Food and beverage fleets experience more pressure than others to get their loads delivered on time. Grocery stores and restaurants hinge entirely on receiving fresh food in a timely manner. If they don’t, businesses are challenged with meeting supply and demand. The punctual delivery of fresh, damage-free cargo is the unyielding priority for this industry, and fleet management technology is here to help.

Read on to learn the full scope of how fleet technology for food and beverage companies revolutionizes fleet safety, efficiency and success in this high-pressure market.

Introduction to Fleet Safety & Management Solutions for Food and Beverage

The perishable goods transportation industry is projected to grow from $13.67 billion in 2023 to $14.86 billion in 2024 — an 8.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The industry’s CAGR is projected to maintain itself around 8.3% through 2028, so food and beverage fleets have strong growth to look forward to. 

But with that growth comes a deepening challenge. The food and beverage transportation market is vast — spanning everything from ice transport to last-mile delivery of at-home meal kits. No matter what subset your distribution company covers, you have freshness at the core of your business value. Maintaining fresh, damage-free food delivery as the market expands each year is the fleet manager’s primary and constant goal. If perishable cargo goes bad, you lose income and customers and you create problems in the supply chain. 

Enter: fleet safety and management solutions. The right solution transforms a food and beverage fleet’s ability to fulfill its on time deliveries with efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and fresh products. Today’s fleet solution offers AI-powered technology and automation that helps fleet managers cut a competitive edge for their organizations.

The Benefits of Food and Beverage Fleet Safety and Management Solutions

Advanced fleet solutions help food and beverage transportation companies achieve the following:

Driver Coaching and Retention

Ensuring drivers are up-to-date on all safety procedures and protocols is essential for any food and beverage fleet. Fleet management technology monitors driver behavior to help fleet managers support drivers in their efforts to achieve safety goals and perform to the best of their ability. In-cab alerts from AI-powered technology help drivers self-coach and maintain autonomy as they improve. Managers can see both positive and negative performance and showcase positive behavior in a company-wide manner using reward programs.

When drivers see that their great driving gets rewarded, they’re more incentivized to perform well. The GreenZone® Score from Netradyne®, as an example, is a gamification tool that supports the achievement of safety goals and inspires friendly competition among the fleet.

Customer Satisfaction Through Route Optimization

When delivering goods on time is paramount to the success of your business, drivers need to take the most efficient routes possible to get to their destinations. Fleet management software enables managers to find the best delivery paths and set the best courses for drivers to minimize the distances they have to travel. It also enables fleets to provide their customers with more accurate delivery arrival times. Customers cement greater trust in fleets that provide more accurate information about shipment location and estimated delivery times. Visibility into routes allows managers and drivers to be transparent about delays and obstacles on the road. 

Netradyne’s Driver•i® fleet management technology, for example, helps fleet managers plan for alternative routes so drivers can skirt delays and traffic. With visibility into the most efficient routes, both drivers and managers can improve perishable good delivery.

Cost Savings

When drivers complete the most efficient routes possible, they improve fuel economy and cut down on overall operating costs. Optimized routes mean fleets safely deliver their loads according to plan while spending less on fuel and reducing wear and tear expenses on vehicles.

Fleet management technology also helps food and beverage fleets avoid expensive legal battles and settlements in which drivers may be falsely accused. In-cab and 360-degree video footage gathered by the hardware can exonerate drivers. While this point is not specific to food and beverage transportation, it’s an essential benefit of fleet management solutions for any company looking to cut costs.

Temperature Monitoring

Delivering perishable items on time at regulated temperatures adds another layer of complexity to food and beverage transportation. Depending on the product, customers have the right to reject food deliveries if vehicles don’t maintain the right temperatures for the food items they are carrying. Fleet management technology enables fleet managers to track vehicles in real time to ensure they don’t experience delays or other problems that might inhibit their ability to deliver temperature-controlled products.

Compliance and Safety

Food and beverage trucking companies must abide by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which regulates the supply chain for human and animal food. They also must adhere to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule which prescribes best practices for the sanitary transportation of human or animal food by motor or rail vehicles. These regulations require compliance with refrigeration, cleanliness, and other protective measures for food during transportation.

Aside from food safety, fleets also have to abide by road and driver safety laws — all of which is made easier with fleet safety and management solutions. The right technology captures – data for drivers and fleet managers so managers can implement training and ensure assets and drivers meet safety standards. For example, Netradyne’s AI-powered fleet management solution prompts drivers in real time to self-correct  to improve safety. (More on driver coaching above.)

Preventative Maintenance

A mid-journey breakdown is not only a crushing financial blow to a food and beverage fleet by delaying deliveries and spoiling products, it disrupts the entire supply chain. Fleet management technology helps you avoid such destabilization by keeping track of scheduled vehicle maintenance and repair needs. Fleet managers use the software to stay abreast of required maintenance for compliance, and the system provides alerts when a repair is needed.

How to Find the Best Fleet Safety and Management Solution for the Food and Beverage Distribution Industry

With dozens of options on the market for fleet safety and management solutions, it can be difficult to figure out which combination of hardware and software is best for your fleet. And the particular challenges and considerations of the food and beverage industry make it even trickier. Follow these steps to select the right-fit solution for your fleet.

Identify Your Specific Goals

What are you hoping to achieve by leveraging fleet safety and management technology? The answer to that question determines how you proceed with evaluating technology solutions. In this first step, we recommend collaborating with other stakeholders and decision-makers in your fleet and across your industry to identify ideal goals to achieve through technology. 

It’s helpful to document the answers to the following questions to sort out your specific goals:

  1. What are the measurable improvements we’d like to see in fuel economy?
  2. Where do we have room for improvement in driver safety?
  3. In what areas of operations would we like to gain better visibility?
  4. In what areas of operations are we receiving less-than-desirable customer feedback?

After you have the answers to these questions, you can prescribe metrics to each improvement category. Keeping these metrics in mind as you shop for a fleet safety and management solution will help you narrow down which tools are best for your business.

Identify Any Obstacles to Onboarding the Right Solution

Pinpointing the potential problems you may encounter also helps to narrow your search. For example, do you have a budget limit? Do you foresee a significant amount of driver pushback? Look for solutions that offer ways to incentivize and motivate drivers to get on board with the technology.

Research the Tools Available

Naturally, you’ll explore a range of options to start. Use your identified goals to help you narrow down the choices. Aside from pricing, here is a checklist of features you’ll want to consider and compare among solutions:

  • AI: does the solution come with AI-powered software and hardware and capabilities to deliver automation, data analysis, highly accurate alerts, and more?
  • Real-time insights: how close to real time are you able to get with insight into road conditions, route efficiency, vehicle status, and driver behavior?
  • Driver coaching: does the solution enable your drivers to coach themselves and support a positive recognition approach to training?
  • Reporting: what types of data analysis does the solution support?
  • Time-savings: what tasks will be faster and easier for managers using this solution?
  • Integrations: does the solution integrate with your existing tools?
  • Customer service: what type of support will your teams get from the solution provider?

Demo the fleet safety and management solution

Finally, getting a demo of the solution (or multiple solutions) will be essential to making an informed decision. 

How Real Food and Beverage Fleets Use Fleet Safety and Management Technology

Sharp Transit, the dedicated hauler for Aldi Grocery stores for the last two decades, has measurably improved safety and efficiency using Netradyne’s Driver•i technology. Five years ago, the fleet had a deficient crash rating per the FMCSA’s guidelines. Since then, the company has used Netradyne’s solutions to reduce their CSA score by 21 points, better capture driver behavior, and incentivize drivers to improve their performance on their own.

Using Driver•i’s GreenZone Score, the fleet has developed a reward system that gives tee shirts, plaques, recognition, and more to drivers who achieve high safety scores. Today, 98% of the fleet’s drivers use the Driver•i mobile app — an impressive level of driver engagement with the solution. 

The fleet has reduced incidents and risk and seen improved efficiency throughout multiple levels of operation.

Transform Your Fleet With Netradyne’s Driver•i Food and Beverage Fleet Safety and Management Solutions

Netradyne’s solutions deliver measurable change for fleets across safety, efficiency, cost savings, productivity, fleet management, and more. Our AI-powered solution gives you modern tools to deliver all your goods on time — as fresh as can be and as safely as possible. With visibility into vehicles, drivers, road conditions, and routes, you can make the smartest decisions for your fleet. Make every journey more efficient and cement trust with your customers using Netradyne’s pioneering fleet safety and management solution. Book a demo today.

FAQ’s

  • Can fleet safety and management technology improve driver safety?
    Yes. The right technology can dramatically improve a food and beverage distribution fleet’s ability to meet safety standards and achieve fleet safety goals. AI-powered in-cab cameras and software solutions prompt drivers to self-correct in real-time to proactively prevent incidents.
  • How does fleet safety and management technology contribute to customer satisfaction?
    With modern fleet safety and management technology, your food and beverage fleet can get real-time insight into the location of vehicles and shipments so you can update your customers on estimated delivery times. You can also alert customers about potential delays. Staying in close communication with your customers and providing highly accurate delivery times increases customer satisfaction.
  • What is refrigerated transport?
    Refrigerated transport is the transportation of goods in temperature-controlled vehicles.
  • What are the FMSA guidelines for refrigerated transport?
    The guidelines cover:

    • Vehicle design and maintenance so that food in a truck does not become unsafe
    • Food safety so vehicles and drivers ensure the protection of food in terms of temperature, contamination by non-food items, and cross-contact
    • Driver training
    • Record maintenance

Read the guidelines from the FDA here.

Predict Your Fleet’s Accident Reduction & ROI

What if we told you that you could predict accident reduction over the next 12 months? Netradyne has built a groundbreaking mathematical model that accurately shows the direct correlation between improving GreenZone® scores and accident reduction. Watch the webinar to learn more
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