A Fresh Approach to Driver Performance Management

The Challenge

Roberts Bakery was founded in 1887 and began life as a grocery store, but one that sold freshly baked bread to the residents of Northwich in Cheshire.

Fast forward to now and it is the fourth biggest supplier of branded bread in the UK and is a local landmark in Northwich. Everyone in the area knows its iconic cooling towers, with glass walls that show the freshly baked loaves whizzing around on their conveyor belts.

Roberts Bakery continues to use the finest ingredients to produce delicious bread and other baked goods and now delivers far and wide across the UK to convenience stores, large multiples and also food service customers.

With more than 2000 customers Roberts Bakery has a large and varied fleet – at any point 50 to 60 vehicles are on the road. Because it is dealing with a fresh product with such a short shelf life, and because there are such a varied mix of customers, at times the production team sets the schedule in order to meet customer requirements. This can prove challenging for the transport team, which requires real-time oversight of the fleet and flexibility to meet demand.

With baked goods rolling out of the oven 24/7 the challenge is to deliver them to shelves as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible. Top priority is to ensure it’s still as soft and fluffy when it reaches the customers’ table as the moment it came off the conveyer belt.

The approach

Working with Microlise, Roberts Bakery deployed Fleet Performance and Journey Management.

Fleet Performance is enabling managers to monitor driving through an A to G rating system. This can be assessed and compared via league tables on criteria such as idling, acceleration,
braking, cornering, cruise control usage and speed. These findings enable driver training to be targeted effectively and for transport managers to manage by exception.

Roberts Bakery has also made the Microlise Driver Performance Management (DPM) app available to all of the 160+ drivers, giving them access to their own scores via a smartphone app.

The app, available on all Android and IOS smartphones, motivates drivers to monitor their own performance, also adding a healthy dose of competition with colleagues.

Meanwhile, Journey Management is also in use across the Roberts bakery fleet to monitor the status of trips against schedule, in real-time, as routes unfold – facilitating the delivery of proactive customer service. It also improves planning through “planned vs actual” route comparison, which feeds back into Paragon Routing and Scheduling where it
can be used to implement smarter, more efficient routes in the future.

The Microlise Remote Digital Tachograph Download module has also been deployed enabling Roberts Bakery to easily manage its drivers’ hours compliance whilst reducing administration time.

The Result

Roberts Bakery has seen a 44% reduction in engine idling, which has translated into the best part of 5000 litres of fuel in a year. There has been a reduction in road traffic accidents which correlates directly with the introduction of Microlise.

“I think that the Microlise Driver Performance Management app has helped us promote a better, safer, more efficient driving culture within our 160 drivers. This is purely because we’re giving them data, we’re giving them information that they’ve never had before,” said Chris Juster, Distribution Manager, Roberts Bakery.

“In terms of the app, has it done what we wanted it to do in its first 12 to 18 months? Yes, absolutely. As a result have we realised what we wanted, which is the fuel saving and the fact that we are paying for our subscription to Microlise? Yes we have,” added Chris.