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  5. Fujitsu mobile solution provides major propane supplier with increased control over its field operations

Fujitsu mobile solution provides major propane supplier with increased control over its field operations

Company Profile

The company is a large U.S. marketer of propane, propane equipment, and related services with 5,000 employees across the country.

Business Challenge

With more than 300 trucks making 2,000 deliveries every day to distributors and customers, the company needed to find a more efficient way to plan and distribute route schedules and to track the status of deliveries. The previous system was highly decentralized and district service managers relied on faxes or e-mail to communicate with drivers. This system made it difficult to inform drivers, especially those working in remote areas, of changes like a cancelled order or emergency request. Likewise, drivers would not be able to immediately report back to district managers when unexpected circumstances arose during their shift.

Fujitsu Solution

Our consultants worked with the client’s field organization to evaluate the current business processes, resulting in the establishment of a new, centralized logistics department with 20 dispatchers.

Using Microsoft-based web services (and satellite communications for emergency situations), Fujitsu designed and implemented a mobility solution that provides both drivers and dispatchers with real-time information about the status of deliveries. As orders arrive, dispatchers for each service area build the routes and upload the data to their ERP systems. In the morning, drivers connect via wi-fi and download the route information—including directions, maps, and any special instructions—to their GPS-enabled DAP handheld devices running Windows CE. At midday, drivers submit an update back to headquarters confirming the deliveries that have been completed and advising them of any changes and returns that have occurred. As new orders and other information come into the central office during the day, drivers can be immediately alerted of any route changes required.

Fujitsu also developed a wall board system so that dispatchers can visually track where each of the trucks is at any given time. This is especially helpful when emergency requests come in that require inventory transfers.

Business Benefits

The new mobile solution gives the client greater control over its field operations, increasing customer satisfaction while reducing costs.

  • The immediate availability of information from the field allows dispatchers to plan deliveries more efficiently and respond more quickly to emergency requests, which has resulted in fewer lost customers since the new system went into effect.
  • Managers have better access to key performance indicators regarding the productivity of their field operations, such as gallons delivered and number of stops per hour. • By eliminating redundant processes and centralizing dispatch activities, the company has been able to reduce the number of employees in field offices or reallocate them to more strategic roles.
  • Costly, time-consuming, and error-prone manual data entry has been replaced with automated uploads to the company’s enterprise applications.
  • The familiar Windows interface reduces the need for training and support for users of the mobile devices.
  • The standards-based solution can be easily integrated when the company upgrades its ERP systems in the future.

Industries:

  • Energy & Utilities

Offering Groups:

  • Consulting

Solution Areas:

  • Microsoft Solutions

Regions:

  • United States

Challenges:

  • Accessibility of real-time information
  • Mobility

Benefits:

  • Cost reductions
  • Accessible real-time data
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Easy integration