Maryland based agribusiness industry heavyweight, Perdue Farms, employs 285 drivers. Last year, the private fleet consisted of 175 drivers and this year they are on track to reach 400. Despite the current pandemic, Perdue is rapidly expanding. Thanks to the Vector mobile app which offers customized workflows and integrates with Perdue’s existing TMS, ERP and telematics systems, the drivers and the back office have been able to remain operational. Drivers don’t have to worry about handling physical paper and the back office can work remotely accessing submitted paperwork online.
• 70,000+ loads per year
• 285 drivers
• 63% year-over-year increase in drivers
• 0 new payroll clerks hired
In the past, Perdue’s 70,000+ annual loads were logged by hand and snail mail. Drivers were forced to manually write calculations for mileage, expenses and down time on an envelope, then mail all documents and receipts to back-office personnel. Additionally with the spread of Covid-19 and many process changes between shippers, carriers and their partners, eliminating physical interactions and paper documents became a requirement to conduct business.
Beyond processing lag that could stretch several days or even weeks, the paper trail not only left rooms for errors but caused a health and safety risk for everyone who touched it. Any adjustments to back-of-the-envelope math required additional back and forth between drivers and the back office before drivers could be paid and loads tied out.
“Part of it was accuracy, the loads couldn’t be finalized in our TMS until that was done,” said Todd Comer, Transportation Manager. “Drivers couldn’t get paid until that was finalized.”
• Digitize handwritten load completion forms
• Expedite processing times with electronic transmission
• Improve accounting accuracy by reducing manual calculations
• Create more responsive online system for pay adjustments and driver communication
• Integrate with existing SAP payroll solution, PeopleNet and Omnitracs telematics
• Improve overall driver happiness by reducing tedious work and paying faster
In close coordination with the software engineers and customer support team at Vector, Perdue’s previous paper envelopes were transformed into a digital workflow. Integrations with Perdue’s ELD providers, PeopleNet and Omnitracs, were also built to automatically pull trip data for pay calculations.
Now, the company’s custom mobile app, which can be operated from the driver’s ELD or any smartphone, allows for faster data entry and automatic pay calculations. Trip documents and receipts can also be photographed and instantly sent to headquarters through the app. “The document scanning is really second to none,” Comer said. “There are not too many things that happen in a driver’s life that make his day easier.”
With the Perdue app up and running since early 2018, the system now operates with little additional time or attention required — “a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Comer said. “A number of folks around the organization have commented that it was one of the easiest projects that’s been rolled out.”
The document scanning is really second to none. There are not too many things that happen in a driver’s life that makes his day easier.
Transportation Manager Dedicated Services
In tandem with the move to digital load tracking, Perdue has also embarked on a quest to dramatically grow its number of private fleet drivers in a competitive labor market. Though the company has added 100 drivers since last year, all of the back-office work is done by the same five processing clerks. Additionally, now those same clerks can work from home without slowing down their operations.
“The staff size has remained the same allowing us to support more loads and increase profitability,” says Cromer. “Retaining drivers has also been easier since we have eliminated all of the tedious overhead slowing down their payouts.”
There was a lot of skepticism initially about what this would look like,” Comer continued. “Once guys started hearing and seeing what was going on, all of a sudden, guys who’d never had smartphones were using the app.”
While other fleets scramble to find solutions to solve their evolving pandemic problems, Purdue was able to support processes without physical interactions as well as quickly transition their back office to work from home.