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As part of its widespread review of systems and infrastructure,  TPN has acquired 150 Panasonic ToughBooks with rugged Android A3 tablets, to replace the previous Windows 7 devices mounted in its forklifts. 

The tablets are crucial to Hub efficiency, as they display real-time information for the operators about the freight movements they need to carry out.

TPN’s IT Director, Rob Haigh said “The Panasonic device immediately stood out as different. It was a much more polished and complete package in terms of design and robustness.”

He says the products have to be virtually indestructible and he chose the Toughbook for its military-grade ruggedness. “In the past most damage to the old devices has been caused by the buckles on the seatbelts of the forklifts springing back when unclipped and smashing the device screen. We tested the Panasonic device by lassoing the device with the belt and there wasn’t a scratch.”

Another important factor in the choice of device was the large 10.5 inch screen and bright outdoor readable display, which enables the drivers to see quickly and easily which pallets must be moved next and where. Panasonic’s long-term and regular updates and support was another selling point. 

The upgrade is part of a wider strategy, as TPN implements a network-wide future-proofing review of systems and infrastructure. Three years ago TPN undertook a similar review to make its service totally resilient, and that focus on quality provision resulted in it being the only UK network which ran constantly throughout COVID and Brexit without any service interruption.

This successful strategy is now being repeated in order to maintain TPN’s sector-leading position and performance as the market changes and grows over the next five years.

The new forklift devices have been positively received by the drivers. The devices’ quickness and better connectivity saves drivers’ time and allows for increased productivity. Moreover, given Panasonic’s intuitive software, the drivers did not need any additional training to use them.

“Moving forward, we plan to extend the use of the devices for additional purposes at the hub, by undocking the devices from the forklifts and using them for supervisor checks, yard management and door control,” says Rob.

“Ultimately, we now have a solution that is ideal for our working environment and that we can rely upon to do the job, allowing us to concentrate on delivering and fast, transparent and competitive service to our customers.”

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