DYNALOGIC COURIERS ON THE ROAD WITH THE TOUGHPAD FZ-M1

Scanning barcodes, planning routes, running checklists, adding signatures – the new Toughpad can do it all.

Dynalogic is a courier service provider with a difference. And so their couriers need a powerful tool to cope with the multiple delivery tasks conducted everyday. That’s why they’ve chosen Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1. An enterprise solution, made to measure.

When shipment instructions are too changeable for the major bulk carriers, Dynalogic is happy to take on the job. Dynalogic is a logistics service provider that focuses on extra service for the receiver. How? The products can be fragile, the customer chooses the moment of delivery, and there's the added value of delivery to the door with the option of the courier putting the products in place, connecting them up and testing them then and there. “Our services go further than just a signature at the door for a receipt,” explains Philip Bleijlevens, General Manager at Dynalogic. To allow them do their work as efficiently as possible, the couriers have recently been given a Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 on which they can run through the various delivery tasks, including receiving routing instructions and barcode scanning.  

The major bulk carriers deliver large numbers of shipments every day, but merely ask for a signature and then drive away. Furthermore, packages can only be shipped up to a certain weight and dimension. Dynalogic however sees itself at the top of the pyramid, standing out because it does ship precisely those non-standard packages. These may be small products such as a passport or a bunch of flowers, upwards to washing machines, garden furniture or medical equipment. “We often say there's no such thing as impossible,” says Bleijlevens. “If the products are too large or too heavy, we work in pairs. We ensure that the washing machine is delivered on the second floor and that the old one is taken away at once. We put the products in place, unpack them and install them. If it's a Nespresso machine, the courier will make a cup of coffee; if it's a TV, it will be hung up and installed. And the packaging material will be taken away with us.”

A courier has thirty different tasks every day and he or she needs to know exactly what to do with each shipment. If it's a bottle of wine, the age of the receiver must be checked; if it's a passport, the identity should be confirmed; if it's a contract there has to be a signature on it. “For years, we used a handheld device from Intermec, and later one from Motorola, but these had reached the end of their lifecycle. It proved the ideal opportunity to make a list of the things we were satisfied with and the features that were missing,” explains Bleijlevens. “We wanted to give the courier more information on a larger screen and integrate a number of separate devices into one: a handheld, a navigation device, a PIN code reader and a barcode scanner. That didn’t quite work, but we’re down from four devices to two now.”

The project was put out to tender, with DatAction chosen as the best hardware supplier. Bleijlevens says, “The deciding factor in favour of DatAction was the way in which they helped to navigate the various device and accessory options. We were looking for technology and devices that had already been tried, tested and proven. DatAction had experience with similar projects, which boosted our confidence. It was through DatAction that we decided upon Panasonic.”

As well as taking on an advisory role, DatAction also mediated between the manufacturer and the end customer throughout the project.

The choice of tablet was a fait accompli. The screen had to be large enough to allow contract completions to be carried out in the near future. In addition, Dynalogic wanted to conduct their own programming. Panasonic offers the devices under both Windows and Android, which presents flexibility. Bleijlevens explains, “We wanted to develop the software ourselves, unique and matched to our services. If you're delivering passports, it's important that the system’s security is watertight. Android is more of an open platform, which is why we chose Windows.”

It was a long process. “We looked at a lot of tablets and tested a lot of accessories. The ten-inch was too big; it was awkward for the courier with both a package and tablet under one arm. We also looked to see if we could perhaps obtain a batch of Samsung tablets. We have a repair plant with Samsung authorisations at Dynafix, so maintenance wouldn't be a problem and it could save considerably on costs. However, Samsung tablets didn't offer the functionality needed and were quite a bit more vulnerable – it remains a consumer device that runs on Android. The Panasonic FZ-M1 is an enterprise solution and that's exactly what we were after.”

The rollout started in November 2015 and went smoothly. The devices exceeded expectations. “Because the software was delivered a little later, it was too risky trying to complete the implementation before the busy month of December. In the end, all the couriers began using the devices in February and March.” Training courses were conducted for couriers to learn the order handling processes, which were carried out using a test route on a test tablet in a training area with their own trainer. 

Hardware supplier DatAction also supported this learning process by giving informational presentations.

At the start of every working day, a tablet is handed out to the courier, to be handed back at the end of the day. This means that a separate device doesn't have to be bought for every courier and that the tablets are always fully charged and in stock. In addition, Dynalogic initiated a new, more efficient process for the use of accessories. “Initially the tablets were issued to couriers with a compatible car charger and holder, but those soon became very worn due to continually being clicked in and out every day. As a result, we've now sold the accessories to the courier and they’re permanently fitted to the car. This saves time for the courier and reduces damage to the accessories.”