McLane Pilot Program Tests Hand-Held Computers for Drivers

Distribution giant McLane Company Inc. is wrapping up a pilot program that equipped its truck drivers with handheld computers to speed up pickup and delivery notification, as well as help design better routes. The project was developed and managed by computer maker Symbol Technologies along with XATA Corp., software provider Cotelligent, communications provider Qualcomm and IBM. Some 1,050 McLane

Distribution giant McLane Company Inc. is wrapping up a pilot program that equipped its truck drivers with handheld computers to speed up pickup and delivery notification, as well as help design better routes. The project was developed and managed by computer maker Symbol Technologies along with XATA Corp., software provider Cotelligent, communications provider Qualcomm and IBM. Some 1,050 McLane delivery trucks and 17 national distribution centers were equipped with Symbol’s SPT 1740 handheld computer, Symbol’s MG+ mobile gateway (an on-board communications system) and Symbol's Spectrum 24(R) 11 Mbps High Rate Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). The systems allowed the McLane drivers to transmit and receive data from anywhere on the road. For example, a truck’s contents and exact whereabouts could be immediately traced, thereby streamlining the pickup and delivery process “This project, which will migrate our operations to a paperless process, gives our customers streamlined delivery that will help them enhance productivity and customer service,” said David Dillon, McLane’s manager of transportation. “We will be able to offer our customers improved services vital to their growth, such as a quicker return on credits and speedier deliveries.”

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