trans-o-flex is facing a generation change. The provider of logistic services is going to invest around € 5 million to purchase 4,350 new handheld computers. The new devices serve as hand-held scanners in sorting or as delivery computers on which the recipients sign. “The immense progress in IT makes the new devices faster, more stable, more fail-safe, smaller and easier to handle and maintain than their predecessors”, says Wolfgang P. Albeck, CEO of trans-o-flex. “Since we are also switching to a new operating system, we are investing not only in hardware but also in the reprogramming of the software.”
This is why the new generation of devices is introduced gradually. The first step is the introduction of the approximately 800 hall scanners, which already began in December 2017 and should be finished by the end of this month. The more extensive programming of the delivery computers started at the same time. Once this has been completed, the delivery computers are tested in a depot under real conditions. These mobile computers control all of the logistic processes on the last mile. “In the deport, for example, they provide the drivers with an overview of their tour’s shipments, announce the next stop on the tour and indicate special features of the shipment, such as cash on delivery or hazardous goods. And recipients also use them for signing for receipt of their parcels”, continues Albeck. The first drivers are to receive the new touch computers in early 2019. A total of 3,000 handhelds will be procured for the drivers at trans-o-flex and 550 for those of ThermoMed in Germany and Austria.
The new devices look like a smartphone, but are much more robust. For example, the TC56 from Zebra Technologies, which was selected after extensive tests, still functions even after being dropped into water or onto a concrete floor from a height of more than one metre. “However, the main reason for this system migration is that we no longer want to use Windows mobile as operating system but Android”, explains Albeck. “The choice of devices is much wider and we can use state-of-the-art technology and develop optimized processes.” For examples, if problems should occur, drivers can now be quickly and easily supported via remote diagnosis directly on the device. New updates are also available via remote maintenance. With the previous generation of devices, extensive updates had to be installed in the office.