This is the second of a 5-part series driving operational efficiencies in fuels, lubricants, and chemical distribution. This is based on our 15 years of work in fuels, lubricants, and chemicals logistics.
Are your drivers as efficient as they could be?
With today’s driver shortage, your drivers’ efficiency is one of the keys to success for fuels, lubricants, and chemicals distributors. By utilizing a mobile app, efficiency gains allow your company to deliver more products to more customers in less time.
With consistent driver workflows, you’ll have real-time visibility into each trip and order.
A driver delivery app allows:
- Paperless deliveries
- Consistent workflows
- Route compliance
- Route and order visibility
- Truck inventory tracking
- Driver efficiency
- Reduced cross-fills/Contaminated deliveries
Paperless benefits include reducing the delays and inaccuracies of processing paper. It provides labor savings for not re-keying delivered quantities, mistakes associated with deciphering the driver’s handwriting, time savings from reducing paper handling (faxing/scanning), and reducing lost delivery tickets. CFO.com states the average cost of processing a paper invoice is $5.82, with the best companies at $2.07 and the lowest 25% at $10.
Paperless is the key to enabling centralizing dispatch and providing route visibility. It enables consistent driver workflows. For example, if a driver under delivers, the mobile app prompts for a reason. The driver cannot skip that step, and you have visibility to a consistent set of reasons, such as tank full, customer refused, out of product, etc. Consistent workflows require all drivers to acknowledge instructions before starting a trip and orders (e.g., bring key), get tank readings (before/after), and other processes you want followed.
When drivers use paper-based routing and delivery tickets, there is no way to track and enforce route compliance even when the routes are optimized. A dispatcher can tell a driver to do the route in sequence 1-10, but the driver can go out of sequence and deliver in any order they wish, and there is no way to confirm compliance to that route.
A delivery application tracks the actual route sequence and enforces route compliance. Dispatchers can optionally provide a one-time PIN code to allow a driver to go out of route.
Driver efficiency includes reduced paperwork and time savings from efficient workflows. Some examples of these are barcode scanning vs. writing it down. The app performs all delivery math, including the totalizer function, electronic capability to send and receive orders, trips, inventory, built-in maps navigation or commercial truck navigation, and better routes. Better routes are different than route compliance. Better routes, at a minimum, are an optimized sequence of stops.
Route and order visibility means you see where a driver is during their route, what their actual start and stop times are per stop, and if they are on schedule. Some companies use GPS tracking to show when a driver breaks a geofence at a customer, but this does not automatically start the order. App visibility enables you to track metrics like gals/stop, gal/min, and other bulk metrics.
A driver application provides configurable and consistent workflows that will significantly reduce or eliminate cross fills and contaminated deliveries. Cross-fills require the contaminated product to be pumped and disposed of and the correct product refilled. There is a safety cost as well as a product replacement cost. A mobile app provides:
- A 3-way match requires the driver to scan the tote or compartment, confirm the product, and scan the tank barcode. All three must match, or the driver is warned of the wrong product and prevented from delivering.
- Scan the tank before filling to confirm this is the same product or a compatible product. For example, you can deliver CLEAR on top of DYED, but not the reverse. Or DYED for HOME HEAT.
- Perform a GPS and barcode validation to confirm the tank or asset is associated with that customer account.
The app electronically records and time stamps actions the driver should take to assist the driver, such as flushing, pump outs, and unloading.
Truck inventory visibility is key to running an efficient logistics operation. Many companies use paper trip sheets and ask drivers to record loads and orders to track inventory. Paper trip sheets rely on the driver to follow steps and correctly transcribe delivery tickets to the trip sheet. Dispatchers can view trip sheets when drivers return but have no visibility to truck or trailer inventory throughout the day. When you get an emergency order, you must call each driver to check inventories and see if they can be re-directed. Knowing the app tracks inventory in real-time streamlines driver workflows and reduces their likelihood of “losing inventory.”
Implementing a driver delivery application is the second step to best-in-class bulk logistics. A driver delivery application enables the other components in our 5-part series to drive logistics efficiency and customer service:
- Route optimization – better routes, centralized dispatch (click for part 1)
- Driver delivery app – paperless, route compliance, driver efficiency, consistent workflows
- Tank forecasting – order generation for ALL tanks (monitored and non-monitored)
- Inventory control and visibility – track truck inventory, prevent cross fills
- Customer service – email advanced ship notifications, proof of delivery, driver on the way
To improve your delivery efficiency, you need tools to make data-driven logistics decisions.