How Fleet Management Software can Help Food Delivery Fleets Stay Efficient

March 18, 2021

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Key Takeaways

With a fleet management software solution, fleet managers can quickly locate their vehicles, monitor traffic conditions, reduce fuel costs, improve driver performance, and streamline their end-to-end operations. If your fleet is involved in food delivery or other delivery services, a fleet management solution that provides real-time data can be a great way to gain more visibility into your fleet while also increasing customer satisfaction.

What is fleet management software?

With a fleet management software solution, fleet managers can: 

  • Quickly locate their vehicles

  • Monitor traffic conditions 

  • Reduce fuel costs by monitoring idle time 

  • Monitor and regulate temperatures of temperature-sensitive goods

  • Help prevent accidents

  • Improve driver performance 

A comprehensive fleet management system lets you drill down into your data, providing actionable insights to help you save time and money.

How telematics can benefit food and beverage fleets

A comprehensive fleet management system can give food and beverage fleets in the delivery business a more complete view of a fleet’s performance. Read on to learn how this technology can increase the productivity for food and beverage fleets:

1. Ensure smooth deliveries by proactively communicating arrival times

Food and beverage fleets often operate on atypical schedules. Warehouses or other drop-off points along a route might run on off-hours or can simply run behind schedule.  

To accommodate these varying schedules, it’s critical to be extra vigilant with your customer communication. This means ensuring drop-off locations are ready to receive your drivers and your customers are up-to-date on your arrival time. 

To do this, consider a telematics provider that allows you to share location data with your customers. For example, Samsara Live Sharing links can communicate your ETA in real time. Live Sharing links let you share the real-time GPS location of any vehicle directly with your customers, eliminating the need for back-and-forth between dispatchers, drivers, and customers. With these links, your customers can track your vehicles on their smartphones or desktop and know exactly when to expect your driver to arrive—improving the end-to-end customer experience.

Additionally, Live Sharing links will automatically alert your customer when your driver is approaching. This can provide your customers with time to prepare facilities so they are ready to receive your driver and their delivery as soon as they arrive, helping your customers and your fleet stay on schedule and reduce detention time. This insight can enable your customers to better communicate when goods will be in stock at grocery stores—information that can be relayed to shoppers to improve customer service.

2. Digitize processes to stay on time and empower remote workers

Executing a seamless food delivery often means managing a lot of paperwork including customer orders, route sheets, delivery receipts, invoices, and more. Once a delivery is complete, these paper documents need to make their way back to your administrative staff—which might take a week or more. 

To help your drivers maintain timely deliveries and enable work to be completed efficiently, consider digitizing processes across your fleet. With Samsara, drivers can capture electronic proof of delivery using just the camera on their smartphone or tablet. This makes it simple to take photos of delivery receipts, receive electronic signatures, add notes about delivered goods, and automatically submit everything to the Samsara dashboard so back-office staff has instant access from anywhere.

Not only can digital documents help your drivers maintain efficient delivery routes, but they can speed up back-office processes as well. By retaining digital records of every delivery, Samsara helps your team reduce the administrative overhead associated with manually scanning, sorting, and filing delivery paperwork. Plus, digital proof of deliveries can allow you to streamline billing so your business can get paid faster.

3. Monitor temperatures of perishable products

Fleet management software that includes a remote temperature monitoring system can be useful if you’re a food and beverage fleet transporting temperature-sensitive goods like poultry or dairy.  If your fleet is transporting food, beverages, or other perishable goods across state lines or to the next city over, your drivers are probably aware of the risks that spoilage, caused by improper temperature monitoring, can pose to a haul. But how can fleets help reduce this waste and take control of their part in the cold chain? Remote monitoring systems like wireless temperature sensors and humidity sensors allow fleets to track temperatures in-transit to prevent product spoilage, decrease rejected loads, and meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Temperature monitoring systems can help your fleet monitor temperatures in-transit to prevent product spoilage and rejected deliveries. Temperature monitors, like Samsara’s Environmental Monitors, offer automated and continuous temperature logging so fleets can eliminate manual recordkeeping and make it intuitive to provide accurate temperature readings in real time. Not only does this help carriers communicate effectively with customers, but it also ensures Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance. Because temperature and humidity information is continuously logged, fleets can easily pull historical data as proof of product quality to regulators.

What features should your fleet management software include?

A fleet management system that's comprehensive, intuitive, and easy to use can be invaluable for fleets of all sizes. When choosing fleet management software, it’s important to make sure that it has the features that your business needs. When considering your options, keep an eye out for the following:

1. GPS tracking

If you're a fleet manager trying to keep track of your fleet and plan vehicle routes, it’s important to make sure your fleet management software includes GPS tracking.

GPS trackers are devices that help you to track vehicle locations and display those locations on a map. As a fleet manager, you can use GPS tracking to quickly locate your vehicles, determine which driver might be closest to a job, or even help your drivers avoid traffic and accidents.

But while most GPS trackers only offer a breadcrumb trail (with the vehicle’s location only updating every five to 10 minutes), Samsara includes live-to-the-second visibility into vehicle location. 

2. Hours of Service (HOS) compliance 

Ensuring your fleet is meeting federal regulations can be challenging. A fleet management software solution can help simplify these processes so staying compliant is less burdensome.

One of the most important regulations is HOS compliance. HOS regulations limit the number of continuous hours that drivers can be on the road before taking a mandatory rest break. These regulations are meant to help reduce accidents caused by drowsy drivers.

To ensure your fleet is compliant and avoids penalty, it’s important to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of driver hours. To do this, consider asking fleet management vendors how they can help you stay compliant with HOS regulations.

For instance, Samsara’s FMCSA-certified ELD plugs directly into your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port and uses a built-in WiFi hotspot to transmit real-time data about your vehicles, including how long the engine is running, the speed at which it travels, and other diagnostic information. Drivers can use the Samsara Driver App (available for both Android and iOS) to record their HOS, access records of duty status, and complete electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) in one place. Together, these two sources of information make for a complete HOS compliance solution.

3. Route optimization

If you’re looking to reduce costs, consider a fleet tracking solution that helps you determine more efficient routing across your vehicles.

Using a software solution to analyze the performance of your past routes can help you plan the most fuel- and time-efficient routes for future deliveries and better predict departure and arrival times.

For example, you can use Samsara's fleet management solution to view the performance of routes in real time. You can see whether a route is running on schedule or is completing a stop, as well as estimated arrival times that update based on live traffic and accident data.

Once a route is completed, you can compare your planned versus actual route. This feature lets you determine whether your drivers were able to stay on track and make timely deliveries, so you can adjust plans for your future routes.

4. Maintenance and diagnostics

Maintenance costs are unavoidable. Regular wear and tear from daily use can cause vehicle downtime or even a major issue. And unexpected downtime costs more than just the price of replacement parts—not only do you lose out on work time, but you also risk upset customers or spoiled cargo.

To help alleviate these unexpected costs, it’s important to create a preventative maintenance plan. This can be done with the help of a fleet management solution that connects directly to your vehicle's OBD port to pull engine data like fuel use, coolant temperature, battery voltage, and vehicle health. With Samsara preventative maintenance, you can also set up alerts (based on mileage or time of last service) so you’re notified when regular maintenance is due.

5. Safety tools

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is a major priority. That’s why using a fleet management system, that includes safety features, can help you identify and prevent a number of the leading causes of accidents out on the road.

Using fleet management software and implementing a driver safety program can not only help keep your drivers improve safety but also help you reduce costs related to vehicle wear and tear. Look for a fleet management system that prioritizes safety, and includes dash cams and other safety-focused features that can help keep your drivers safe on the road.

Samsara’s dual-facing dash cams capture high-definition video of the road as well as in-cab video of the driver. They also go a step beyond other dash cams by using AI technology to identify dangerous driver behavior, such as distracted or drowsy driving. They also automatically flag and upload harsh driving events, like accidents, harsh accelerations, or sudden braking. 

6. Fuel consumption and vehicle idling data

Perhaps unsurprisingly, fuel is often one of the biggest expenses for any fleet.

This means it’s important to opt for fleet management software that helps you identify areas where your fleet can be more fuel-efficient. Your fleet management solution should also help you monitor and lower vehicle idling time. 

Consider fleet management solutions that recognize the value of monitoring fuel consumption and idling time. For example, Samsara’s Fuel Usage report shows you fuel usage of all the vehicles in your fleet but also tells you the current fuel level, estimated cost, and idle time of each vehicle. If you want to identify which of your drivers is using the most fuel or is spending the most time idling, you can also sort data by driver.

Discover how Samsara fleet management software can improve your delivery operations

With an all-in-one platform for connected operations, from your fleet to warehouses and worksites, Samsara's broad feature set can support all of the needs for your food and beverage business. Plus, with an intuitive, modern design and mobile app for mobile-first fleets, Samsara makes it easy to scale from small fleets to larger operations. 

To learn how the Samsara Connected Operations Cloud can increase the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of your business, reach out for a free 30-day trial or pricing information today.