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Transport Bourassa is a leader in Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) deliveries. As Bourassa expanded, they wanted to streamline their warehouse operations by transitioning from paper to digital. They piloted three devices and chose the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK G1 fully rugged 10” Windows tablet for their forklift fleet. Key features like durability, reliability, and a high-quality camera drove the decision-making process. They knew their forklift drivers would need to operate the devices in tough conditions.

Equipped with Panasonic’s solution, forklift drivers could easily collaborate and complete tasks while providing visibility into operations. Ultimately, the devices helped to improve efficiencies in the warehouse.

Challenges

Transport Bourassa wanted to shift their operations to a real time fully integrated mobile solution for their Forklift operators. They needed to find a windows based device that would mount to their forklift fleet and withstand the environment of their warehouse.

Solutions

The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK G1 offered the durability, reliability and ideal features for Bourassa’s forklift solution to create better workflows in their warehouse. To streamline operations in their warehouse, Transport Bourassa strategically mounted 37 TOUGHBOOK G1 devices to their forklift fleet.

Results

As a result of Bourassa equipping their forklift drivers with industry leading tools, they are now enabled to complete tasks with ease and efficiency. Ultimately, increasing operational productivity, and achieving cost-savings.

Transforming the Warehouse Operations

In 2016, Transport Bourassa mounted a total of 37 Panasonic TOUGHBOOK G1 fully rugged tablets across their forklift fleet. Previously, Transport Bourassa used a paper based solution for tracking work on their warehouse floor. Forklift drivers would update load sheets regarding their activity and manually enter the information into the system, which would be subject to potential data entry errors. Considering the company completes about 1,000 orders per day from their warehouses, they realized the need for a more efficient trouble-free and accurate solution as the business continued to grow.

Each night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the forklift drivers would pick orders and stage the product in preparation for transport. The main objective for the forklift drivers in the warehouse is to pick the correct product and load trucks accurately and efficiently. As Bourassa expanded their operations and doubled their number of loading docks, they recognized the need to adopt a new method that would enable the dock supervisor to have visibility into activity on the warehouse floor and to provide the forklift drivers with a digital tool to streamline loading products for the purpose of increasing transparency and efficiency. The dock supervisor was unable to quickly identify loading status and coordinate with forklift drivers without relying on a paper trail. Meanwhile, forklift drivers needed to spend time navigating the large warehouse to provide supervisors with updates on the status of their loads.

To address these challenges, Bourassa began searching for a highly capable enterprise grade mobile device for their forklift fleet. In a three-month period, the Bourassa team tested three rugged mobile devices from different providers. When piloting the devices, Bourassa focused on a few key features.

The main consideration was durability because our employees work in a very challenging environment. There’s dust on the dock and humidity. Sometimes they are going outside, there is rain. The other one was the performance with the Wi-Fi.
Judith Bouthillier, Project Manager, Transport Bourassa

The Evaluation

  • Firstly, the right forklift mounted device needed to be tough enough to withstand the conditions of the shipping dock. “The main consideration was durability because our employees work in a very challenging environment. There’s dust on the dock and humidity. Sometimes they are going outside, there is rain,” said Judith Bouthillier, Project Manager, Bourassa. They were also looking for a device that could withstand the shock and vibration of being mounted on a forklift and being used by drivers who could potentially be wearing gloves.
  • Secondly, strong and reliable Wi-Fi performance was an important consideration. Forklift drivers use the devices in a large warehouse and if it the device wasn’t able to maintain a strong Wi-Fi connection and roam around the warehouse, it would dramatically slow down operations.
  • Lastly, there was a preference for devices with a high-quality camera and image viewing functionalities. Forklift drivers often need to review skid patterns and take pictures of the goods they are loading.

 

Driving Efficiencies with Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

Panasonic’s TOUGHBOOK G1 was chosen by Bourassa for their forklift fleet because of its standout features and functionalities. The device was tough enough to withstand the conditions of Bourassa’s warehouses including freezing temperatures, rain, snow, dirt and dust compared with competitor devices. The key considerations of durability, reliability, and notable features such as the camera were drivers of Bourassa’s decision-making process.

Panasonic worked closely with Bourassa to choose the right device and accompanying accessories to fit the short-term and long term needs of the business. The deployment experience of the TOUGHBOOK G1 device was seamless as the devices were easily configured with the Bourassa's software solution and the peripherals were designed to work well together with the TOUGHBOOK G1.

The transition to using a forklift mounted TOUGHBOOK G1 solution for managing loads, updating quantities and reporting any discrepancies was embraced by forklift drivers. They no longer needed to manage their work using tedious processes; instead, they were able to get up-and-running quickly with the G1, immediately realizing the benefits to their daily tasks and workload.

The TOUGHBOOK G1 is a collaborative tool for forklift drivers to coordinate and communicate with their supervisor. They can use the device to send messages and take pictures of loaded goods to provide supervisors with updates regarding their work. The planners in the office are able to send a skid pattern directly to each forklift driver’s device to provide instructions for their daily tasks.

The multi touch screen on the TOUGHBOOK G1 makes it easy for forklift drivers to utilize the device with dirty hands or while wearing gloves. Depending on their preference, forklift drivers can switch from a touch-screen mode to a stylus only mode, enabling them to continue their work with added comfort and precision even in the most difficult conditions. The TOUGHBOOK G1 also offers reliable wireless connectivity, both for strong Wi-Fi performance in Transport Bourassa’s large warehouse environment to ensure data is always available, and consistent Bluetooth connectivity with the tethered barcode scanners.

Each of these features contributes to greater efficiency of Bourassa’s workflows, and increased visibility into the status of each forklift drivers’ loads.

In terms of software, the TOUGHBOOK G1 is compatible with Bourassa’s internal software, integrating seamlessly and securely. “It went great because Panasonic TOUGHBOOK was compatible with our software. It was well-received by the employees on our dock because they were tired of doing tasks by paper,” said Judith Bouthillier, Project Manager, Bourassa. The software displays on each TOUGHBOOK G1 device the way forklift drivers expect which creates a stronger user experience.

We are a lot more efficient than we used to be and it’s been helping just about everybody on the dock.
Gabriel Belanger, Head Dispatcher for US Operations, Bourassa

Real Business Outcomes for Transport Bourassa

The 37 forklift mounted TOUGHBOOK G1 devices have effectively solved Bourassa’s business challenges in their warehouses in Quebec and met their objective - to increase efficiencies in their warehouse operations leading to increased worker productivity. The devices connect key personnel in the warehouse to allow for better lines of communication and status updates. The TOUGHBOOK G1 devices reduce back and forth between forklift drivers and their supervisors, helping forklift drivers complete their work independently. “We are a lot more efficient than we used to be and it’s been helping just about everybody on the dock,” said Gabriel Belanger, Head Dispatcher for US Operations, Bourassa.

Looking ahead, Bourassa will continue to drive efficiencies in their warehouse operations with the TOUGHBOOK G1 forklift mounted devices, offering their drivers innovative solutions and support.