Privately owned and operated Oak Harbor Freight Lines has over a century of experience in the less-than-truckload (LTL) delivery business. The company is based in Auburn, WA and runs 800 tractors and 2,400 trailers across five western states including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Nevada. With uniformed professional drivers and a corporate-wide focus to serve the customer, Oak Harbor was seeking a highly-capable handheld device to address the mobile needs of its workforce.
Previously, Oak Harbor used a fixed-mount computer/ display terminal inside the truck’s cab, limiting the tasks a driver could perform on the road, outside of the cab and on-location at pick-ups and deliveries. When the company initiated its extensive route optimization project to streamline operations and data capture, the stationary setup was a priority update that needed to be made.
Founded in 1916, Oak Harbor Freight Lines has specialized in the less-than-truckload (LTL) delivery business for over a century. Today, the company is based in Auburn, WA and runs 800 tractors and 2,400 trailers across five western states. With the goal of ensuring efficiency while preparing to meet operational demands of the future, Oak Harbor Freight Lines was looking for a technology solution that could help achieve both.
Working with Panasonic to identify a reliable handheld device, Oak Harbor Freight Lines found that the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® T1 offered the flexibility and durability that drivers need when capturing and accessing information on-the-go—all while aligning with the company’s roadmap for the future.
Oak Harbor Freight Lines was able to initiate an extensive route optimization project by deploying 800 TOUGHBOOK® T1 handheld devices to its drivers. The project is ultimately helping the company improve efficiencies, increase productivity, enhance customer service and achieve cost-savings.
Oak Harbor first considered deploying a consumer-grade device, however after comparing consumer devices with the enterprise-grade technology and support provided by Panasonic, Oak Harbor chose enterprise-grade for its ability to perform under adverse conditions and withstand daily usage for the long-term. Once this decision was made, Oak Harbor worked closely with Panasonic to identify which TOUGHBOOK rugged mobile device aligned not only with the drivers’ day-to-day needs, but also the company’s roadmap for future innovation. Panasonic’s TOUGHBOOK T1 was chosen for its standout features and functionalities, as well as its compact, slim design.
The TOUGHBOOK T1’s built-in barcode reader eased the scanning process of shipments as they went through the repetitive nature of loading and unloading at each terminal, enabling drivers to streamline their work. Additionally, the device’s camera gave drivers the ability to capture and document shipments in-transit, helping to appropriately track and share updates with the customer. At the same time, the multi-touch screen enabled proofof-delivery signature capture through work gloves or a stylus, and could function in varying climates and weather conditions. The device’s 5-inch size also fit perfectly into each driver’s shirt or pant pocket, making it compatible to fit the company’s uniform and small enough not to encumber his or her work. Each of these features, combined with the applications housed on the device, contributed to helping Oak Harbor add greater efficiency to its workflows, and increased visibility into the status and condition of each shipment being delivered.
In terms of software, the TOUGHBOOK T1 handhelds are powered by an Android™ operating system, allowing the IT team to onboard intuitive applications to capture hours of service and manage routes. The hours of service application helped the company meet ELD regulatory requirements for different types of drivers, such as long-haul drivers who, by law, cannot drive more than 10 hours a day or commercial drivers who cannot go beyond 100 miles of their base terminal. Additionally, with the TOUGHBOOK T1, Oak Harbor was able to onboard another application that could optimize routes based on the order of stops that were most efficient while displaying ETA for both the driver and customer, providing timely delivery notifications, creating tables of data and more.
To date, a total of 800 TOUGHBOOK T1s have been deployed by Oak Harbor, helping the company achieve goals put forth when embarking on its route optimization project. Looking ahead, Oak Harbor is aiming to bring even more technological support and innovation to its fleet of drivers, and Panasonic will be there to support any future deployments.