“With Samsara, now I feel like I’m in the cab, right next to our drivers.”
Matt Rogers, Senior Transportation Systems Manager
KeHE Distributors—a 2020 Samsara Top Fleets Finalist—leverages Samsara’s AI Dash Cams and real-time tracking to improve customer service, fleet efficiency, and safety.
Plug-and-play hardware allowed KeHE to self-install Samsara and gain greater visibility into their fleet.
Live Sharing links enable KeHE to share real-time ETAs with customers and improve customer satisfaction.
Real-time GPS tracking improves dispatcher workflows and increases on-time deliveries.
High-quality, on-demand dash cam footage enhances driver coaching and helps KeHE protect their drivers.
Meet KeHE Distributors
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, 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.
Increased visibility with plug-and-play hardware
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.
Drivers also struggled to use their previous system. They could only use the in-cab tablets sold by their previous provider and couldn’t load additional apps onto them. This meant drivers had no consolidated place to track their routes and hours. “Our trucks were starting to have a teenagers-worth of electronics in them,” said Gamble. “And we just weren’t willing to continue with that.”
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. This ease of installation means KeHE now has VGs in all their vehicles and can easily have visibility into their entire fleet.
And their drivers are much happier with Samsara’s all-in-one Driver App, which allows them to log hours, track their routes and deliveries, and message with dispatch in a single place. “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.”
Additionally, the Driver App simplifies the payroll process for KeHE. With the Driver App, KeHE’s payroll team no longer needs to double check driver logs versus reported miles, saving them 9 hours per week or 468 hours annually.
Better routing and customer service with real-time GPS tracking
KeHE’s drivers average about six to eight deliveries a day and about 13,000 deliveries every week. With so many stops, real-time visibility is extremely important to ensure drivers are completing each delivery on time.
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.”
Now, KeHE leverages Samsara’s real-time GPS tracking to increase on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction. For instance, they geofenced all their delivery locations to automate recording of completed orders. When a driver arrives at a grocery store their GPS location is automatically pushed from Samsara into their TMS and updates the order as “delivered.”
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.”
Protecting and coaching drivers with on-demand, quality dash cam footage
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.”
When KeHE’s drivers are involved in accidents, they’re also able to proactively provide footage to their legal counsel and insurance providers to preemptively protect their drivers. And with Samsara, they can now pull all the additional footage they need before and after an accident, which gives them a more complete picture of what happened. By preemptively providing complete, high-quality footage of accidents, they’ve been able to avoid litigation for at least three incidents.
An ongoing partnership
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.”