Trade Resources Logistics & Customs The Uptake of The Infolink Operator and Fleet Management System Has Dramatically Increased

The Uptake of The Infolink Operator and Fleet Management System Has Dramatically Increased

Many of Australia's and the world's best known logistics, manufacturing and distribution companies are taking advantage of the latest hosted software solutions as a means of gaining greater efficiencies in areas as diverse as accounting, e-commerce and materials handling. Nearly every process that used to reside on a company's internal servers can now be accessed via a hosted cloud provider.

According to Crown Equipment, this is certainly true in the area of materials handling, where the uptake of its InfoLink operator and fleet management system has dramatically increased since moving the service to the cloud in January 2013.

General manager marketing of Insite and Technology Asia Pacific at Crown Equipment Greg Facer believes one reason for users embracing the cloud is that today's software, such as InfoLink, is now so sophisticated, and capable of delivering such vast amounts of meaningful data, that companies would have to commit large IT budgets to upgrading their internal servers if they wanted to run these software solutions in-house.

"When Crown launched the original InfoLink version back in March, 2007, it was a real game-changer," Mr Face said. "It was the first vertically integrated real-time monitoring and reporting system available to the industry.

"By comparison, the latest version of InfoLink now has more functionality and customisation options, and that is why we have decided it was time to move it to the cloud as a hosted solution.

In the six years since InfoLink was launched Crown has worked closely with its customers, its research and development team and software developers to make the solution faster, easier to use, and capable of delivering business and operational intelligence tailored for specific users.

"The original InfoLink was primarily about operator safety, operator and vehicle performance, and equipment condition reporting. Today's InfoLink is still based on those aspects, but adds a whole new layer of functionality specific to the needs of managers, supervisors, maintenance staff and operators," said Mr Facer.

The real-time data and fast processing capability of InfoLink makes it a powerful decision-making tool. To avoid data-overload, Crown has designed customisable dashboards tailored to the needs of individual users. For managers with a vested interest in compliance, their top-level view can be of truck access and pre-shift inspections, supported by comprehensive documentation. Operational managers may choose to set alerts for incidents such as impacts, truck usage, or shift performance comparisons. Alternatively, fleet managers can have a real-time view of equipment status, fuel usage and maintenance requirements so that they can make better informed decisions about their current or any future fleet.

InfoLink can now also be applied throughout a facility, capable of being fitted to not just Crown trucks, but electric and IC trucks from other manufacturers, as well as a range of stationary equipment such as cardboard bailers.

Technically, InfoLink has been developed to be both robust and secure. InfoLink requires a user name and password for data access. Operator access is managed via either keypad codes or ID cards, with managers able to control permissions for individuals or groups. InfoLink is designed to be 'forward-compatible', supporting existing and future wireless local area networks (WLAN). It is compliant with Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and supports a range of common security encryption protocols.

"Just a couple of years ago Crown began talking about efficiencies beyond the truck, and InfoLink is a concrete example of what we meant. It is the combination of mechanically and ergonomically designed and manufactured trucks, with the in-house developed software and hardware that can be fitted to them, that is giving companies far greater insight into operational, maintenance, compliance and financial planning data. It delivers meaningful business intelligence that is allowing companies to operate more safely, move goods more economically, plan maintenance more practically and make better business decisions for more profitable results," Mr Facer said.

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