Voyageur, a revolutionary new on-board recording device which has just hit the marketplace, could save the transport industry millions of Rands worth of lost time. The product, which is locally developed, is the result of more than five years research by Johannesburg based Anglo Asian Trading Corporation, manufacturer of microcomputer systems and specialist in custom designed equipment.
One of the biggest advantages of Voyageur Is that data is gathered once and stored for 31 days – whether the trip takes one day or 31 days – with no human Intervention, explains Anglo Asian’s marketing manager Roland TIlman. “From our investigations Voyageur with its radio link stands alone in the SA marketplace because it requires no cables, no plug-in modules, no keys and no paper disks. The sealed tamper-proof unit has a Nicad backup battery, which is automatically recharged by the vehicle’s battery.”
Other on-board recording devices currently available on international and local markets, rely on one or more moving or removable parts or components, says TIlman. “Among other things stylus needles can be bent and foreign objects can be stuck into mechanical systems and cables are susceptible to being driven over, twisted, or caught in doors.”
Voyageur is the result of Anglo Asian Trading’s in-depth survey of the transport industry. For a start, the product had to be versatile enough to address the needs of both the transporters who specialise in the transport of goods for money and companies who are forced to provide transport to stay in business because they must deliver their goods to the end user.
The survey showed there was a need for an instrument which could provide up to forty different reports, five different formats of recorded data, 72 pieces of recorded data and 27 general built in features – such as door opening monitors, temperature monitor, demobiliser, anti-hijack, alpha numeric displays, and so on.
“On top of this we realised that, because of the ever changing needs of the market place we had to create an instrument that was programmable to the nth degree.” In this vein, the Voyageur is currently using only one half of its available storage capacity and can therefore be continuously developed to cater for changes in legislation, or whatever.
When developing the product, Anglo Asian’s aim was to produce a sophisticated recording device which would put management in the driving seat. The result was that Voyageur’s features include a visual display and an audible warning signal to tell the driver where he is going wrong. “If his bad driving habits persist, the errors are recorded in the computer,” says TIlman.
Another feature of the system is that it provides truck owners with a working tool to plan and re-plan journeys by enabling them to reschedule vehicles for non-peak periods, plot a different route and perhaps a different load. The system is extremely easy to use because it merely requires the driver to enter a simple code that allows the truck to be started. As soon as the code is accepted, the recording device is activated. At the end of the day when the truck returns to base the Information is downloaded by radio signal into a receiver. “The driver just pushes a button and in 11 seconds the complete information for that day, the whole week, or whatever, is downloaded into a receiver unit.”
The data reader, which is linked by radio to the recorder in the vehicle, is about the size of a telephone, typically attached to an IBM PC compatible printer in the manager’s office, which allows immediate debriefing of the driver. Voyageur readers can also be linked across distances via modem (8 device that enables digital computer signals to be transmitted utilising a telephone line) so that fleets can be controlled from a central situation to anywhere in the country.
Consequently any misdemeanors are highlighted there and then and management can save money by pin-pointing unscheduled trips and time wasting, thus enabling them to put the bite on employees and also eliminating bad driving techniques. “Exception reporting makes life easy for the manager and a special colour coded highlighting technique on reports makes it easy 10 track performance. “Coupled with this, reports can be produced in any language, he adds.
Interestingly, says TIlman, drivers do not resent the controls imposed by the Voyageur, far from, “A lot of companies are offering Incentive bonuses to those who perform well and they say this encourages a spirit of friendly competitiveness among their drivers” He adds that there was one case where a manager, who was convinced that a particular employee was a bad driver was proved wrong once Voyageur had been installed.
Voyageur is a very potent management tool for Improving a company’s productivity and profitability. With running costs of heavy-duty vehicles, savings per km, can represent a significant increase in margins and returns, giving a Voyageur equipped fleet a competitive edge in the market place.