Brave New World

Brave New World

2017 – Bigger, Better, Smarter

When a business grows as rapidly and impressively as Gleeson & Cox did early in the 21st century, it presents opportunities to develop in new and exciting directions. In the beginning everything was done on paper, but with the fleet size and driver roster ever increasing, new technology needed to be adopted in order to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, with high levels of standards and compliance.

The brave new world began in 2007, when the company started with a system called Jobplus. Terry ‘Turtle’ Marshall, who has been with the company for 24 years, says about the advancement, “Within a week it was rocking – from pen and paper to computer.” And just like that, a technological revolution began.

As with any great story, there are always some roadblocks. The company quickly outgrew their new transport management system (TMS), meaning they needed to find another onethat could handle the requirements of such a large and fast-paced organisation. After some trial and error, Gleeson & Cox came up with an innovative solution – building their own TMS.

The journey began with Gleeson & Cox’s tablet-based application for drivers – DriverApp – which was developed in-house in 2013. It is the driver’s daily source of job and site information. Before a job begins, the site is visited by a site co-ordinator to be photographed and mapped to create driver information sheets. These are uploaded to the truck driver’s tablet, so when they start a job a driver can Google link their location, sight exploratory information and see the view driving down the road before they enter a job. Information flows back and forth to the truck in real time from dispatch, keeping both ends up to date and informed.

“The work that the company has recently completed on the tablet system is unbelievable: You just push a button and it shows up on the truck! It’s a major advance and has been running for three years – it’s a very simple system to use.”

– Terry ‘Turtle’ Marshall

Following the success of the DriverApp, Gleeson & Cox began designing and developing their TMS called JAWS, named after their longest serving driver, Jimmy ‘Jaws’ Stancliffe. It was the brainchild of the company’s Project Manager, Paul Holdom, and developed specifically for the requirements of the company with input from all those that would be using it. It was not an easy task to undertake, with the project starting in 2015 and in its final stages of development today, but one that has been hugely beneficial for all those involved. It has increased productivity and has taken out the guesswork of managing trucks and drivers for dispatch.

The permit management system is an integral part of JAWS and the DriverApp. In Auckland, it’s possible to have 20 routes and 20 individual HPMV (High Productivity Motor Vehicles) permits, and a driver must present the permits on the day. The app performs a calculation based on the gross vehicle weight, number of axles and the route, which saves time and reduces the potential for error – getting the right vehicle, with the right permit, on the right route. Instead of driving around with piles of paper in the cab, all that information is available to the driver in an instant through their tablet.

“Developing JAWS and the DriverApp has been a huge technological advancement for the company – It’s smart but simple.”

– Paul Holdom

Getting used to expanding their horizons, Gleeson & Cox went in another brave new direction in 2014. Gleeson Civil was launched to fill a perceived gap in the market and supplement work for the growing transport fleet. Finding key staff and culminating 30 items of plant under the civil division, ranging from excavators to bulldozers, has allowed the company to experience success in their new endeavour.

For being such a fresh face in the industry, Gleeson Civil is already picking up projects of significance all over the city. This has worked out well for Gleeson & Cox in many ways, as in just three years Gleeson Civil has worked its way into the top five customers of the company, giving them the opportunity to feed their own trucks.

“We’ve now got control of chasing work, rather than being a customer to the civil guys.”

– James Gleeson