Sustainability Benefits with Huge ROI
Demonstrate leadership in the dairy processing industry’s sustainability by reducing consumption of fuel and paper
PeopleNet Fleet Manager, Vehicle Management, eDriver Logs®, Automated Workflow, Reporting and Automated Fuel Tax
HP Hood LLC is one of the country’s largest branded dairy operators, with approximately 4,500 employees operating its 17 manufacturing plants throughout the U.S. The company also handles its own product distribution with more than 350 power units, including 10-wheel straight trucks and tractor- trailer units.
As one of the nation’s leading dairy processors, HP Hood prides itself as an industry leader in all aspects including sustainability. The privately held company has joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. SmartWay’s collective goal is to reduce 33 to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide per year by 2012.
Hood began improving the environmental performance of its freight operations nearly five years ago when it began incrementally installing PeopleNet systems in its fleet. Today, 282 trucks are equipped with PeopleNet’s onboard computing and mobile communications system, helping the company make major strides in sustainability. Plans call for all 378 trucks be outfitted by 2012.
Professionalism, pride and PeopleNet
Senior Director of Environmental Health and Safety David Crowley has been a safety professional for 28 years, the past 10 with Hood. He believes there are two common links between his company’s successful sustainability efforts and its safety achievements—professional drivers and PeopleNet.
He explains, “Our fleet is a strong backbone of our company’s safety culture, reflected in an impeccable record with the DOT. Our drivers deserve much of the credit for our safety achievements. They are true professionals who have a lot of pride in what they do, which is why I believe they regard our partnership with PeopleNet so highly. It’s as if PeopleNet is a valuable co-worker helping them do their job better. They realize it helps them and their equipment work more efficiently, more safely and more sustainably. Bottom line for Hood is that PeopleNet makes us a better, more competitive company.”
The logistics manager for Hood’s Heluva Good division— often the guinea pig division—seconds the notion. Having been with the division for 14 years, Mike Berger is thrilled with the improvements that PeopleNet has generated. He says, “Vehicle Management data has helped my over-the- road drivers surpass an incredible 7 MPG (despite 2007 and newer engines)—a real badge of honor for them. The DSD group (direct store delivery), which has 12 six-wheel straight trucks, has improved MPG by 26 percent, getting up to 7.3 MPG. That’s terrific for city miles delivering to smaller restaurants and convenience stores.”
Performance and safety achievement go hand in hand for Heluva Good’s over-the-road group, which has won the company’s safety award for the past four years. “No doubt, PeopleNet has helped us with HOS compliance, speed monitoring and other performance indicators that contribute to safety.”
Mike also points out that PeopleNet has been critical in helping the fleet test other products that have generated sustainability results. He explains, “We’re big on proving that a purchase will generate ROI. PeopleNet data helped us prove in our auxiliary power unit and told us that super single tires gave us 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 mile more per gallon.”
PeopleNet helps Hood track each division’s actual performance—in this case MPG against a 12-month rolling average. The same type of reports track each driver’s individual performance as well.
Tools for better management
These fuel-savings results make it easy to understand why Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI) considers EOBRs one of the nine best practice tools that dairy-processor members should adopt. Hood is way ahead of the curve, with approximately two-thirds of its fleet installed with PeopleNet.
Crowley participates in driver training and quarterly meetings and explains how PeopleNet information is used to promote driving habits that not only generate fuel savings, but also helps the fleet achieve safety goals. “We use PeopleNet data to review driver performance in relation to management’s expectations for defensive, professional driving,” he says. “We pay particular attention to sudden accelerations and decelerations and overspeed—metrics that contribute to poor performance. When these indicators trend below expectations, we counsel drivers about how to use progressive shifting to avoid the need for high RPMs and superfluous fuel consumption. By the same token, the data indicates exceptional performance, which we recognize at these meetings as well.”
Drivers no longer have to wait for quarterly meetings to see how they’re doing, thanks to the new driver scorecard report provided by PeopleNet. Each month PeopleNet’s reporting platform generates the data for personal scorecards that tell the drivers how they’re doing. Heidi Henderson, Logistics Business Analyst explains, “We take the Vehicle Management indicators, weight the six primary indicators and graph each indicator. We literally create an individual picture that’s rolled up into a composite of all drivers in each terminal. All 13 terminals post a graphic display of their top performers’ results. The bottom performers may receive individual counseling at which time they actively participate in developing strategies for getting off this undesirable list.”
The monthly and quarterly scorecards have made drivers more mindful of avoiding sudden accelerations and decelerations, speeding, and other negative performance indicators. As a result, there is more dialogue between drivers and their managers about issues that affect their ranking. “It’s all about inviting specific feedback that gets to the heart of the story so issues can be addressed either by the driver or management—whether it’s excessive customer detention causing delays that compel a driver to make up time and speed to the next stop or a concern in the personal arena.”
In addition to the scorecards that run driver detail, other reports highlight driver performance progress and deterioration system-wide. The terminal-level report ranks drivers within the terminal; the companywide report compares the averages of each terminal with the company average for each indicator. There is also a separate monthly Vehicle Management report that tracks historical performance.
As for the terminal posting, Berger says of Heluva Good division, “A couple of my drivers are the first to beeline it to the monthly posting as soon as it goes up. There’s a tremendous effort to become a top performer, and they’re eager to see if their efforts paid off. It seems that there’s some healthy competition between drivers, and no one wants to be on the bottom.”
PeopleNet also generates a daily Vehicle Hardware report to make sure that the system is running properly: cell phone coverage, GPS location display, battery, odometer readings.
Henderson says, “If any line item has a “no” after it, you can bet the issue gets immediate attention until it is resolved.”
PeopleNet software integration ensures compliance, reduces paper, boosts productivity As Hood’s official DOT point of contact, Crowley explains, “eDriver Logs give us total confidence in our record keeping, while eliminating countless hours of shuffling paper logs. Drivers not only have a much easier time completing log entries, their record keeping is more accurate. We know we’re not paying for out-of-route miles.”
Berger captures his drivers’ view on electronic logs: “Many have told me that they couldn’t bear to be without their PeopleNet system. That’s how much easier it has made their lives, including pre- and post-trip submission and sign-off. It’s saving each driver 15-20 minutes each day. And with CSA 2010, drivers can rest easy that they will avoid HOS violations, and so can management.”
eDriver Logs actually accelerated Hood’s PeopleNet installation schedule. A comparison of audit times of equal numbers of paper logs against electronic logs revealed compelling results: paper logs took 1 1⁄2 weeks, while electronic logs took 1 1⁄2 hours. “The DOT has to love the time savings,” Crowley says.
Automated Fuel Tax has not only saved preparation time and fees, it has put a lid on mailing and storage costs, and errors and fines.
“Our fleet has saved $150 each month in mailing fees and reduced paper consumption from 14 bankers’ boxes per month to just one per quarter.”
-Heidi Henderson, Logistics and Business Analyst
By eliminating manual trip reports, PeopleNet’s Automated Fuel Tax has kept Hood’s reporting errors to a bare minimum. In fact, in an audit of the company’s New York fuel tax purchases, there was a mere .004% discrepancy on electronic reports compared with 4.5% for paper reports—over a 1,000 percent improvement. A fuel card for commercial pumps and a key for Hood’s pumps enable drivers to make a fuel purchase, and the cost and volume are automatically downloaded to Automated Fuel Tax.
Passionately pursuing compliance and safety, Hood is being proactive in its stance on cell phone use. “The handwriting is on the wall,” says Henderson. “More states in our prime East Coast market (Massachusetts and Connecticut) are following New York’s lead in banning cell phone use. FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) proposal for full elimination—even with Blue Tooth—has accelerated our adoption of PeopleNet’s PACOS Geofencing and Automated Messaging. Driven by an automated GPS system, there is little to no required telephone communication between drivers and dispatch. Change management—driver instruction and customer notification is automated and handled predominantly through electronic messaging.”
Integration between PeopleNet Automated Workflow and Hood’s back-office and payroll system has made it much easier for Logistics Manager Berger as well. “Now we have an automated payroll form. Instead of spending eight to nine hours per week filling in payroll information for 11 drivers in my terminal, it now takes me no more than one and one-half hours. Best of all, I know its right and validated data.” Multiply the savings for Hood’s other 12 terminals, and there’s a sizeable productivity boost.
Sustainability pays off on the bottom line
Since accepting a leadership role in SmartWay, Hood has turbo-charged its sustainability efforts across its entire supply chain—from cow to consumer in the company vernacular. PeopleNet has been a true partner in helping Hood achieve many of its laudable improvements.
Henderson explains, “PeopleNet is bringing us closer to a paperless environment. Our MPG progress is exceptional, and we’re reducing our cost per unit as well. Our integrated environment through PeopleNet and our back-office software is helping us increase our payload with the least amount of energy and waste. We continue to do cost/benefit analyses on our routes and deliveries with the data PeopleNet provides. We’re much better about shipping the right products from the right locations. We’ve learned that in some cases adding a second delivery to a customer may actually save 800 miles.”
Over the past five years since Hood installed its first PeopleNet onboard computer, there has been a convergence of many transportation-related trends and challenges. The price of fuel has seesawed with continued volatility. Grocery warehouses are increasingly more protective of their space, requiring just-in-time inventory replenishment. Consolidation, buyouts, and chain failures have become commonplace. At times, driver shortages have been a hurdle.
Through it all, Hood’s fleet has been successful on all fronts—from sustainability to driver productivity, from MPG to effective management. PeopleNet has been there for Hood, helping management find opportunities for improvements through systems, frameworks, benchmarking and measurement.