Charlie Hansen, President
It may seem ‘elementary’ hinging upon a degree of silliness even, but a basic lack of 'communication' between the manufacturing team of Lockheed Martin engineers and the operating team at NASA led to the loss of the world’s first extraterrestrial weather observer, the Mars Climate Orbiter, in space in 2009. For NASA, the monetary loss was as alarming as the data loss—a whopping $125 million. Today, the trillion dollar logistics industry in the U.S. is caught up in the same muddle as the world’s premier space organization found itself soiled in with the ‘Mars Climate Orbiter’ debacle. “Through the course of providing fleet management solutions to the logistics sector for almost two decades, the one thing we consistently find is a lack of communication and transparency throughout an organization,” remarks Charlie Hansen, VP-Product Management & Sales at DQ. This will have a bigger effect on the fleet management of the future.
Gaps in communication can lead to extremely rigid operational practices in fleet management, making it difficult for companies to quickly react to change, and limiting their ability to build utilization models to drive profit. Aimed at this, DQT's fleet management solutions allow companies that rely on transportation in business to minimize risks associated with vehicle investment, improving efficiency and productivity while reducing overall transportation and staff costs along with providing 100 percent compliance with government legislation. The primary goal of every DQT fleet management product is ensuring that all level of business gets access to fleet and operational information to drive success. “We provide the operators with a platform—DQ Order and Delivery Tracking system (ODT)—that is simple to use and effective at managing all aspects of a fleet,” assures Hansen.
Effective Management through Greater Visibility
The DQ ODT System provides accurate delivery and scheduling information to dispatch, sales, and management users, enabling a more effective management of daily logistical operations. This information is available to anyone within the organization (via the unlimited user client), aiding in empowering staff, improving customer service, and increasing operational efficiency. Through ODT, the company has laid specific focus on simplifying and automating the dispatch process. “Easy to use tools maximize driver and equipment investment,” believes Hansen. Real-time alerts bring any potential issues to notice, which facilitate better, more proactive customer service. Further, ODT provides dispatchers with a graphical view of every order based-on geography, load type, vehicle capacity, and customer commitments while making the entire scheduling process easy.
ODT is designed for fleets up to 5,000 vehicles. “Our solution provides better visibility throughout the client’s organization allowing for more effective management of all their ressources,” assures Hansen. Tools built into ODT to optimize the client's fleet range from integrated mapping tools and GPS tracking for increased resource visibility, to Fleet Routing and Vehicle Maintenance Records for preventative maintenance tracking. Vehicle Maintenance Records (VMR) for ODT is a low cost and simple to use fleet maintenance management solution designed to track the rolling expense of the client’s delivery fleet. VMR provides users the ability to define preventative maintenance schedules, track inside and outside repair costs, and manage expense related data to an individual vehicle level.
Additionally, ODT's open database structure provides the flexibility required to develop customizable reporting specific to a client’s business. “Through our experience collected over the time, we’ve realized that not all delivery fleets face the same issues,” remarks Hansen. The company, therefore, offers Manual, Auto and Advanced Routing. Manual Routing replicates a customer’s current business processes electronically to provide better visibility throughout an organization and gain efficiency through simple-to-use scheduling tools. Auto Routing simplifies routing application based-on delivery geography assignments and assigned customer specifications while Advanced Routing is built on factoring in complete delivery capacity, scheduled orders, customer attributes, and order attributes to automatically manage dispatch operations.
DQT's integrated GPS tracking tool help optimize the operations further by allowing management to identify the drivers who are consistently performing at high or low levels. “With integrated GPS, clients can benchmark effective delivery practices and manage fleets by exception,” remarks Hansen. Every tracking solution is tailor-made to assist businesses in tightly managing their workforce to keep costs low while continuing to offer excellent customer service. Integration of GPS with the delivery tracking solution allows for a complete and accurate picture of every order through the entire lifecycle. These operational process improvements, management of personnel and resources along with fuel savings and increased productivity result in rapid Return on Investment (ROI). “On average, a 100 vehicle fleet can expect to save up to 15 percent on fuel expense alone. By increasing the average number of orders per run from 1.8 to 2.6, a typical business can save up to $7000 per month in delivery expenses,” states Hansen. “The ability to constantly measure and manage our delivery performance with ODT has resulted in a significant sales improvement for our organization,” said Michael Brown, President of Olympus Auto Parts, a client of DQ. DQ has helped the client become the first choice for parts by potential customers in the geographical territory by guaranteeing consistent, on-time deliveries.
"Our solutions provide better visibility throughout the client’s organization allowing for more effective management of all their resources"
Constantly Connecting with Customers
DQT’s advantage in this market has been their sustained growth over two decades in providing successful products to fleet management operators. This is the result of having an open dialogue with customers involving their every changing need, and the ability to execute optimal solutions when challenged with new or unique opportunities. Hansen is of the firm opinion: for successful fleet management, there is a need to stay closely connected to the customers. “I enjoy the opportunity to work closely with customers on specific challenges, and help engineer solutions and methodologies to meet those challenges,” reveals Hansen. “We recognize 'flexibility' as a key component in our business along with the ability to act in a consultative approach for solving unique business issues.” The DQ team makes it a point to understand the client's existing needs early on, while remaining in sync with their short and long-term goals. “This gives us an advantage as it allows us to draw upon the experiences and successes of our customers as a whole, using technology,” asserts Hansen.
I personally enjoy the opportunity to work closely with customers on specific challenges, and help engineer and develop solutions and methodologies to help meet those challenges
Going forward, “we will continue to constantly and consistently understand our customers and how our products will be applied in real environments, and also gain key insight into where we might be able to improve our products,” says Hansen. Hansen and DQT have realized the need to be fast in adopting new technology, specifically in the very changing tracking and telematics market. For instance, cloud computing has given DQT, a number of tools to assist clients in reducing the overhead of a traditional large software and services suite. The company will continue to make their products easier to use and instantly available through different platforms and mobile computing applications. “We strive to add integration partners to help bridge and connect information coming from various business systems, helping to make data available and actionable,” concludes Hansen.