How mobile computing empowers today’s “smart” fuel fleets
There was a feeling of progress in the room, as Dennis Disabatino of Cargas Systems gave his presentation on “The Evolution of Mobile Truck Computing: From Early Adopters to Being an Essential Tool for Energy Companies” at the DCU Center, during day two of the 2017 NEFI EXPO.
Represented in the audience were tech-savvy delivery drivers, as well as the older generation of late adopters. Both seemed equally engaged as Disabatino related how the speedy advancement of mobile technology affects the fuel delivery business. He broke the evolution of mobile tech down into three periods: the automation era, the optimization era, and the customer experience era.
The automation era, he explained, covers the arrival of early mobile hardware, which focused entirely on automating basic manual tasks, like capturing delivery gallons and printing delivery tickets. With the optimization era came wider use of routing software and the advent of real-time dispatch, allowing office workers to optimize driver routes while fleets were out in the field, thus improving delivery efficiencies.
Today, Disabatino said, the energy industry has entered the customer experience era, in which fuel delivery companies can go beyond efficiency improvements to meet customer’s higher expectations virtually instantaneously. With 4-5G mobile broadband now in use, there is more real-time data flowing between consumer-facing websites, back-office software, and drivers’ smartphones and other onboard devices. As a result, customers now expect instant information, mobile accessibility and decreasing costs.
Real-time connected systems can help energy providers satisfy and anticipate those needs. According to Disabatino, today’s real-time connected systems bring together web portals, customer relationship management (CRM) software, the back-office, and trucks in the field, empowering fuel delivery companies like never before. It’s no longer just a matter of real-time dispatch or real-time delivery; now, real-time visibility and real-time inventory control are also just a tap or click away.
Will-call delivery requests can be easily fulfilled on the same day, if not immediately; delivery status can be established and displayed instantly; work orders can be scheduled immediately; follow-up notes can be created in the field and integrated into the CRM for quick problem solving; and sales leads generated in the field can be seen right away by salespeople using connected CRM software.
“Going mobile is an investment in efficiency gains … also revenue growth,” Disabatino said. It not only allows dispatchers to optimize routes, but also empowers customer service teams to cross-sell and upsell in direct response to consumer needs. “Mobile is a key piece of taking care of customers.”