Delivery firm mulls GPRS or CDMA

Domestic and international delivery company Fliway is tossing up between GPRS and CDMA mobile technology as it replaces radio links with its truck drivers and couriers.

Domestic and international delivery company Fliway is tossing up between GPRS and CDMA mobile technology as it replaces radio links with its truck drivers and couriers.

Fliway IT manager Stephen Olsen says the company uses mobile trunk radio links from mobile specialist Team Talk to upload scanned package barcodes into its Ubiquity track and trace system as well as to inform the 100 or so drivers about jobs. But it is looking for a wireless track and trace system to give it extra functionality to meet customer demands.

Fliway, a wholly New Zealand-owned business of four companies, was founded in Auckland in 1977. Olsen says the parcel or courier side of the business is handled by a joint venture with UPS, enabled by Fliway's distribution centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and regional warehouses. The main focus of the wireless initiative is the transport business, which delivers packages and bigger items such as electrical goods, televisions and computer equipment.

Items are scanned at various points such as pick-up, arrival at the warehouse, through to the delivery point, trucks, for instance, carrying a handheld device with scanner which connects to the trunk radio system. But the company wants the ability to not only scan and upload data at various points but to send pickup and delivery details to drivers through the same system using their handheld devices. Fliway also wants to be able to capture the signature of the person receiving the parcel.

The current system depends on drivers to download data; the new system will push/pull information out to them.

Olsen says because Fliway operates at the "high-value end" of the market in terms of what it ships around the country, it's critical that the company has tight controls and good reporting in place.

"We have a contract with one client to get proof of delivery on the website within four hours of delivery."

A proposals tender has been issued for new hardware (handheld devices with a built-in scanner) and software, for example, to provide consignment note forms for the track and trace system. Olsen says the new system will replace mobile trunk radio with either Telecom's CDMA-based or Vodafone's GPRS network.

Olsen says following proof of concept, implementation should start around August.

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