The electronic logging device (ELD) Rule has changed the way many fleets have to operate — and not just operations consisting of over-the-road 18 wheelers. Petrey Novelty Inc., a direct store delivery (DSD) merchandiser operating in 33 states, runs a fleet that doesn’t fit the typical model, but found itself in a situation where it needed to be ELD compliant.
“Our trucks do have DOT numbers so we had to keep paper logs on the vehicles,” says Scott Rayburn, Inside Operations Manager for Petrey Novelty Inc. The company’s drivers have been keeping paper logs for the past five or six years.
The fleet of 49 box trucks and full-size vans service all of the Circle K convenience stores in the U.S. In some cases, driver territories may cover several states. Rayburn needed to find an electronic solution to handle drivers’ logs to comply with the new regulations.
What added to the challenge was that drivers take their vehicles home at the end of the day, often using them as their personal vehicles during off hours. Therefore, monitoring the personal use of company vehicles was also important.
“We just couldn’t see how much was company time and how much was personal time,” explains Rayburn. “We allow drivers to service stores in the order they thought was best, and didn’t know if that was efficient. We were blind to a lot of the drivers’ activities, and really didn’t know if we were losing $1 million a year in wasted fuel charges or other inefficiencies.”
The solution for Petrey Novelty Inc. came from a familiar source. Their provider of distribution software for about 20 years, had recommended telematics, and the Geotab solution in particular.
“Once the ELD Rule was finalized and the date announced, the first thing we asked was ‘we know that Geotab can track vehicles, are they doing the Hours of Service module as well?’ And Baus said, ‘Absolutely.’ So that was an easy in for us right there to start using Geotab.”
But Rayburn says that having an ELD capability wasn’t the deciding reason to commit to Geotab’s solution. The combination of Hours of Service (HOS) plus vehicle tracking was a persuading factor. “We had definitely wanted vehicle tracking, mileage between stops, that type of thing for a long time,” say Rayburn.
Petrey Novelty Inc. saw a number of benefits since implementing the Geotab solution ahead of the ELD Rule.
Rayburn says that the HOS module, Geotab Cloud ELD with Geotab Drive, allowed him to keep better tabs on his drivers’ hours and tighten up the operation — particularly when it came to personal use.
“It was a real eye-opener for us on how many violations we were getting alerted to and how much of this was tied to personal use,” he says.
While having more accurate logs was an important win in keeping the fleet in compliance with the ELD Rule, there are other aspects of it that have been beneficial to Rayburn and the Petrey Novelty Inc. team.
“The pre-trip and post-trip inspection reports have been invaluable,” he says. “We’ve got some of the reporting turned on for hard-braking, speeding, that type of thing. We’re utilizing the email reports where we get a recap of the mileage, the violations, etc. They go out to management every day.”
Rayburn says that he’s been able to tighten up maintenance windows, and make sure the vehicles remain in tip-top shape — which was tougher prior to implementing Geotab, because Petrey Novelty Inc.’s driver-employees are spread out across the country. Now he has better ability to keep tabs on when a vehicle should be headed into the shop.
Having access to the day-to-day activities of the drivers has helped the entire enterprise be more efficient and profitable. The Geotab solution allows Rayburn to “slice and dice” data related to all of the sales activities — both behind the wheel and in stores — to get a better view on company productivity.
By looking at sales against driving time, fuel charge and sales commision, Rayburn could build “a mini profit and loss statement per driver per day.”
Real-time visibility assists the management process and supports employee accountability. Before Geotab, drivers would transmit their sales at night, which would then be plotted and compared to vehicle trips, a process that lagged 24 hours behind.
Rayburn says, “Now we can log-in anytime and see where the driver is and we can drill down to the very store that he’s at right now if we chose to do that. So that was big for us.”
Rayburn continues to work closely with the Geotab Authorized Reseller to develop new applications using the Geotab Software Development Kit (SDK) and application programming interface (API). The Reseller handles the programming. They currently use Geotab telematics data in conjunction with their sales data to calculate driving cost per mile and profit per stop based on the time spent in the stores (which is also pulled from MyGeotab).
When the company first implemented the Geotab Cloud ELD, Rayburn says that Baus added an API that immediately made it even more efficient.
“The first thing Baus did was import our customer list and they built a nice, little interface to that so I could get all the customers set in zones in the Geotab map,” says Rayburn.
This refinement hasn’t stopped. Rayburn is working with Baus on a new application.
“We’re looking to try to get some of the inspection stuff in from the Hours of Service module, that’s one of the things we’re working on with our Reseller right now,” Rayburn says.
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“The pre- and post-trip inspections that the Hours of Service logs are giving was a good way for us to keep up with tires, windshields, windshield wipers to make sure that the vehicle maintenance is up-to-date.”
— Scott Rayburn, Inside Operations Manager, Petrey Novelty Inc.
Types of vehicles:
Box trucks, Vans