Heron Foods, the independent grocery retailer whose 240 stores are located throughout the North of England and the Midlands, have renewed their contract with Verilocation Tracking Solutions which, says the company, will give them a further 3 years of all-encompassing telematics control for their 70-strong vehicle fleet. Head of Logistics, Karl Dawson, is in no doubt regarding the value of the telematics system:
“We deliver round-the-clock from various supply points to our UK stores network and of course this presents numerous logistics and operational challenges. The suite of telematics modules installed by Verilocation plays a key role in helping to manage the fleet and most importantly, the control and reporting systems enable us to maintain 100% compliance.”
GPS tracking enables Heron to keep tabs on each vehicle from a single control point while quickly and easily allocating routes and schedules – often at a moment’s notice. At the same time, Heron are able to monitor each individual driver’s performance to check for any irregularities such as harsh braking, over revving, speeding or idling. The result being that any bad habits can be quickly overcome on a one-to-one basis – a plus for safety and fleet efficiency.
In addition to the CANbus vehicle reporting, Heron is able to view the inside temperature of each refrigerated vehicle to ensure that temperature regimes and set points are maintained. This can be particularly useful when operating multi-drops in hot weather and should the need arise, a message can be sent to the driver to take corrective action.
Central to the company’s stringent VOSA compliance is the automatic digital tachograph downloading facility: Secure and encrypted tacho data is transferred direct to third-party company, TruTac, for analysis via Verilocation’s in-house servers. This removes the requirement for information transfer between the office and each driver, thereby eliminating the potential for any infringement.
To assist with vehicle security and disputes arising from traffic incidents, Heron use Verilocation’s forward and rear facing 3G and CCTV camera systems which provide a continuous live feed to the traffic office.
Each element of the package, adds Karl Dawson, works well together to give us tight control over the fleet. Effectively, we have a bird’s eye view with the ability to adjust where necessary at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, the service we receive is second to none – another important factor which contributes to a smooth and efficient operation and certainly one which lies behind our decision to further develop our working relationship with Verilocation.”
Heron Foods now employs over 3,000 people and was ranked twelfth by turnover in The Grocer magazine’s survey of the top fifty independent grocery retailers (The Grocer magazine 13th March 2014) based on turnover in the year to 31st March 2014.
In 2009 the company moved away from its cold store and warehouse operation in West Hull to a purpose built facility, measuring 270,000 square feet, in Melton, East Yorkshire, a strategic move designed to enable the Company to continue with its ambitious growth plans.
Verilocation was established in 1999 and remains a family owned business with no external shareholders. The company provides a wide range of bespoke programmes to enhance vehicle fleet efficiency with improved management control, including: Vehicle and trailer tracking using GPS; temperature monitoring for food distribution; full CANbus engine management system interface; geofencing; data retrieval and storage; driver behaviour monitoring; real-time tachograph monitoring; driver ‘dashboard’ control systems.
Fleet management control packages can be installed without interruption to existing traffic office arrangements and contracts are typically available from 3 to 5 years. Verilocation also provides a one-to-one technical helpline for all customers.