Why Do You Need To Use Remote Monitoring And Pre-Kitting?

Posted On: 4/15/2019

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  Paul Schlossberg
USA Today published a list of cities. It wasn’t one of their usual "best of" lists. Instead it was a "worst of" list – “Road trip guide: Worst cities to drive in every state.”

The USA Today article began with “Planning a road trip? You may want to avoid these cities.” That warning is useful if you’re deciding that you might want to visit or vacation in or near one of those cities.

The rankings were based on two key factors. One was average commute time to work. The other was traffic safety – fatalities per 100,000 people. We’ve all sat in our cars, frustrated in commuter traffic jams. And unfortunately, it’s likely we’ve been in traffic delays navigating past a traffic accident – sometimes when serious injuries or deaths occurred.

Many of the cities noted in the article are the major metropolitan cities you might expect to see listed as being the worst places to drive in their states.

● Illinois: Chicago-Naperville-Elgin
● Massachusetts: Boston-Cambridge-Newton
● New York: New York-Newark-Jersey City

There are exceptions too in some states, smaller cities are among the "worst" and not the major cities you might expect to see on the list.

● California: Stockton- Lodi (not Los Angeles)
● Georgia: Macon (not Atlanta)
● New Jersey: Ocean City (not Newark or Jersey City – which are listed with New York City)
● Texas: Odessa (not Houston or Dallas-Fort Worth)

My guess is that you’re thinking “So what? Why does this matter to me and my business?” Allow me to explain. A critical element of our business is the delivery function. Our inventory must be moved from warehouses to vending machines and the shelves of micromarkets. Bills and coins must be collected and brought back to counting rooms.

Therefore, in our business we do not have the ability to avoid being “on the road.” It doesn’t matter if we do business in one of the cities mentioned in the article or anywhere else across the country. It does not matter what the commuting traffic delays are or if the weather is a problem. Every day we must deploy our people and vehicles to keep our locations stocked and serviced.

Let’s get back to the “So what?” You could operate more productively if your people and fleet were not sitting in traffic. It’s better to have them maximize their time at the locations you serve. A conversation a few weeks ago with an operator who had invested in technology, including remote monitoring and pre-kitting, gave me some meaningful insights.

This tech-savvy operator confirmed that he was able to eliminate routes. That saved real money in operating costs and assets – lower payroll and fewer trucks in the fleet. Doing that gave him another advantage. As a lower-cost operator, he could compete more effectively for new business when responding to RFPs.

Here is something else to consider. Do your vehicles have GPS navigation software on board? That will allow you to track their location. It also provides data on commute time between locations and service time at each location.

In the interest of full disclosure, there is absolutely no client relationship for me or my company with any provider of software or hardware related to GPS, remote monitoring or pre-kitting. Technology and daily operations are something outside my skill set and work experience. These subjects are of great importance in our industry. Learning more about each one helps me understand who are the smartest operators in our industry.

Think about how you can operate more productively. Maybe you should be investing to add GPS, remote monitoring or pre-kitting for your business. Doing that might be another step on the path to selling more stuff.  

» Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached at Paul@DFWConsulting.net or (972) 877-2972 or www.DFWConsulting.net.