Magazine Article | October 25, 2008

Increase Efficiency With Real-Time Delivery Tracking

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, November 2008

Schnucks Markets is a regional grocery chain that supplies its product to 103 stores in seven states using a fleet of more than 100 delivery trucks. With trucks often carrying perishable inventory, it is important for Schnucks to have an effective measure in place to track its shipments and ensure the product arrives at the appropriate end location in a timely manner.

Schnucks has been using GPS technology to collect tracking data for some time, but until recently, dispatchers manually recorded deliveries and planned route changes. Questions and updates required dispatchers to call the drivers multiple times per day. These manual processes left Schnucks vulnerable to instances of human error.

Schnucks turned to Agilis Systems for a customized fleet management solution. Each driver is given a truck-mounted, GPS-enabled mobile phone that provides dispatch with each driver's real-time location. Mobile Resource Management software from Agilis enables integrated Web-based dispatching, work order management, routing, and automated call-ahead services.

Rather than dealing with paperwork, drivers now download their scheduled stops and route information onto their phones at the beginning of each shift. Dispatchers follow drivers' progress on a Web map and can capture delivery information and provide updates on the fly. If emergency situations occur — such as bad weather, traffic conditions, or urgent customer requests — the dispatcher can quickly make adjustments and automatically alert the drivers. After each stop a driver makes, the next Schnucks store on the route is notified by an automated call to prepare for delivery, which reduces driver idle time while waiting for the store to prepare.

Decrease Idle Time, Reduce Fuel Expenses
Since implementing the Agilis solution, Schnucks has been able to increase route efficiency and decrease costs. For instance, Schnucks has decreased idle time for each delivery by 16%, thereby reducing expensive fuel consumption. The decrease in idle time of drivers waiting to deliver at the store location has allowed each driver to make an additional delivery per shift. The dispatcher's ability to manage the routes in real time has decreased time that was previously wasted on traffic jams and weather delays, and dispatchers can now prioritize customer needs and respond quickly by sending the nearest available driver.