“We went live as planned on Dec 1st and so far all is going well. The support team appear very well organised and professional, which I must say gave me a lot of confidence as we approached the go-live date.”
The eDocketHQ app was developed by Hancock Queensland Plantations (HQP) to transform the legacy process of recording, reporting and invoicing wood deliveries from the forest to the sawmill.
The eDocketHQ app is used by HQP’s trucking contractors and replaces the paper carbon copy docket books used by truck drivers for each delivery.
The solution improves the docketing process for drivers by automating data capture which increases invoice accuracy and significantly improves cash-flow for HQP.
eDocketHQ is designed to work offline by default.
The lack of cellular coverage in forests required the app to be designed from the ground up for offline use while still performing most aspects of the business process:
- Once a user registers and performs an initial sync, they are able to work independently in areas with poor or no coverage;
- The app automatically handles unique and sequential docket ID’s across all users whether online or offline;
Updates to reference data and submission of docket updates and GPS data are handled intelligently;
- The app features a pending queue which keeps track of completed dockets and ensures they are sent when next online;
- The app is designed to maximise periods of connectivity (e.g. a patch of cellular coverage whilst driving); Firstly implementing a delta process to reduce data transfer size and secondly automating network checks to fire off “pending items” or request new data.
Health and Safety is an important consideration for HQP as they strive to improve the legacy business process involved in the haulage of wood.
The eDocketHQ solution has numerous safety features in the docketing process. The goal is to provide relevant information and guide the user to follow protocol and best practice:
- User Declaration that they are fit for duty for each shift;
- Daily notifications upon registration which inform all drivers on current information, instructions or hazards;
- Location based notifications, providing relevant information and alerts (e.g. a flooded access way, fire warnings) based on where each driver is working;
- 360 Checks are built into the docket creation process, enforcing drivers to check load weights against legal limits for their vehicle;
The operational process for haulage is complex. To transport timber products to their clients, HQP works with multiple haulage contractors, which employ and subcontract hundreds of drivers.
Some mobile devices used for the electronic docketing process are owned by the contractor firm, whilst some are provided by a third part telematics provider. Others are owned by drivers themselves. In some cases, these devices are fixed into the truck cab, whilst others are carried by the user. Whilst minimum guidelines are provided by HQP, devices can be phones or tablets, Android or iOS.
eDocketHQ was designed to allow flexibility in the operational management of the docketing process for HQP. For example:
- Whilst using a single code base, eDocketHQ is available to deploy on Android and iOS and across phone or tablet form factors;
- The solution allows a docket to be started on one device and completed on another device:
- This facilitates an important real-world scenario whereby a driver may load their truck at the end of the day and then park it at the depot overnight. The next day another driver with a different mobile device may begin their shift by delivering that load and completing that docket.
- In this scenario, the first driver can pause the delivery and allow a second driver with a different device to resume it. The app enforces docket accuracy, by only allowing the user the option to resume and complete the previous docket before they can create a new docket.
The eDocketHQ app leverages GPS to assist drivers in completing each docket form.
Using geofences, the app filters possible Regions, Harvest Areas or Compartments based on where the driver is actually located. The app either selects the only available option or may present the user with a short list to chose from, removing the need to scroll through hundreds of Compartments – which improves speed and data accuracy.
GPS waypoints are also captured during various stages of the docketing process to further assist with data accuracy and auditing:
- Confirm pickup point;
- Perform 360 Checks occur prior to accessing the public road network;
- Use of geofence of customer delivery site (e.g. sawmill), with a warning to the user if current location does not match the delivery address;
In addition to GPS, the app has been designed to include a number of features which save the driver time, whilst ensuring data accuracy.
- The docketing form uses cascading and conditional logic. For example, once a location is confirmed, the app automatically filters only possible and acceptable options for the rest of the form, such as the responsible harvest and loading contractors, the customer and product type. An override capability is available for drivers should they need to deal with an exception or issue.
- The app features a “Copy from Last Docket” feature, allowing drivers to save time when they are performing the same pickup/delivery multiple times during a day
The eDocketHQ app allows a driver to set a default tare for their truck. This data is saved within the app and automatically populated on each docket to calculate the net weight of the delivery.
The app manages the Tare update process to comply with HQP’s guidelines, providing a warning if the new Tare weight is out of an acceptable range and providing a notification to update a Tare weight on a scheduled basis
The eDocketHQ solution allows for split loads, whereby a driver may deliver 2 or 3 different products types in one load.
The driver adds up to 3 products when completing the docket form and then begins their delivery. Once they arrive at the customer site, they begin the weighbridge and offloading process. The driver adds the Gross, Tare (if no default tare) and Net Weights for each product. The app performs a check on the figures to reduce human error.
The app provides a Delivery summary view for drivers to review the dockets delivered with that REGO.
The Delivery Summary quickly shows a driver which dockets have synced or are pending, helping them decide if they need to get to an area of coverage to send them.
Selecting a docket in this view, provides the details of each docket, allowing a driver to keep track of their deliveries and work remotely with the contracting company or HQP to address any queries or issues arising
Back Office efficiency
The eDocketHQ solution includes a Tracking Portal, used by HQP’s head office and provided to HQP’s contractors and customers.
GPS collected from the eDocketHQ app is used to provide near real time tracking of all deliveries across the state.
HQP and their customers use this view to understand the current location of relevant trucks to help anticipate and plan for deliveries and traffic at the mill site.
The eDocketHQ app is used to address the complexity of collecting GPS data from each contracting company, as each may be using different tracking solutions for their fleet of trucks.
The eDocketHQ app features background GPS tracking which is linked to dockets and their current status. This information is visualised via a “tracking portal” allowing HQP and their customers to see deliveries across all contractors’ trucks regardless of their legacy fleet tracking solutions.
eDocketHQ was developed by HQP Plantations in Australia in partnership with Mobile Mentor, a mobile technology company in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.
The app was built using technology from BlinkMobile and Amazon Web Services.