“With Samsara, now I feel like I’m in the cab, right next to our drivers.”
KeHE Distributors leverages Samsara AI Safety Programs—AI Dash Cams and Site Visibility—to improve customer service, operational efficiency, and safety.
Plug-and-play hardware allowed KeHE to self-install Samsara and gain greater visibility into their fleet and distribution centers.
Live Sharing links enable KeHE to share real-time ETAs with customers and improve customer satisfaction.
Intelligent Search allows KeHE to save 1,000s of hours of incident investigation to improve response time.
High-quality, on-demand footage enhances coaching and helps KeHE protect their employees.
Headquartered in Naperville, Illinois, KeHE Distributors, LLC distributes specialty organic foods to grocery stores in all 50 U.S. states., including Alaska and Hawaii. With a fleet of more than 550 trucks and 700 drivers as well as 16 distribution centers, KeHE is first and foremost concerned with efficiency, safety, and customer service.
KeHE originally approached Samsara because they were looking for a more robust, portable ELD solution to replace their AOBRD platform. “The main goal with Samsara was just getting better hardware,” said Rodney Gamble, Executive Director of Transportation. “But there were so many side benefits, from getting a consolidated platform to increased visibility into our routing.” With Samsara, KeHE has found an all-in-one solution for improving their routing, safety, and customer service. In fact, they were named a Samsara Top Fleet Finalist for Excellence in Performance for 2020.
KeHE’s previous AOBRD and GPS tracking provider had hardware that was difficult to install and for drivers to use. The hardware wasn’t portable, so it couldn’t be switched in and out of new or replacement vehicles. This resulted in KeHE losing GPS tracking on 15% of their fleet so they couldn’t accurately track deliveries and update customers with ETAs.
With Samsara’s plug-and-play hardware, KeHE was able to self-install Vehicle Gateways (VGs) and AI Dash Cams within their fleet and can easily switch out or add additional devices to their fleet. Within a few months they had rolled out Samsara across all their terminals for visibility into their entire fleet.
“The drivers find the app very intuitive,” said Greg Sikorski, Director of Transportation Safety and Compliance. “It’s easier for them to log their hours which makes the work of our back office easier, too.” With the Driver App, KeHE’s drivers have a single, consolidated place to track their routes and hours. And, the payroll team no longer needs to double check driver logs versus reported miles, saving them 9 hours per week or 468 hours annually. After seeing success on-the-road with AI Dash Cams, they quickly expanded their partnership with Samsara to include Site Visibility across their distribution centers.
KeHE was relying on video footage to ensure safety standards across their 16 distribution centers. Prior to Samsara, security camera footage had to be viewed when physically onsite, making accident investigation tedious and often requiring travel between locations. In order to respond to accident claims promptly, KeHE needed a centralized solution that provided smarter search functionality and remote accessibility.
Onsite, KeHE installed Samsara Site Visibility across their distribution centers, allowing them to consolidate all of their video data—from Samsara cameras and 3rd party cameras—in one cloud dashboard. They chose Samsara for the Intelligent Search features that allow them to easily investigate accidents to improve response time and remote visibility into onsite safety practices. By assigning customizable video permissions within the Samsara Connected Operations Cloud, management ensures the correct people can view the appropriate footage from any device or location. "Site Visibility allows more users in the organization to access the footage they need and research reported issues from anywhere, allowing us to reduce travel expenses," said Eric Smithson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Operations.
With Samsara Site Visibility, KeHE leverages motion and clothing detection to swiftly identify and respond to the event under review, saving thousands of hours of incident investigation. Since installing Site Visibility cameras, KeHE has also seen significant savings and reduction in workers comp claims—more than covering the cost of the system installation.
Before Samsara, KeHE only had a snapshot view of where their drivers were, but now they have real-time GPS tracking for their entire fleet. “I still remember the first time we saw the live helicopter view,” said Gamble. “The driver came to a stop, but I didn’t have to call him up and ask why he’s running late. I could see he was stuck in traffic—that was huge.”
KeHE was able to save approximately 19 hours per week, or 988 hours annualized, by eliminating the need for manual check calls.
This visibility has improved the “Check Call” process—when members from the central office check in on arrivals and departures for their vehicles. In fact, KeHE was able to save approximately 19 hours per week, or 988 hours annualized, by eliminating the need for manual check calls. In turn, this better visibility allows KeHE to ensure drivers are running on schedule, which has helped improve their on-time performance. They also provide customers with Live Sharing links. This lets customers receive accurate ETAs and pushes notifications to them when their deliveries are 30 and 20 minutes away. “Our customers have been really happy with us now that we can provide ETAs,” said Matt Rogers, Senior Transportation Systems Manager. “They want information in real-time and now we’re able to give that to them.”
KeHE had a previous dash cam provider before Samsara, but they weren’t able to retrieve additional footage on demand and they weren’t happy with the quality of the footage they were getting. This sometimes made it difficult to coach and exonerate their drivers because they couldn’t always get a full picture of what happened.
Building out effective coaching programs for drivers is extremely important to KeHE. They use coaching not only to improve safety but as a way to show drivers that they’re invested in their growth. With higher-quality video, KeHE has improved their existing coaching program. “With Samsara now I feel like I’m in the cab, right next to our drivers,” said Rogers.
Within three days of Samsara flagging a safety event, like harsh braking or a rolling stop, KeHE’s safety team sits down with a driver to run through a “Game Tape” of the event, focusing on what happened and how to prevent similar incidents in the future. “The biggest feedback I get from my team and the drivers is that the quality is much better,” said Sikorski. “It makes coaching much easier because we have a clearer video to talk drivers through.” Through their robust coaching program, KeHE saw an 18% reduction in accidents in just a year.
Samsara’s AI Dash Cams also help KeHE protect their drivers. KeHE’s collision mitigation locked up twice while their drivers were en route. “Our drivers went from 65 to 0 within seconds,” said Gamble. Samsara flagged the event and uploaded the footage to KeHE’s Safety Inbox. KeHE was able to take the footage to the manufacturer and get them to send out technicians to reboot the system and they haven’t had an incident since. “Because of Samsara, we actually had proof,” said Gamble. “They couldn’t push it back to us or something our drivers did.”
In their time working with Samsara, KeHE has been impressed with the level of customer service they’ve received and the speed at which new features are released. “We’re happy to take the time to submit feedback and ideas because we have seen that it will translate into an update to the product we’ll use,” said Gamble. From skipped stop reports to customizable camera and safety configurations, these updates are what allow KeHE to continue to innovate and provide outstanding service to their customers.
With Samsara, KeHE has found a true partner, not just a vendor. “I really feel that Samsara listens, and you don’t necessarily get that with a lot of companies,” said Rogers. “That’s why I have a lot of respect for the company.”
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