At Eddie Stobart, Chief Information Officer John Court has been stepping on the analytics and business intelligence gas. Customer feedback confirms that investments in technology and process have been a key factor in the business securing several major new contracts outside its traditional consumer and retail strongholds.

Court and his team have completely replaced the fleet's in-vehicle and related comms infrastructure with a solution set that includes automated trailer identification and recognition. The capture of such trailer data as height and specification ensures that a vehicle has picked up the right asset, and influences route and loading. There are also online driver safety checks, and driver performance analysis with feedback and improvement advice via an app.

Each vehicle has a tablet – the drivers' "friend in the cab". Driver workflows are tailored to the specific sector and customer needs. The technology also lets Eddie Stobart capture more granular information from the vehicles – their exact location, how the driver is working with the vehicle, whether the vehicle is on schedule, and how it's tracking against plan.

Court's investments in AI are also beginning to bear fruit with the imminent introduction of dynamic, real-time support for transport network planning. The complex and diverse set of business rules, dynamics and constraints (road congestion, driver hours legislation, speed limits, customer service commitments, specialist equipment needs, etc) requires a specialist technology engine with layered algorithms and highly tuned performance to deliver the service target.

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