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Performance Food Group (PFG) | Connected Video | Samsara

Dash Cams, Site Visibility

Performance Food Group (PFG)

How PFG is improving safety and security with Connected Video

Highlights

  • One platform for dash cams and onsite security cameras provides consolidated video visibility across PFG’s operations, enabling greater safety and security insights.

  • Customizable video permissions enable the right people to access the right video at the right time, so PFG can more quickly address safety concerns and scale best practices.

  • Reliable video retrieval and AI search tools make it easy to investigate incidents that happen on the road or onsite, increasing efficiency and delivering significant cost savings.

Challenge

Performance Food Group (PFG) is the second-largest food distributor in the United States. In order to deliver their products to more than 200,000 customer locations across the country, they operate one of the nation’s largest fleets—logging more than 156 million miles each year—and a massive network of 25,000 associates working in 100+ distribution centers. 

With thousands of vehicles and millions of square feet of warehousing space, safety and security are critical to PFG’s day-to-day operations and their associates’ safety. “I cover 15 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States,” said Mike Estep, Regional Director of Safety & Loss Prevention. “My job is to oversee the safety programs at each of those locations, compliance on the road, and security at each location.” But with different systems for onsite security cameras and dash cams—and 20 different camera vendors across their locations—PFG’s video visibility was fragmented. This makes it difficult to glean actionable insights related to safety, security, and efficiency.

On the road, major incidents (mostly caused by rear-ending and sideswiping) have the potential of damaging their vehicles and injuring not only their drivers, but also the motoring public, increasing workers compensation and auto liability claims. “It is our ongoing mission to protect our associates and the motoring public from vehicular accidents and related injuries using the technology provided,” said Tom Olitsky, VP of Safety. 

Similarly, having multiple security camera systems across their warehouses made it challenging to investigate safety or security incidents that occured onsite. “Manually reviewing hours of video with an antiquated system requires more labor hours than we have available,” said Olitsky. As a result, it was difficult to quickly find the right footage to effectively coach associates on warehouse safety practices or prevent the theft of expensive products—which can be costly. 

PFG needed a more centralized, consolidated approach. “In order to protect our people, our equipment, and our products, we really need 360 degree visibility of our trucks and our sites,” said Olitsky. “We need a solution that could consolidate our camera vendors and support our safety and security strategy across our entire operation.”

Solution

What is Connected Video? Connected Video consolidates video data from Samsara's AI Dash Cams, Site Security Cameras, and third-party vehicle cameras to help customers gain the insights to achieve operational visibility and excellence.

In 2021, PFG rolled out Samsara AI Dash Cams across their fleet. On-demand video retrieval and driver coaching tools had an immediate impact on their fleet operations. With better visibility, they could coach drivers more effectively and investigate incidents faster. “The Samsara platform streamlines the investigation process, and allows you to find and share the footage you need fast,” said Olitsky. “There have been instances where we’ve been able to exonerate our drivers on the spot by providing relevant footage to the authorities at the time of incident.” Added Estep, “The dash cams empowered us to see and understand a lot more of what was happening on the road. Similarly, we need a strong onsite security camera system for our facilities to be able to investigate incidents and pinpoint the causes.” 

In 2022, PFG expanded their partnership with Samsara to test Site Visibility cameras in their warehouses. Although still early in their deployment, they see a future where they have complete visibility across their vehicles and sites within one platform. Samsara’s Connected Video solution makes it possible to retrieve video of incidents that happen in warehouses just as easily as incidents that happen on the road, which will ultimately give PFG centralized, consolidated visibility to ensure compliance with safety protocols and track goods across their entire operations. “In the future, we plan to use the cameras to proactively coach our warehouse employees on how to be safer in their workspace,” said Estep. “Plus, with the intelligent camera system, we will be able to better track products through our warehouse to reduce losses.” 

One of the reasons PFG chose to evaluate with Samsara is the security camera system’s AI features, such as the ability to quickly search through footage by clothing color. “If an unauthorized person walks into a facility and we can see they’re wearing a red shirt, we’ll be able to search for them in the system and see where they are and where they’ve been in the facility, ultimately allowing us to more quickly address onsite risks,” said Olitsky. “The technology is much more advanced than much of what we have today.” 

Plus, customizable permissions will make it possible for PFG to grant different levels of video access—making their video data more secure across their enterprise and more actionable at the local level, since managers will only have access to relevant footage for their location and role. “We can limit warehouse supervisors to view security camera footage only for the dock doors, for example, while giving operations managers access to the dash cams and site cameras for their location,” said Estep. “It was very important to us that the software had the flexibility to do that.”

Results

“We’re excited to get a 360 degree view of our trucks and our sites, all within the same platform,” said Olitsky. “Samsara offers a wide range of solutions that will allow PFG to aggregate various vendors and align many business units under one."

By consolidating video from their vehicles and sites within the Samsara Connected Operations Platform, PFG will be able to reduce the number of vendors they have to manage—unlocking greater safety and security insights across their operations while reducing complexity. “In the past, we’ve used so many different businesses and software,” said Estep. “It's just so much easier from an efficiency and training point of view if you have one vendor to go to.”

Using Samsara video footage, PFG has already exonerated drivers from dozens of false claims—delivering significant cost savings in avoided insurance and settlement costs. As PFG continues to deploy Site Visibility cameras in their warehouses, they expect to see additional savings due to improved warehouse safety, security, and loss prevention. “From a safety perspective, I always tell my safety managers and warehouse supervisors that if there’s an accident on the dock or a close call, they should go back and analyze the video footage to evaluate, ‘How can we do this better? How can we do this safer?’” said Estep. “The cameras in the warehouse are really critical to helping us achieve this.”

As they look to the future, PFG plans to further expand their partnership with Samsara, maximizing the benefits of Connected Video within one platform. In fact, PFG is currently trialing Samsara’s Camera Connector (which brings video from third-party side, rear, and interior cameras into the Samsara Dashboard), which will further streamline video visibility and reduce costs associated with backup and sideswiping incidents.

“The flexibility of the Samsara system was a game changer. The ability to integrate with existing onsite security cameras or third-party side, rear, and interior cameras was a big reason we wanted to partner with them,” said Olitsky. “They allow you to use your existing hardware and consolidate visibility in the Samsara platform, which ultimately helps us improve safety across the company.”

“With Samsara, we’re excited to get a 360 degree view of our trucks and our sites—all within the same platform.”

— Tom Olitsky, VP of Safety

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