P&H upgrades driver PDAs and fleet in new efficiency and service drive

Delivered wholesaler Palmer and Harvey, is upgrading its drivers’ PDAs over the next year to improve efficiencies and customer service throughout its network.

The current PDA system, which consists of over 950 handheld devices, has been in place for four years and is used to track vehicles and confirm delivery performance and service levels.

P&H says the system overhaul will boast several new, beneficial functions such as the built-in “Co-Pilot” satellite navigation system, vehicle tracking, delivery asset recording, vehicle safety checks and messages, photos and scanning.

Drivers currently have to manage several variables per delivery such as different customer service levels, time-critical delivery windows and multiple product types. By introducing the upgrade P&H hopes it will maximise operational efficiency. 

The wholesaler claims the new PDA functions will improve internal efficiencies and the driver experience by: Reducing paperwork and the complexity associated with it at delivery points; removing the potential for human error from the delivery process; reducing the “at drop” time and travel time between drops; reducing paper handling, admin overhead and storage costs; reducing POD (proof of delivery) query processing times and disputes; improving document and information sharing via an online portal.

P&H claims retailers will reap the benefits too, with: improved ETA accuracy; a reduction in delivery point errors; reduction in lost PODs; access to “real time” delivery confirmation information; and access to a web-based “Self-Serv” portal.

Other initiatives include enhancements to the distribution fleet – the company’s newest vehicles feature a slipstream body which, compared to the standard build, is approximately 14% more fuel efficient.

Mark Leonard, group operations director at P&H adds: “In addition to this, the introduction of a Dhollandia Underslung Flat-Slider tail-lift and Frigoblock underslung refrigeration unit have delivered further safety and efficiency benefits. By increasing the size of the working platform for safer pallet manoeuvring and making the refrigeration units controls ground-level accessible, the measures have reduced the risks of drivers falling.

“These developments are part of a wider programme of change taking place in our supply chain and will support greater efficiency and fantastic customer service. We have a plan and we are going to deliver it.”

Leonard joined P&H in April this year and has set about transforming its supply chain in order to support the company’s new operating plan.

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