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A Mobile Solution Keeps Customers in the Loop
Read about one company's efforts to install a mobile data management system to give customers up-to-date shipping info.
Posted Aug 3, 2000
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When it comes to tough competition, the trucking industry arguably sets the standard. The need to lower costs and increase services fuels the industry's competitive nature--as well as the people who work in it. More and more, industries are turning to mobile communications solutions to find an edge, and the trucking industry is no different.

Burlington Motor Carriers (BMC) transports goods across the United states, Canada and Mexico. As a leading truckload carrier, the company concentrates on long-haul, regional and dedicated operations, in addition to single source, third-party logistics, drop lots and private fleet management.

The dual meaning of BMC's motto, "Quality Driven," is clearly not wasted on Ralph Arthur, the company's president. "The first meaning is that our equipment is being operated by quality, professional drivers," states Arthur. "The second meaning is that our company is driven by the quest for quality. We want zero defects. We want to do everything right the first time."

To accomplish this goal and gain an edge over other carriers, BMC has begun to install Qualcomm's OmniTRACS mobile information management system units in each of the company's vehicles. By installing the OmniTRACS system, BMC will be able to provide customers with up-to-date information regarding the status of the load, including the driver's current location and estimated time of arrival via the system's two-way mobile communications, satellite tracking and fleet management software.

The OmniTRACS system is made up of three main elements: integrated mobile hardware, network management services and application software. The integrated mobile hardware, which will be installed in each of BMC's more than 2,000 trucks, includes the Integrated Mobile Communications Terminal (IMCT) consisting of two hardware pieces that reside on the vehicle.

Network management services are controlled through Qualcomm's Network Management Center (NMC), based in San Diego. The NMC is the network hub and processes more than 4 million messages and position reports per day for various OmniTRACS clients. The application software manages the flow of data and puts it to use for the client. With this software, BMC can not only track data but also monitor performance and maintenance schedules as well as state mileage reporting and drivers' e-mails.

Through the OmniTRACS system, every vehicle in Burlington's fleet is linked to its dispatch center. OmniTRACS will allow Burlington's dispatchers to maintain continuous two-way communications with vehicles and drivers 24 hours a day, with no gaps in coverage. Additionally, Qualcomm's Automatic Satellite Position Reporting (QASPR) uses satellite triangulation to provide accurate vehicle location.

"Mobile communications have changed the way the transportation industry does business by providing cost-effective solutions that improve efficiency and productivity," says George Dunn, vice president of domestic sales for Qualcomm's wireless business solutions. "For more than 12 years, we've strived to offer the best service possible as the leader in mobile communications systems."

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