Looking to create a more efficient tracking system for their fleet of 250 delivery trucks, Jasper Engines and Transmissions turned to Mertech Services. Within the year, Mertech had created an entirely new device, the Carputer, which Jasper could use to monitor their fleet and communicate with drivers. Now, Jasper saves on miles, logistics calculations, and time, allowing their fleet to function more effectively.
Mertech Services Provided
Monitoring Motor Part Deliveries
In 2007, Jasper Engines and Transmissions was searching for an innovative way to monitor its 250 truck delivery fleet and communicate with drivers. Staff at Jasper’s Indiana-based corporate headquarters had to page or wait for calls to receive updates on drivers’ location and progress, and the drivers themselves had no information on traffic or weather conditions en-route to their destination.
About Jasper Engines
Founded in 1942, Jasper Engines and Transmissions is the nation’s largest remanufacturer of gas and diesel engines, transmissions, differentials, rear axle assemblies, and other motor parts.
Wanting to create a more efficient system within the year, Jasper turned to Mertech Services. Having worked with the Mertech team in the past, Jasper knew Mertech would be able to create the system they needed on-time and within the company’s finite budget, despite the inherent challenges.
Handling the Demands of the Road
As the Mertech team searched for a solution to Jasper’s dilemma, two key problems presented themselves. The first was network capability. At the time, 3G was not widespread, which meant trucks traveling through rural areas might not be able to report their location. The varying temperatures of travel also threatened to disrupt the components in whatever tracking system Mertech created. With these constraints in mind, the Mertech team set out to create something truly unique that would stand up to a delivery fleet’s demands.
Enter the Carputer. Custom-designed by our team, the Carputer was built to withstand temperatures of 0-50°C (32-120°F). Typically, this kind of ruggedization had been found only in military devices, units that cost up to $2,500 per device. However, Mertech diligently researched and negotiated with suppliers to create a unit that cost less than $750, staying within Jasper’s budget and delivering a temperature tolerant device.
The finished Carputer consisted of a computer installed underneath drivers’ seats connected to dashboard-mounted screens and GPS/radio antennas. Essentially, Mertech had created an early version of a tablet, a powerful mobile device with the capabilities of a Windows desktop system. To handle the rural connectivity issue, Mertech piggy-backed on General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) networks, which are more reliable and accessible than 3G service alone, as well as less expensive to use.
More Efficient Deliveries and Data-Driven Reporting
With the Carputers installed in their fleet, Jasper’s central office can effectively monitor and report on almost all aspects of deliveries. For drivers, this means real-time route adjustments to avoid accidents and inclement weather, less time spent calling data in to the home office, and increased productivity. For management, it means easier compliance with interstate commerce laws (including using the Carputer to create detailed reports of the miles logged in each state), more efficient route planning, and less money spent on gas and travel fees.
Additionally, because the Carputer’s data overhead is so low, Jasper’s still reaping the benefit of using older, and cheaper, GPRS connections. Though the price of data has fallen significantly since 2007, the Carputer’s small, monthly 10 MB GPRS data transmissions are still saving Jasper money, as well as allowing for connectivity in the country’s last non-3G/LTE areas.
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