Distributing ready mix concrete is a complex business. It’s short shelf life of less than two hours depends on firm delivery deadlines. But last-minute order changes, truck or mixer mechanical issues, weather or traffic conditions, and other unplanned situations can eat away at profit margins and customer satisfaction. That’s why real-time, reliable communications between drivers and dispatch is critical.
Deploying a Push-to-Talk over cellular solution that seamlessly integrated with their existing Samsung tablets with reliable mounting hardware made it easy for Irving Materials, Inc. (IMI) to improve their communication system, increase efficiency and productivity, reduce downtime and delays, and track and confirm deliveries to meet their customers’ unique construction needs.
About Irving Materials, Inc.
Irving Materials, Inc., a privately held, family-owned corporation with more than 4,000 employees produces building materials and delivers ready-mix concrete to a multi-service area that includes Indiana, Kentucky, southwestern Ohio, southeastern Illinois, middle Tennessee, and northern Alabama. The company’s origins began in 1946 when C.C. “Skunk” Irving began delivering ready-mix concrete in Greenfield, Indiana.
“In this industry, we constantly have to think about switching our tablets when newer models come out. Some of ours are approaching 5 years old now. We know GPS is an early adopter, ahead of the game as tablets come out, that’s where we’re confident they will exceed.” -Irving Materials Inc.
IMI employs a large team of inhouse and contract drivers that deliver ready-mix concrete to a wide geographic area that spans multiple states throughout the Midwest. They originally relied on UHF/VHF radios in their cabs to communicate with dispatchers until 2016, when they began looking for a more permanent truck automation solution that included tablets. They thought they found a full-proof solution with a manufacturer of rugged and versatile mounting solutions that would help them charge ahead into the future. But charging, quite literally became a problem—one of many:
- Connectivity woes. From the beginning, IMI experienced issues with charger reliability. Their tablets needed to run all day, but they found themselves constantly having to charge them because the products did not fit tight in the mounts. Unexplained voltage spikes also occurred.
- Volume hassles. Being able to hear loud and clear was another complaint that IMI’s drivers often expressed. In addition, the speaker and mic weren’t separate, so drivers had 3 or 4 different buttons to deal with, causing confusion as to which button to push to talk.
- Support spikes. The calls for support and troubleshooting increased when drivers had difficulties logging jobs because their batteries or radios were dying.
- Adjustability snags. The ability to adjust their current mounting solutions to accommodate future generations of tablet sizes wasn’t feasible.
- Security worries. Drivers didn’t feel confident leaving their devices in their trucks without a secure, lockable or portable option, leaving their communications investment to chance.
In the summer of 2017, after banging their heads trying to resolve the inadequacies of their current mounting and communications systems, and before reverting to UHF as a last desperate solution, IMI finally pulled the plug when they found GPSLockbox.
“The fact that Jack is available by phone, and we still have that, even after the sale was made. It just felt good doing business with them.” -Irving Materials Inc.
GPSLockbox Co-Founder Jack Dovey personally reached out to IMI, made a site visit, invited them to tour his facility, and the rest as they say is history. Once IMI implemented GPSLockbox PTT mounted solutions, they quickly realized the benefits.
- Staying connected was no longer an issue. The GPSLockbox patented magnetic charging system that, unlike traditional connectors, won’t disconnect from road or vehicle vibrations, and the tablets sit securely in the cradle.
- Hearing and speaking eased communications with the GPSLockbox
- Simple volume knob and separate mic and speaker modules, both connected to the tablet.
- Training their fleets how to use the GPSLockbox system took less than a day with its intuitive user-friendly functionality. Support calls and complaints were replaced with positive feedback.
- Protecting the fleets’ tablet and the company’s investment with the GPSLockbox
- Secure locking mechanism, drivers can leave their device
- In the vehicle, or use the convenient key lock to quickly remove the tablet and take it with them.
- Need more information on how our product helps? Eliminating paper delivery receipts is also a plus. With the GPSLockbox solution, IMI drivers no longer had to print delivery tickets. Proof of delivery is instant, reducing paper, and saving money. They no longer have to buy and maintain ticket printers.
- Collaborating on specific needs for IMI, GPSLockbox was able to solve two priorities that were also made available to all their customers. First, IMI needed a quick solution to prevent the tablet connector from being exposed to moisture. Done in two days. HOW? Second, IMI mounts their tablets in landscape form, GPSLockbox was able to create a solution to offer reliable charging in a horizontal or vertical position.
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