CLEMMONS, N.C. -- An onboard computer system with a mobile communications feature has helped Joyce Foods here track its drivers' performance more accurately and improve customer service.
The company, a distributor of fresh chicken and frozen seafood products, serves 150 supermarkets in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, said George Flores De Valgaz, transportation and customer-service manager at Joyce Foods.
"Previously, if customers called and wanted to know where the truck was and when it would arrive, we'd have to track the driver down by going down the list of stores on his route and calling them," said Flores De Valgaz. "Customers want this information right away, and even a pager could take up to an hour to reach a driver."
With use of the onboard computer system, however, a driver's location can be established immediately via a radio frequency connection to the onboard computer.
"I can pull up a driver's route, and the system tells me what stops he's been to, where he's going next and how many stops he has to go," said Flores De Valgaz.
The system also keeps customer histories, allowing Joyce Foods, for example, to compare promised delivery times with actual times.
Beyond improving customer service, the onboard computer system, from Eaton Corp., Clemmons, N.C., has helped Joyce Foods gather information to assess driver performance and productivity in the year it has been used.
"The system tracks if drivers are speeding, the amount of time they spend on their routes and unscheduled stops," said Flores De Valgaz. "We wouldn't have any other way to get this information unless we were sitting behind the driver."
Information on driver performance is used in awarding quarterly bonuses to the company's best drivers, he added.
The distributor is also using the onboard system to track total driver miles, fuel tax information from the different states Joyce Foods operates in and fuel purchases.
Future applications for the onboard system will include tracking drivers' locations using a global satellite-positioning system, and using onboard computers to monitor the trucks' performance. "We would like to use the system to warn us about potential mechanical problems with the equipment," said Flores De Valgaz.