On the right track

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To provide fleet management services between volcanic mountain chains, the Pacific coast, and tropical rainforests, the Guatemalan software specialist Control y Monitoreo is optimizing - in partnership with Tramigo and Deutsche Telekom - food producer Alimentos’s logistics processes.

Latin America is on the move, as is demonstrated by the development of transportation infrastructure in Guatemala. At the turn of the millennium a mere 30 percent of the country’s roads were paved; today the figure is around 60 percent. To explore the country of the Mayan civilization you need to travel on far fewer rough and unsurfaced roads than a few years ago. Ultimately, the logistics industry and retailers who ship their goods to the cities of the highlands or export goods such as coffee beans, bananas, and sugar cane also benefit.

One such enterprise is the food producer Alimentos S.A. Founded in 1965, it has grown into one of the main producers and distributors of food and beverages in Central America. With a fleet of 300 trucks the company supplies over 50,000 customers. They include supermarkets and general stores, but also public institutions such as schools. To ensure that the goods reach their destinations swiftly and safely, Alimentos S.A. uses a machine-to-machine solution (M2M). System integrator and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider Control y Monitoreo has equipped all of the company’s trucks and trailers with Telekom partner Tramigo’s T23 tracker.

Monitoring the fleet in real time

The solution created by the cooperation between Control y Monitoreo, Deutsche Telekom and Tramigo records vehicle data such as speed and location continuously and transmits the data to the company’s dispatchers by mobile network. Alimentos S.A. is thereby able to check precisely where vehicles and goods are at any time. “The solution has enabled us to reduce operational running costs considerably,” says Ivan Solano Roca, Logistics & Security Manager at Alimentos. “Optimized routes save us time and fuel and enable us to reduce CO2 emissions.” Even in a case of theft the cargo can be tracked and found with the assistance of the police. Thanks to a custom-made feature, the vehicle’s owner can even switch off the engine remotely.

To make fleet management as simple as possible for customers like Alimentos, Control y Monitoreo runs a control center that operates round the clock. The service provider developed the management software itself and was looking for a suitable hardware platform and mobile data services. National borders presented a challenge. Central America is not a large area and trucks from Guatemala regularly cross the borders with Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador. “We tested many GPS devices and many telecommunications providers in the region,” the company’s Chairman Luis Toledo and CEO Luis Hernandez recall. “The result was clear. Tramigo and Deutsche Telekom provide us with the most precise service in the region.”

On the road and in coffee plantations

In addition to the Tramigo device’s precision, its small size, long battery life, and versatility played an important part. The T23 has five ports with which Control y Monitoreo is able to implement customer-specific requirements.If, for example, a thermometer is attached to one of the ports, the device can measure the ambient temperature and relay the data by mobile network. This versatility makes it interesting for use in off-road application scenarios. A customized Control y Monitoreo solution is in use at a mining operation in Chile. Furthermore, the Guatemalan company has developed on the basis of the T23 a connected irrigation solution for coffee plantations and sugar cane cultivation. Control y Monitoreo’s mainstay continues, however, to be the logistics sector, which in Central America is still in its early days. We expect third-party logistics service providers to establish themselves in Central America in the next five years,” says Luis Toledo. Until now, regional producers have transported their goods mainly by means of their own vehicle fleets. “Thanks to Tramigo and Deutsche Telekom we are already able to offer fleet management as a full service to both manufacturers and forwarders in Central America and other parts of the world.”