At the start of each day, delivery information is automatically downloaded to each driver's phone. Additional data are then collected throughout the day to track elements such as the number of cases per stop, length of each stop and product returns. "This information is a great resource for our sales force and customer service people," says McLeod. "Anyone can log onto the Internet for updates on deliveries and call the customer before they have to call into dispatch. Anywhere from 10 to 15 people log on and access information throughout the day."
Since Empire began working with Cube Route, McLeod reports that his company has achieved a significant return on investment. With access to real-time information, Empire has realized productivity gains and costs savings through fewer product returns, improved process management, reduction in the number of trucks used and better tracking of customer deliveries.
"Deliveries run a lot smoother now," says McLeod. "We feel we know a lot more about what we're doing. In the past, if a truck left full and came back empty, we didn't really know how much that was costing. We couldn't tell if redistributing routes over different days would make a difference."
Another benefit is improved accountability. "Now that we have access to more information on the road, I can set delivery standards in terms of per-hour service time and enforce driver accountability," he explains. "If a driver falls below the standard we can work on the problem, determine the issue and provide training if necessary."
Empire has also reduced its call center needs and improved customer responsiveness. Whereas a sales or customer service representative used to have to call the transportation department and leave a message to call the driver, delivery information is now accessible online. "No one has to wait for answers," McLeod says.
He adds that the detailed information provided by the system also enables Empire to look beyond day-to-day activities to examine all transportation processes and related costs down to a per-stop level. "We can accumulate information to examine patterns for each route by area, or look at all deliveries, over all days and all regions. This enables us to change our routing structure to better serve the areas needing greater support or to handle expanding needs.