Going paperless to drive up driver efficiency Photo: Heckmann Water Resources

Going paperless to drive up driver efficiency

Two fleets that serve the oil & gas industry in different ways have made their operations more efficient to gain substantial cost savings by investing in info-tech solutions that reduce the amount of paperwork and calling in required of truck drivers.

Heckmann Water Resources (HWR) moves, treats, and disposes of the water used in the fracking process--  work which requires extensive compliance documentation.  Toward that end, rhe fleet worked with the Professional Services group of PeopleNet, a unit of Trimble’s International Transportation & Logistics Div.

HWR worked with PeopleNet to implement a high-efficiency, paperless operation to create workflows that thus far has:

·         Improved their customers’ efficiency by $1.4 million

·         Shrunk receivables aging from 120 days to 20 days

·         Eliminated $1200 a day in carrying costs

·         Improved driver safety.  

HWR noted that the new setup allowed it eliminate more than 700,000 pieces of paper for just one customer.

Mark Ridgley, Heckmann’s vpt of business technology, said that  PeopleNet’s Professional Services team designed customized work order forms that help HWR’s drivers complete any type of pickup or disposal work order without touching a single piece of paper.

He explained that the dispatch application sends work orders through the PeopleNet system, which walks the driver through all required information. The information entered by the driver is captured in the back-end system for accurate paperless invoicing. Drivers also capture customer signatures with PeopleNet’s Tablet mobile device to immediately initiate invoicing along with the required electronic documentation.

“PeopleNet has helped us standardize operations and given management visibility into each site’s operation,” said Ridgley. “They’ve helped us adapt the software for each region’s different laws. And integrating PeopleNet’s open platform with the company’s financial system and proprietary dispatch application has been key to becoming more efficient.”

By successfully petitioning to have electronic forms accepted as legal documentation, Heckmann eliminated handling five to six compliance forms and supporting work tickets on about 200 loads per day—savings that, according to Ridgley, are “a huge help for our customers, who no longer have to allot space for storing physical documents for years. It also saves the cost of forms purchased from the state. As we’ve become more efficient, HEKNet has become known for helping our customers become more efficient,” he added.

Blueknight Energy Partners, an oil and gas hauler, is also working to enhance its productivity. The fleet is using PeopleNet’s Crude Oil Workflow application, which is specifically customized for the crude oil industry, to optimize driver efficiency.

“Since the Crude Oil Workflow application is tied to our dispatch system, drivers no longer have to call all day long for load updates,” said Blueknight IT applications manager, W. Scott Morgan. “That’s a huge time-saver for us. Electronic tickets and invoicing ensure accuracy to save time and make it easier for our customers as well.”

The Crude Oil Workflow application consists of three core screens that walk the driver through a pickup and delivery: 

·         The custom Pickup Screen appears when a driver arrives at the first stop, with customer and load information pre-populated.  

·         The Delivery Screen appears when the driver arrives at a delivery location, and a timer automatically records the time spent unloading. After 60 minutes, the “Reason for Detention” and “Comments” fields are required.

·         A Rejection Screen is used when analysis of the oil reveals it is out of specification and cannot be hauled.

The PeopleNet application is working so well that Blueknight plans to extend it to its field services fleet of some 150 trucks that haul natural gas condensate, also known as “drip gas,” according to Morgan.

The Crude Oil application provides specific workflow events for drivers in that industry, noted Rick Ochsendorf, senior vp of operations for PeopleNet, “and the logic is right there on the device. Our big push in the oil and gas industry is to help our users enter accurate data.

“It all comes down to how you apply technology,” Ochsendorf told Fleet Owner.

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