In the old days, truck tracking was accomplished by the use of 10 codes. This depended upon the driver radioing the truck's status at regular intervals. Later, driver-initiated status devices were utilized, which reduced air time and increased reliability, as only a small increment of time was required. With the introduction of GPS, truck location can be ascertained with accuracy by the dispatcher. GPS also allows automatic transmission of location-based truck statuses, such as leaving and arriving at plants or jobsites by the establishment of geofences. Geofences are longitude- and latitude-based boundaries, generally trapezoidal in shape, around a plant or jobsite. Crossing these fences produces a status transmission including time, position, speed, direction and status.
Nonlocation-based statuses, such as Îbegin pourÌ, Îfinish pourÌ and Îwater addedÌ, require onboard devices such as drum-rotation sensors and water meters. Other significant data such as speeding, hard cornering and engine operation can be extracted from engine and chassis sensors. Together, these new technologies provide quick and accurate updates on what the truck is doing.
GPS and autostatusing with integrated mapping and more powerful computers are all vital to enable implementation of another new technology: computer-optimized distribution. Command Alkon's version of this technology is Commandoptimize, which constantly reevaluates the delivery plan and updates it every few minutes. It learns the travel and unloading times and adjusts accordingly using the data from GPS-enabled trucks. It constantly seeks the lowest-cost scenarios and displays the loading suggestions. Commandoptimize is triggered to reevaluate whenever an order, ticket or dispatch event occurs. Status data from the truck also initiates a plan revision. Of course, the dispatcher may also override the suggested load, which causes another reinitiating.
Commandoptimize enhances both the service and utilization component by determining the best way to schedule the day's business and then reacting to always-changing conditions. The Optimize program relates to dispatch as computer chess to manual chess Û the computer always wins and can think many moves ahead. It can quickly recalculate the optimum strategy when a piece moves, resources break down, or jobs change.
If the system is interfaced to a mapping program and the order's location is determined when entered, it can download an order's geolocation and geofence data plus a trip profile to the truck's GPS unit. This gives the truck a target and helps to monitor a vehicle's progress. If the mixer discharges in a location different from the target, the new location is transmitted back for future trucks to use. Deviations from this location or trip profile will generate a message to the dispatcher warning of a possible problem. A drum going into discharge while not within the geofence may indicate an unauthorized unloading spot or theft.