The economic downturn that impacted on South Africa over the last five years has forced many companies to reconsider how their fleets are managed, says software developer Dariel Solutions MD Malcolm Rabson.
He notes that most companies use road transport, as it is the cost-effective way to transport freight to destinations in South Africa and the rest of the African continent.
“Currently, there are still major challenges in the industry such as continued petrol price hikes and the newly launched e-toll system, in Gauteng. What is clear is that some costs can be reduced, while others will need to be budgeted for. As such, the management of freight for the fleet industry is fundamental,” Rabson states.
He adds Dariel Solutions identified the bottlenecks that had hindered accurate documentation of freight transportation and developed the Weighbridge solution (WBX), which is linked to the back-end of fleet management to not only track the vehicles but also eliminate fraud, increase productivity and allow for smoother processes to be implemented.
“WBX is a proudly South African solution and was developed in 2009,” he enthuses.
Rabson notes that WBX allows for the instant electronic monitoring of fleets and the goods that are transported.
“The system can easily be integrated into existing software, and with other weighbridges anywhere in the country, using the Internet. Previously fleets were tracked manually, but technological advancements now allow for fleets to be tracked in real-time, eliminating any irregularities during the process,” he points out.
“The advantage of customised software is that the system can be changed and modified to suit the user’s specific fleet requirements. Business processes are always changing and WBX adapts with the changes that occur in the business,” he explains.
Rabson adds that Dariel Solutions has extensive expertise in the mining, logistics and manufacturing industries and that WBX has all the features needed to meet the requirements of the receiving and dispatch processes concerning weighbridge goods in these industries.
“Therefore, it should come as no surprise that WBX is used widely in South Africa in several sectors such as mining and food distribution chains. The system is ideally suited to companies that have large fleets of vehicles and undertake the receiving and dispatching of goods.”
Since its commercial availability in 2009, WBX has exceeded Dariel Solutions’ sales expectations, says Rabson.
Overcoming Industry Challenges
Rabson says fraud is a major challenge in the industry, as enterprise resource planning management (ERPM) systems are not directly connected to weighbridges, resulting in up to 70% of exceptions, such as goods not matching the orders.
“Most current systems are not flexible enough to deal with such variances, delaying the logistical process, as the goods need to be physically accounted for or checked by slow, outdated computer systems.
“Managing freight for the fleet industry is fundamental not only to maintain a competitive advantage but also to increase the profitability of an organisation and reduce fraudulent activity. As goods can sometimes be in transit on the road for days, it is essential to ensure that they are managed correctly,” he emphasises.
To deal with these challenges, Rabson states that the WBX system functions as a link between ERPMs and weighbridge systems.
“The system matches the order to the goods being delivered, but it can also identify exceptions, such as discrepancies among orders and the actual tonnage variances in the scales of the weighbridge,” he states, emphasising that one of the main objectives of WBX is to eliminate fleet fraud.
Moreover, Rabson notes that WBX can be directly integrated into closed-circuit television (CCTV), which enables managers to monitor the CCTV footage.
“The CCTV footage can also be intelligently searched and tagged with transaction data from WBX and integrated into all major ERPMs, systems applications and products and java development environments. Ultimately, the system allows for direct integration into the client’s systems for seamless transfer of shipment data and transactions.”
Rabson adds that WBX captures all the necessary information, which creates for a strong audit trail and the supervisory management of exceptions.