U-Freight, the international freight and logistics services group which lays claim to being the first freight forwarder to offer its customers a tracking facility via its Website back in 1995, is rolling out a new system which will provide customers with real time information about shipment delivery.
The information is reaching customers through their Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The PDA is currently hosted on a Palm Pilot computer but there is the option to use mobile phones in the future.
The system has been successfully tested by U-Freight Hong Kong for the updating of inbound POA (Proof of Arrival) and POD (Proof of Delivery) information. In addition to Hong Kong the system is now being launched in the USA and mainland China and will eventually be extended throughout U-Freight’s international network over the next 18 months.
To provide access to the system, U-Freight chose Symbol Technologies systems using a Palm OS platform. This includes a scanner that allows users to collect data by scanning barcodes, and then use the ‘Hot Sync’ application to pass this data back to a computer.
Once the data is scanned onto the Palm PDA, it is then put onto the Symbol Technologies SPT1500 cradle which serves as a data communications device enabling the information to be synchronized onto an SPT1500 terminal and the Palm Desktop software using HotSync technology. With customized or third-party software it can also be used to synchronize an SPT terminal with corporate databases and other host computers.
U-Freight Hong Kong is testing the uploading of PDA data using mobile phones with infra-red scanners. This could prove vital, especially when the delivery location is a considerable distance from the U-Freight coordination office.
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