23 May 2019

Manchester, UK. 23rd May 2019: Anytime Express Transport (AET) select EPOD system from Manchester-based TouchStar Technologies


Anytime Express Transport is a rapidly expanding specialist transport company providing services for a diverse number of industries. The company focus is on adding value through expert and on-time product delivery.

The company’s origins began with AET’s Fleet Manager Paul Hurwood. Paul had many years’ experience of working for third party hauliers before taking the plunge and establishing AET in 2014.  

With its publicly declared focus on ‘on-time delivery’ the company maintains a policy of continuous improvement regarding delivery performance and is constantly refining, and investing in, new systems and processes. This search for a ‘best of breed’ delivery and tracking system led the AET management team to examine the PODStar system from Manchester-based TouchStar Technologies. AET rapidly reached the conclusion that the Touchstar solution offered the full required functionality when compared to alternative systems.  

AET run a combination of their own delivery vehicles supplemented by a number of independent service providers. The in-house fleet comprises 25 long wheel-based Sprinter vans. AET drivers are equipped with Android smart phones, whilst third party drivers have a combination of Android and iPhone devices. With this in mind, one of the key system requirements was to have a front-end application that ran equally well on both android and iOS operating systems. The PODStar system is browser-based which means that it is entirely ‘OS neutral’.    

The Cloud-based PODStar system offers a 'Planning and Optimisation' tool that automates existing manual processes. The PODStar system has been fully integrated with AET’s existing sales order processing systems, via CSV file transfer. Once a job manifest has been created it is then automatically sent out to the drivers remotely in the field. To further enhance the efficiency, jobs and route are displayed on a map saving AET fuel and time on the road. Once downloaded the driver can receive their jobs and complete in real time. AET delivery drivers are equipped with smart phones with the handheld device used for both proof of delivery / signature capture and tracking of the driver and vehicle location.

Back at the AET headquarters, management can view a real-time update on a map showing the fleet position as well as additional data and the job status and driver performance. Touchstar are constantly enhancing the PODStar software functionality and AET make heavy use of the system’s latest ‘waiting time’ feature. This field is contained within the system’s job status web page and enables management to specify an anticipated waiting time for a job and to determine, in real-time, when this has been exceeded. This information can be useful to resolve dispute scenarios where a driver has met his allocated delivery slot but is made to wait unnecessarily by the client.

With regard to their vehicle fleet, AET take their responsibilities in the area of employee and public safety very seriously. Drivers are using their smartphones to carry out their daily vehicle checks. In the event of a discrepancy being recorded the driver is forced by PODstar to take a photo of the defect and record notes.  All defected items are immediately emailed to the Fleet Manager ensuring that remedial work is scheduled without delay.  

Nicola Webb (AET Commercial Director) comments: "We had the PODStar system installed initially in our Middlesex HQ. We’ve subsequently expanded our business to cover the north of the UK and have established offices and a warehouse in Manchester. Our rapid growth saw an exponential growth in paperwork which was a nightmare until the new system enabled us to effectively go paperless. The Middlesex implementation went exceedingly well and the Touchstar system will shortly be rolled out to Manchester so that our entire organisation can accrue the benefits.”

Nicola Webb concludes: “We’re delighted that Touchstar’s professionalism extends beyond the product itself, right through to the installation and support aspects of the project. Overall we're very pleased with the system and, as we continue to expand, we look forward to continuing our relationship with TouchStar."