Fleet mobility technology provider PeopleNet recognized three trucking companies and a large private fleet as innovators for using its technology to streamline operations, reduce costs and downtime, run greener fleets and more. Among the winners are a national supermarket chain that found a way to prepare its stores better for deliveries and a Canadian freight hauler that's retaining more drivers after automating driver pay requests.
The dinner took place Tuesday evening, Aug. 25, at PeopleNet's annual User Conference in Phoenix. The awards are given in four categories: fleets of fewer than 100 trucks, 100-500 trucks, more than 500 trucks and Canadian fleets.
PHOTO GALLERY: If the silence in the conference resort's hallways the next morning was any indication, the dinner's entertainment and after-party featuring Vegas act Recycled Percussion were quite a hit. Click to view photos
The Canadian awardee, Grimshaw Trucking of Edmonton, Alberta, saved some $88,000 using PeopleNet technology to simplify an onerous process, according to Randy Boyles, PeopleNet's senior vice president of mobile strategy. Boyles described the paper pay requests Grimshaw, which has 234 trucks, formerly used with its drivers.
"A paper trip ticket was completed by each driver and entered into the dispatch system by a clerk. Once entered, the request went back to a dispatcher for approval," he said. "Even with the double approval, data entry errors prevailed."
Grimshaw automated the process, and drivers now complete a form in their trucks that gets entered directly into the company's system. "Drivers tend to be very accurate when entering data concerning their pay," Boyles quipped, "and as a result, a $48,000 clerical position has been eliminated." Grimshaw's drivers are now happier with a quicker, more accurate workflow, he noted, "and those happier drivers have led to a 50% reduction in turnover for the last 10 months," saving the company some $40,000 in onboarding costs.
With 79 trucks, Leawood, KS-based fuel hauler Star Transport was awarded in the Tier I category. "They've implemented a fuel conservation program that in a single year elevated their fleet-wide fuel economy from 6.02 mpg to 6.56," Boyles said. That translated to savings for the fleet of $250,000 over that time, according to PeopleNet.
In addition, "scorecards tailored to their drivers have provided coaching that's reduced long idling and over-speed events quite significantly" for Star, Boyles noted. "A bonus program and improved communications with drivers have also dramatically increased driver retention."
The Tier II winner, Quickway Carriers of Nashville, TN, primarily needed to address "idle time in general and long idle in particular," said Boyles. In 2011, the company set and met a goal of reducing long idling time on its 461 trucks from 15% to 5%, according to PeopleNet, and has decreased that figure every year since 2012.
"Since 2013, they've been blowing away their long-idle goals year after year," Boyles told the audience. "They did this by utilizing myriad PeopleNet reports which provide driver scorecards and feed weekly recaps that are distributed to all managers, bi-monthly driver rankings, driver tier breakdowns, terminal rankings and a driver watch list."
The Kroger Co., which is headquartered in Cincinnati and operates more than 2,600 grocery retail stores in 34 states, drew interest for an innovative workflow addition it plans to implement for all its stores and 1,150 trucks. "From the very beginning, this company has worked with PeopleNet to produce creative solutions such as a custom workflow that helped them move groceries across our nation," Boyles said.
The company now uses an automated voice message system that delivers a notice when a truck reaches a certain distance to the store where it's making its delivery. "This past year, they took another innovative step by introducing an automated voice portal," Boyles explained. "Triggered by a 2.5-mi. automated workflow approaching 'geofence,' they send a voice message to the receiving store's customer service line.
"The message reads, 'This is your transportation department. You have a delivery approaching. Please go and open your dock doors and prepare for the arrival of the driver. Thank you,'" he continued. A pilot test of the message system involving 350 trucks, 600 drivers and 400 stores has resulted in a reduction of 1,000 hours of dwell time — and savings of $38,000 — per week for the fleet.
"Because of the documented success of this project, it will be rolled out at remaining locations over the rest of this year and into the next," Boyles said.