Food Logistics

OCT 2014

Food Logistics serves the entire food supply chain industry with targeted content for manufacturers, retailers, and distributors.

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20 OCTOBER 2014 • FOOD LOGISTICS Proof of delivery is one of several vehicle man- agement tools Merchants Foodservice is using, says Granlund. The company is also looking into Thermo King's temperature control system to monitor trailer temperatures. It also has been looking at introducing Lytx Inc.'s Drivecam, a camera placed in the windshield that allows management to review driver activity and provide feedback to improve driving habits. PFG is testing a proof of delivery sent via email rather than with paper which it hopes to deploy in 2015, says PFG's Seekins. In many cases, cus- tomers want proof of delivery sent to more than one party, such as the company headquarters or a franchise organization. The email notification is easier to send to multiple recipients. "That handheld device becomes the driver's connection," he says. "Accuracy of invoice is a big problem in food distribution," agrees Mike Lee, CEO of Airclic. Airclic's cloud-based fleet management solutions track transactions in real time and integrate with enterprise applications, such as ERPs, and trans- portation management and warehouse manage- ment systems. "If you don't have an automated solution, you just can't keep track of what's going on through the course of the day," Lee says. Where distributors used to invest in technology to improve efficiencies, Lee says they are now being driven by customers to enhance supply chain visi- bility. "The customer is driving those investments," he says. Real-time visibility is being included in some companies' requests for propsosal. Fleet management capabilities expand to meet new demands The second major fleet management goal for foodservice distributors is being able to direct a driver's mandatory work flow, Lee says. The tech- nology is helpful because the work flow will vary from one customer to another, and it can even vary by the individual product being delivered. For some products, for instance, it is neces- sary for a driver to take the temperature at the point of delivery. "That becomes part of the electronic record," Lee says. Mandatory work flow is also important for managing some of the materials a driver handles, such as expen- sive pallets, freezer bags and titanium racks, Lee says. Still another consid- eration in foodservice is managing "catch weights." A customer might order 10 pounds of salmon. "It's impracti- cal to suggest they're going to get exactly 10 pounds of fish," Lee says. When the bulk salmon is packaged at the DC, the actual weight might be differ- ent than the ordered weight. The real-time invoice allows the driver to charge the customer the exact weight of the delivered package at the time of delivery. The software also provides the driver a map of where everything is in their truck, saving them time at the stop looking for packages, Lee says. This "trailer mapping" software instructs the loader at the DC where to put the product in the truck and the driver will have this available on the handheld. Telematics-based solutions improve driver performance Kirkwood, N.Y.-based Willow Run Foods, an employee-owned company with a fleet of 84 tractors and 118 trailers serving restaurants such as Wendy's, Arby's, Quiznos, and Pop- eye's in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, improved the visibility of its operations with the help of a Cadec telematics-based fleet manage- ment solution. The company uses an activity-based compen- sation plan that pays drivers on a number of vari- ables, including percentage of on-time deliveries, cases delivered, miles driven, number of stops and idling time, says Len Basso, vice president of operations. This type of compensation system requires insight into driver behavior and data. Cadec's open architecture, Saas-based solution, called PowerVue, ties in to Willow Run Foods' internal system which allows for management of multiple operations from a single interface, says Basso. "To manage a fleet well, just having an onboard computer isn't enough," he says. Cadec's fleet management solution has also helped Willow Run Foods deploy compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled vehicles, Basso notes. The company powers 15 of its 84 tractor trailers with CNG. "PowerVue is tracking fuel mileage for both types (diesel and CNG) to help us assess if it makes sense to add more CNG vehicles to our fleet in the future," says Basso. "With Pow- erVue, we have the ability to separate the data of the CNG and diesel vehicles, enabling us to track the differences between the two types of fuel." Alternative fuels attracting foodservice distributors Willow Run Foods is one of several distribu- tors embracing alternative fuels as a way to operate more sustainably. "We wanted to be environmentally respon- sible," says Dan Kindle, at Monarch Beverage Co., an Indianapolis, Ind.-based beer and wine distributor. In addition, he believes the CNG will be more economical due to the lower cost of natural gas compared to diesel and the state and federal credits. Three quarters of the com- pany's vehicles – a total of 95 trucks – will use CNG by the end of the year, he says. Chain restaurants are often interested in alternative fuels as part of their sustainability initiatives, but not all distributors are finding it an easy choice, given the costs involved. PFG, A driver confirms delivery with Airclic's ePOD using a Motorola handheld.

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