25 July 2022

James D Bilsland – investing in mobile computing technology to optimise delivery and boost customer service.  

About James D Bilsland

James D Bilsland is a family-driven fuel and lubricants distributor with a customer-focussed ethos at the heart of its operation. James D Bilsland was set up in 1964, operating just one lorry delivering tractor diesel and vaporising oil to local farmers. It has grown to become one of the leading operators in the oil and gas industry supplying fuels and lubricants to Scotland and the North of England.

The company provide a one-stop-shop for fuel distribution, heating and tank servicing across the domestic and agricultural sector. The range of fuel types includes bottled gas, kerosene, gas oil, derv, LPG bulk gas, coal and wood pellets. The operation continues to grow from strength to strength through the acquisition of Andrew Grays Fuels, and now has over 50 employed staff across the workforce and a fleet of modern tankers serving a loyal client base.

The relationship

The company maintains a long-standing relationship with TouchStar. This established relationship, together with the recommendation from Bilslands’ software provider, Fuelsoft, led to an initial installation of TouchStar Windows-based ‘Hawk’ units which have been operating successfully for many years. TouchStar is known for its pragmatic business solutions and mobile computing technology has eliminated handwritten paperwork, made vital time efficiencies, automated key processes, and helped make the entire delivery operation far smoother.

James D Bilsland senior management are keen that the company maintains it’s investment in the latest technology and a decision was taken to migrate the entire vehicle fleet from Windows to Android-based devices. The advent of Android has dramatically improved the functionality of mobile devices.  It is an open system and has now been adopted on a large scale.  The system is continually evolving and, as a widely used and accepted Operating System, Android also issues regular security patch updates which are tested, implemented, and rolled out to the devices. Touchstar has invested heavily in the development of a range of mobile and in-cab devices that operate under the Android platform.  

The business challenge  

Touchstar Android mobile computing devices will be installed across Bilsland depots as part of a roll out commencing in August 2022.  By the end of 2022, the company is aiming to have TouchStar technology within its entire fuel fleet.

The company is also intending to make extensive use of the new Touchstar ‘Mapping Console’ module. The Mapping Console matches the wealth of client and order information contained within the Touchstar ‘FuelStar’ front-end application with GPS technology to provide accurate real-time data on the geographical positioning of vehicles and LOB (Load on Board) status. A full historical audit trail of any time period is visible and specific filters can be applied to assist with easy and logical interpretation of the data e.g. identification of vehicles closest to a particular Address/Postcode/Town/POI or the advanced filtering of vehicles carrying specific products. The available information can be utilised to optimise delivery processes. For example, ‘expected LOB’ data can be used to re-purpose the LOB to different deliveries.  

System benefits

Personnel across the Bilsland organisation have already witnessed a wealth of benefits following the installation of the TouchStar systems:

  • Keeping operations COVID-19 safe - TouchStar technology negates the need for fleet drivers to enter the office, enabling the company to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing measures while operating safely.
  • Improved company-wide communication - The interlinked computer system facilitates real-time two-way data between the front-end mobile terminals and the back-end fleet management and accounts packages. This streamlined communication provides a far more seamless operation for both Bisland and its client base.
  • Better visibility – Improved visibility and tracking of order progress and status.
  • Greater flexibility – The TouchStar system provides real-time ‘left on board data’ which enables an urgent delivery / sudden orders to be prioritised and scheduled, aiding workflow, boosting customer service and facilitating reactive flexibility.
  • Reduced administrative resources – having multiple systems which communicate with each other has vastly improved daily business operations and reduced paperwork
  • User-friendly systems – The large display and user-friendly interface of the Touchstar mobile computers allows easy operation by drivers of varying ages and safeguards the investment for the future.

Big benefits have also been realised around proof of delivery and customer invoicing activities. The automated system now involves a full audit trail, removes previously hand-written paperwork and makes for significant time efficiencies to be made, massively boosting productivity.

The TouchStar technology has enabled James D Bilsland to be able to focus on customer service and continue to provide the seamless delivery of fuel within this service-based industry.