Labatt Food Service’s Toughbook U1 Deployment Improves Customer and Driver Satisfaction
Labatt Food Service can trace its roots to the early 20th century. The company is widely recognized in the food service distribution industry as an innovative, customer-focused and high-energy leader.
To maintain this reputation, Labatt has continually innovated to bring improved service to its customers. In 2008, the company realized that two issues needed to be addressed to maintain its competitive edge in the transportation arena: driver satisfaction and delivery efficiency.
Like many in the industry, Labatt’s drivers were using pen and paper to track arrivals, departures, returns and to update hours-of-service logs to comply with internal documentation needs and DOT regulations. By moving to a digital solution, Labatt could realize significant improvements in operational efficiency.
Labatt first looked at shrink-wrapped solutions available to the trucking market, but found these devices were too restrictive – not allowing for upgrades, modifications and customization. After exhaustive research, the company selected the Toughbook U1 for its durability, full Windows OS, daylight viewable touch screen, embedded mobile broadband and GPS.
“Because the U1 runs a full Windows operating system, we are able to develop solutions on our own laptops without some type of emulation software to mimic a handheld operating environment. We know if it works on our laptops it will work on the U1,” said Miguel Escobedo lead project architect, Labatt Food Service.
With wireless connectivity a critical component of the deployment, Labatt tested multiple providers to establish which offered the best mobile broadband service in its operating area – ultimately determining that mobile broadband service from AT&T was best suited to address its needs.
Since adopting the new Toughbook U1-based solution, the benefits have been clear. The new solution automatically logs route data and customer interactions, eliminating the time spent entering data by pen and reentering paperwork at the distribution center.
The Toughbook U1’s reliability has reduced the IT support issues typically found with mobile technology solutions, allowing Labatt to focus on strategic growth issues that can further improve the service it offers its customers.
“Since drivers played such an involved role in the system’s creation, they have really embraced it. And keeping drivers happy is important to our bottom line. Since the system’s implementation, we’ve seen driver turnover get cut in half. Although turnover reduction is not entirely attributable to the new system, its estimated worth is just under a million dollars a year,” said Blair Labatt III, project lead, Labatt Food Service.
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