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In-vehicle Connectivity Solution Fuels Mirabito Success

September 2021
3 min read

Barcoding, Inc., develops a secondary level of connectivity for Mirabito Holdings, Inc., to reduce potential lost revenue and increase customer service.

Background

Headquartered in Binghamton, New York, Mirabito Holdings, Inc. (Mirabito) is a full-service energy provider servicing families and businesses throughout upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Mirabito operates 101 retail convenience stores as well as a retail delivery fleet of 95 vehicles in addition to offering a variety of products, including heating oil, propane, natural gas, coal, gasoline, diesel fuels, and kerosene.

Challenges

Previously, Mirabito’s delivery fleet had a technical setup that utilized outdated hardware equipment and handheld devices. The existing hardware could not be used with the newer equipment and the devices were limited because the main office could not communicate with the device once the driver left the building in the morning until they returned at night. The lack of communication was a disadvantage because if a dispatcher needed to add a delivery on a specific driver’s route, the driver would have to either come back to the office to download the data into the device, or the driver would have to go out and deliver to the additional customer and manually record the delivery and data. This caused fragmented documentation and was susceptible to errors.

“We were constrained to hardware that had device ports that couldn’t tie into our equipment on the truck and we wanted to get away from that. We wanted to put in one piece of equipment that could connect everything- the serial devices, the older serial device technology that runs the pumps on the truck and the register as well as have the ability to implement new technology in the future,” explained Eric M. Bunts, chief information officer (CIO), Mirabito Holdings, Inc.

Bunts was looking to turn Mirabito’s fleet of 95 vehicles into virtual mobile offices by implementing a new intruck delivery system that would provide and run on real-time data. The company also required a system that would make the truck device independent and was capable of doing both wireless communication and had ports that could tie in older serial equipment and bring the data directly to the network.

Solutions

Having previously worked with Barcoding, Inc., the leader in supply chain efficiency, accuracy, and connectivity, to design and implement an in-store connectivity solution, Mirabito felt confident they could assist in developing an in-vehicle solution.

Barcoding, Inc. equipped Mirabito’s trucks with Cradlepoint COR IBR1100 Series Routers and implemented Panorama Antennas to manage each of the devices remotely. The router and antennas work seamlessly with a system of devices including durable handheld computers, tablets and cell phones, various mounts as well as printers.

Similar to the in-store solution, there were a lot of components of the system that we required that had not been done before. Barcoding was able to find the right hardware that was going to be able to sustain a mobile environment as well as find durable equipment at a low cost to build out the entire product mix and have it work together as one holistic solution.
― Eric M. Bunts, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Mirabito Holdings, Inc.

Results

By deploying the solution in each truck and having the mobile network in place, Mirabito now has around-the-clock communication with its administrative and delivery staff, improved billing efficiencies and increased data accuracy while also increasing employee and customer satisfaction.

“Our communication structure is 100 percent enhanced due to our new wireless environment. It has greatly impacted our overall efficiency, customer relations and employee relations because for the first time, our employees who for the longest time felt segmented from our home office, now have direct lines of communication and feel a part of our interior corporate network,” Bunts explained.

The solution has also created billing and receivable efficiencies. Previously, Mirabito was unable to fully digitize deliveries or capture customers’ electronic signatures, which resulted in the need for billing information to be recorded manually on paper and then mailed out. Now with the digital network, Mirabito is able to reduce billing time from three days to four hours and reduce mailing costs by more than $65,000 per year.

We’ve been able to fully digitize our deliveries and have complete access to accurate information that’s synced in real-time. Previously the drivers would make a delivery, they would manually document it- some information would be digital while other parts would be in paper form, which would have to be mailed back to the home office- before Mirabito could bill the customer. This process took multiple days, cost $65,000 per year in mailing and was prone to human error. Our drivers can now send the data back to the home office as soon as he/she completes the delivery and we can bill the customer directly.
― Eric M. Bunts, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Mirabito Holdings, Inc.

As a result of increased connectivity, Mirabito is able to better serve its customers while saving time and resources by providing a more connected workflow.

Bunts concluded, “We strive to make our drivers more efficient, accurate and connected. This solution enables them to have a constant data flow between their truck and headquarters, which ultimately makes it easier on them to be able to get the route done faster and gives them an opportunity to service additional customers. We’re not only improving our employees’ experience, but also our customers’ experience as well as their overall customer satisfaction. It’s definitely a win-win for everybody.”