Panasonic delivers latest rugged tablet and docking solution to technology-leading online supermarket Ocado
The world’s largest dedicated online grocery supermarket, Ocado is a vast, unique fulfilment and logistics machine powered by research and technology. To build its pioneering business, Ocado has designed its own proprietary solutions from scratch to specifically meet the needs of its customers. So when it wanted to refresh the technology used by the delivery drivers at the heart of its mobile operation, it turned to longstanding partner Panasonic for its latest Toughpad tablet and custom designed in-vehicle docking solution.
With the current Panasonic handhelds used by Ocado reaching end of life, the business was looking for a new rugged device that could meet its customer-focused requirements both today and into the future. In addition, both the device and its vehicle dock needed to be robust enough to stand-up to the busy schedule of Ocado’s 2,000 strong fleet, which runs 6 days a week, up to 16 hours each day.
“The previous Panasonic devices had served us well and we had no hesitation in partnering with Panasonic for this new roll-out,” said Dave Wood, Implementation Development Manager, at Ocado. “But the timescales were challenging. In just 9 months we needed to choose the device, rewrite our software applications to run on the new tablets and have new specialist vehicle docks designed to house the devices in the fleet’s cabs.”
Ocado chose the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet. The rugged, Microsoft Windows-based device with a 7-inch screen is particularly suited as a more flexible and capable replacement for ageing rugged PDA devices in business sectors such as logistics, transportation and retail.
“The tablet is at the heart of our delivery operation,” explained Dave. “It provides the driver with the most effective satellite navigation route for their deliveries, then tells them which products to take out to deliver to the customer. As the groceries are delivered, they are scanned and recorded using the device’s integrated barcode scanner and confirmation of delivery is also taken. In addition, the Panasonic Toughpad tablet also receives vital telemetry information from the vehicle, such as the temperature in the chilling area of the vans.
“The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet was chosen because it is faster, with more processing power than its predecessor, has a bigger and more visual screen for the drivers, is less bulky for carrying but still rugged enough to cope with our workload.”
Alongside the device choice, another critical factor in the decision to work with Panasonic was the need for a lightweight but hardwearing docking solution for securing the new Panasonic Toughpad devices in the vehicles when driving.
The vehicle docking stations had to be durable to cope with anything up to 50 insertions per day, yet be slim and lightweight, and modular for simple right- and left-hand-drive vehicle installation. They also needed to be compact enough to fit into the standard radio space of a commercial vehicle.
Panasonic ProServices’ specialist team of engineers worked with its CAD designers and manufacturing partners to create a new vehicle docking station to meet the unique needs of Ocado.
“The design process was very impressive because we were able to input our ideas to Panasonic and see the design process at every stage,” said Dave. “Panasonic’s understanding of our business and deployments for specialist fleets meant that we had a purpose designed and fully safety approved vehicle dock for the new Toughpad tablets in just nine months.”
With positive feedback from its drivers, Ocado is today rolling out the new Panasonic Toughpad tablets and docks across its fleet of vehicles to help maintain its record for industry beating efficiency and award winning customer service.
The fully rugged Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 sets the new benchmark for outdoor tablets making it ideal for field workforces in challenging environments. With its capacitive 10-finger multi-touch outdoor display and flexible configurations (integrated business expansion module), this Windows 8.1 Pro tablet has been designed to optimise the efficiency of field workers. It benefits from various connectivity options to ensure data is always available when needed and gives business users the legacy options they require in a compact, fully rugged and lightweight form factor. Never before has so much flexibility and performance been packed into such a compact, durable tablet with such great outdoor viewing capability.
Panasonic ProServices offers customised solutions to maximise the power of Toughbook or Toughpad devices, allowing your mobile workforce to realise ultimate productivity anywhere, at any time and without interruption.
The ProServices offering puts you in control whereby you can:
- Engineer your perfect Toughbook solution
- Customise it to your needs in terms of hardware, software, auxiliary devices and accessories
- Be supported every step of the way throughout the process
- Protect your investment with unparalleled data and asset security management, extended warranty and buyback options.
Panasonic ProServices takes the ground-breaking technology, design, manufacturing and support used to create Toughbook and Toughpad devices, and uses them to craft the ultimate tool for your business, creating your perfect bespoke solution with the power to transform the productivity of your workforce.