck rolls and install fees for customers whose system is working fine today as is.
As we move to a 3G, 4G or LTE based solution, the selection and support of M2M devices becomes more complex and important as companies increase their reliance on the data. Device management is a topic that doesn’t come up that often when it comes to M2M but will certainly become a bigger issue as these systems become more ingrained in everyday operations. Based on our experience delivering these solutions to the commercial market and US Navy, we’ve identified several key criteria for the solutions we deploy.
- First, the M2M platform or solution must be flexible enough to support data from a variety of devices and manufacturers, as well as to manage the performance and availability of the devices themselves. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to M2M and users, which is why we go to great lengths to be hardware independent and to collect device diagnostics.
- Second, devices need to be manageable and the peripherals that support the applications like smart phones, tablets and PNDs need to be supported as part of the overall solution delivery. Traditional software support doesn’t extend to the servers that the software runs on. M2M is different. Cloud-based applications depend on data from mobile or remote devices that may report back intermittently, regularly or only on exception. This means that it isn’t simply a matter of whether the device is up or reachable, it means that you have to look at the specific context of the application to see whether it's operating as expected.
- Third, expect to refresh the bulk of the installed hardware every 5-7 years. There will be plenty of M2M devices that never get swapped out, and that may even outlive the machines they are connected to, especially for OEM or embedded deployments. Just don’t expect it in all cases. Between modules that break, networks that go away and systems that get more sophisticated, there will be plenty of devices that need physical attention. Plan for it in support capital costs. Maybe you’re fortunate and the system greatly outlives these estimates, but then again, maybe the next generation of features aren’t available with legacy hardware.
Nobody likes to pay again for something they already bought. The M2M solutions providers are finding out just how strongly customers feel this way as they discuss the costs to migrate off of AT&T’s 2G network. Unfortunately they are the messenger, and there is nothing they can do to change the realities of a hardware refresh. The lesson here is that while these issues are at times unavoidable, the costs and disciplines to support and replace M2M devices are often overlooked. Many customers don’t realize how dependent they will become on these solutions until they stop working. It pays to spend a little time and money to make sure the data flows even if the devices fail.
In the grand scheme of things, strong sales growth is its own reward; however, it is nice to be recognized for all the hard work that goes into generating that revenue growth. In addition to new products, employees, and larger office space that has resulted from our strong revenue ramp, Pedigree has been named to the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies for 2012. This recognition is especially satisfying in our ‘connected service’ business because it speaks to the hard work and dedication of both the sales people who bring in new business as well as the service team that manages the provisioning, installation, and training that has to happen to get new customers turned on. Our service team has worked long and hard to create processes, write documentation, and implement systems to make this process as streamlined and scalable as possible.
As the old adage goes, no good deed goes unpunished. In the M2M business that can be especially true. Sales deserves a hearty congratulations for being an excellent engine of growth, but today we celebrate our services organization for their hard work and dedication to turning a contract into a customer.
Wholesale fuel distribution is a slim-margin business that includes a variety of rapidly changing variables: truck location or availability, customer inventory levels, wholesale fuel market price, supplier product availability, terminal wait-time, and customer delivery preferences. Each significantly affects operational decision-making and profitability.
Revenues depend greatly on the accuracy of customer inventory levels, market fuel prices, and logistical efficiencies.
The process of monitoring and managing customers’ inventory levels at multiple store locations can be costly and time-consuming. In order to keep track of these fluctuating conditions, fuel trucking operators have dispatch teams that spend many hours on the phone. They’re obtaining details, only to review these changing conditions over and over again—all while managing customer demands and keeping track of drivers.
Without the right tools and technology, when a customer’s fuel runs out, there’s no way to determine the most efficient route, or for that matter, which truck with the available inventory is within the nearest proximity to the customer.
Understandably, dispatchers burn-out quickly in this high-stress environment.
Real-time Visibility and Response
Real-time truck locations increase coordination, accountability, and efficiency. Because critical information is instantly available on any computer or mobile device, there’s significant time-savings as well. Automated reports add even more visibility to critical data.
Pedigree Technologies OneView® for Downstream Oil & Gas integrates fuel inventory and dispatch and routing systems into a single solution that tracks and monitors tanks and trucks all on one screen, accessible from any computer or device with an Internet connection.
Using smart software that’s easily integrated with nearly any brand of mechanical sensor or ATG along with connectivity through either cellular or satellite communications, all data points are presented via the web after being collected and aggregated into useful formats, including dashboards and reports.
OneView lets jobbers and fuel haulers know exactly how much fuel their customers need, when inventories reach critical levels, where their trucks are located, and what time deliveries will be made. This significantly increases efficiency and productivity of deliveries, allowing distributors to serve more customers while reducing overall cost of operations to increase profit margin.
Read a case study to learn how one wholesale fuel distributor supplying over 65 dealer locations was able to
• Reduced $500,000 in excess fuel inventory,
• Increased fuel delivery volume, and
• Reduced common carrier loads by 75%.
Download the case study now!
Some people consider ‘new’ to be synonymous with ‘fresh’ and ‘clean’ – like a new job, new car, or new outlook can give someone a ‘fresh start’ or a ‘clean slate.’ It’s as if they want to erase the previous version and move forward with the new edition. Does the adage “out with the old, in with the new” ring any bells?
I’m as guilty as the next person. I’ve had six desks since I started at Pedigree a year and a half ago. With each move I looked at my new space as a new opportunity – to be more organized, to have fun decorating, to arrange things more efficiently – and yet each space inevitably got scattered with paperwork, files, post-it notes, and office odds and ends.
We recently moved into a new building, one that is for the time being completely ours. While it is a ‘fresh start’ in many ways – we custom-designed the interior to help increase efficiencies and implement new processes – we are not looking to wipe our slate clean. After experiencing 260% customer growth in 2011, we know we are doing something right and to completely erase those practices would be detrimental.
This Thursday we’ll celebrate our new building and of course, talk about the possibilities available to us now that we have space to grow and expand. However, we will also be celebrating the things that have gotten us this far – from our inception in the NDSU Research & Technology Park to a leading technology firm with our own building – and continue to improve on the best practices and diligence that have shaped us.
Please join us in celebrating
When: Thursday, June 21st
Time: 3:30 - 6:00pm
4:00pm – Ribbon cutting
Where: 4776 28th Avenue South Suite 101, Fargo, ND 58104
Mechanical service contractors own and maintain an inventory of high-value assets and equipment, in addition to a mobile workforce, which amplifies these challenges. These companies need to look for cost savings and new customers to stay in business.
For these businesses, profit margins shrink as competition increases; meanwhile, customers cut costs by looking for ways to get more value from their service vendors.
In a recent survey of field service organizations, 45% of respondents cited lower customer spending as a top source of market pressure, followed by increased competition for services (44%), shrinking service margins (35%), and increased product-based competition (32%).
Like many of its peers, full-service mechanical contractor Robert Gibb & Sons faced the challenge of shrinking margins on service and equipment in addition to increased competition for traditional service in an already tight economy.
The contractor implemented Pedigree Technologies OneView® for Mechanical Services, facilitating preventative instead of predictive maintenance while ensuring that service technicians show up at the right place with the right parts at the right time.
The OneView solution for Mechanical Services includes applications for service fleet management and remote equipment performance monitoring. This means companies have a single cloud-based solution to prioritize and optimize on-site service and repair using troubleshooting data, conditional alerts, and the ability to dispatch technicians based on this data while managing service fleet operations.
OneView for Mechanical Services lets service vendors continuously monitor all their equipment and assets, from virtually any manufacturer, including rooftop units, boilers, heat pumps, chillers, and air handlers.
With OneView, the equipment managed by Robert Gibb & Sons can contact the nearest technician for service when it’s needed in order to avoid costly breakdowns and keep customers’ operations running smoothly.
Pedigree Technologies OneView is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution delivered via the internet, which enables the real-time flow of critical data from operations, equipment, and the mobile workforce, accessible from any computer or device with an internet connection.
Real-time visibility into operational data lets service vendors prioritize the more urgent customer needs, and put off or reschedule lower priority and unnecessary service calls. This results in more efficient service delivery and an increase in the overall amount of work that can be done by a more productive and profitable service force.
No matter the industry, efficient and profitable service delivery requires effective organization and management of vehicles, people, and equipment. Customers value service that goes beyond the call of duty, and they remain loyal when businesses provide it.
Since implementing OneView from Pedigree Technologies, Robert Gibb & Sons has been able to lower the cost of service delivery, increase customer retention, and expand service offerings. Find out how they did it. Download the case study today!