On-the-road training for Rob Schuurbiers by carrier Peter Appel

‘A day in the truck, delivering to supermarkets has yielded a lot of useful information’

During his studies, Rob worked in an Albert Heijn supermarket in the weekends. On a Saturday in February, Rob had the chance to look at the same loading and unloading location. This time not from the perspective of the store, but from the truck. It gave him the chance to see how Simacan Control Tower is used in practice.

‘The day had a challenging early start: At 5.30 AM I left home and at 6.30 AM we began loading the truck.’

‘It was very interesting to see for myself how many actions a truck driver has to perform at the distribution center. In the daily operation, we notice at Simacan that sometimes the driver forgets to push a button in the truck cabin. A button that sends a signal to the Control Tower. I can now better appreciate why that happens.’

on board computer

The on-board computer in the truck.

Expected arrival time visible in supermarket

All store employees that Rob met, indicated how useful it is to know what time the trucks arrive at the store. Simacan has worked hard to make the arrival times in Simacan Control Tower even more accurate. After intensive testing in the beta environment, Rob was able to test the arrival times on the road from his own iPad.

‘A key test was seeing whether the new calculations were accurate enough. All that the old system did was: “okay, the driver has left with a ten minutes delay, then he will be arriving ten minutes late.” The new system recalculates the actual arrival time once a minute to see if the truck is still on schedule.’

Difference between planned and travelled time

‘The first trip differed more than half an hour from the planning. For a Saturday morning, the planned time was way too long. We only needed half an hour to get to our destination. Indeed, for that journey the planning really had a 50% variance.’

Simacan Control Tower on iPad

The arrival time is visible in Simacan Control Tower.

Room for improvement

Something unexpected also happened. When the driver and Rob arrived at the third store, they could not turn left because a double-parked car was blocking the way. ‘In a village street, and with such a truck, one cannot turn around.’ According to the application they were within 200 meters of the store and had thus arrived at their destination. In reality, they still had a detour of an entire block to go.

‘During the detour, we drove out of the geofence circle again. So, according to Simacan Control Tower, the truck was unloaded within two minutes and it departed again. Also, from that moment it was being calculated how much time it would cost to get to the next store. So – oddly enough – we were suddenly going to arrive at the next store one hour earlier than planned.’

‘The colleagues at Simacan, who were watching at a distance, immediately started brainstorming for ideas to solve this kind of situation. In the meantime, a solution has been implemented. With that in mind, it was a very useful day. A day that allowed us to make the product even better and easier to use.’