Walmart, like other mass and grocery retailers, is always working to make the supply chain process run smoother, and with its fresh produce freight, time is of the essence.
To make transportation more efficient and hassle-free, the Bentonville, Ark., mass retailer has partnered with Platform Science to implement two technology tools for a better driver experience and to provide real-time visibility to the everyday operations of more than 12,000 drivers, according to a news release.
Platform Science is a telematics infrastructure and transportation technology company that is outfitting every Walmart Private Fleet cab with an intuitive, interactive tablet device that fully integrates with NTransit, a driver workflow application developed by Walmart’s product and technology teams.
This customized onboard computer system provides private fleet drivers with an improved, high-tech driving experience, provides the business with real-time visibility and provides shoppers with what they want, where they want it and when they want it, the release said.
This innovation will provide drivers:
- Better visibility: Walmart staff will know where the assets are within the fleet to ensure freight arrives on time and in the correct location. Stores can anticipate load arrival times and effectively plan the days and labor around truck deliveries. Shoppes will see shelves stocked in-store and more accurate inventory of products available online.
- Enhanced communication: Walmart’s onboard technology helps drivers communicate more closely with stores by integrating with store applications, providing a more seamless delivery process. As the driver approaches a store, the geolocation feature detects the driver’s location, sending push notifications to store the associate’s handheld device, allowing them to plan for a quick unload and turnaround. Walmart can also deploy secure audio messages directly with drivers to ensure they receive important information while they are on the road.
- Productivity and retention: By removing manual touch points, Walmart’s goal is to create a frictionless workflow so drivers can spend more time driving the truck and less time waiting at fulfillment centers or store deliveries. Platform Science and NTransit integrate seamlessly to coordinate scheduling and navigation, so drivers can hit the road to their next destination without keying it in. Like any job, unplanned activities sometimes require the driver to do more than steer the truck. This new system creates accountability by allowing drivers to communicate what they accomplished on the road. That way, they are compensated for any miles and non-driving activities beyond what was initially planned.
Initial feedback has revealed the Platform Science and Walmart collaboration has increased driver satisfaction, according to the release. The retailer will continue improving and evolving the onboard systems based on that feedback, from both drivers and store associates.