With a 40-year track record, Dunn Tire sells, delivers and services approximately 24 brands of tires for consumers and wholesale customers. Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, the company has 31 retail stores and four distribution centres located throughout the state of New York and in Erie, Pennsylvania. Through its wholesale division, Dunn Tire serves 2,800 wholesale customers.
For more than 40 years, Dunn Tire has embraced change to survive and thrive. So when the economy took a downturn, Dunn Tire was ready – maintaining its retail sales while growing its wholesale business. Vince Wagner, Director of Distribution, credits the company’s success to an extensive product portfolio and responsive distribution system. As customer demands have increased so has the unpredictable nature of the tire business. The vast majority of Dunn Tire’s sales come in autumn and winter months, yet, weather can turn a busy season into a slow one. “We had a very mild winter last year, which hurt our winter tire business,” said Wagner. “Something totally unexpected in New York, much less in Buffalo!”
"To meet our customers’ demands, we need more and more flexibility in our operations"
- Vince Wagner
Pricing pressure was another major challenge. More and more, consumers are shopping for the lowest prices these days. “To remain competitive, we look for ways to improve efficiency,” said Wagner. “Our contract was expiring so we took the opportunity to look at other providers and systems.”
Wagner wanted to consolidate Dunn Tire’s services into a single, integrated tracking and messaging system. He examined four other companies and what they had to offer, including Fleet Complete. “We strongly considered Fleet Complete based on our company’s positive experience with its partner, AT&T wireless services,” said Wagner. “We selected Fleet Complete since it offered everything we wanted – and at a competitive price.”
Dunn Tire has improved the management of its 71 delivery trucks and drivers with Fleet Complete Fleet Tracker. Working with the Fleet Complete application, Garmin™ navigation units provide drivers with the latest delivery schedules and assistance in driving directions when needed. Also, dispatchers are able to easily communicate with drivers using text messaging to enforce safety standards and enhance customer service.
"We not only know where the truck is, we now have access to all sorts of helpful data about its operation. For example, we know when the engine – not just the key – is turned on and off for monitoring idle time and fuel usage. We are also alerted when a driver exceeds the speed limit or floors the gas pedal, and that’s just a few of its capabilities."
- Vince Wagner
Monitoring truck operations
Dunn Tire has a Safety First program – something Wagner takes seriously. “We occasionally get complaints from people about a driver’s driving,” said Wagner. “With Fleet Complete, we can access reports that help us truly understand the situation. It helps us proactively coach our drivers; now we don’t wait to get a complaint before taking action to correct drivers’ actions.”
Using the Fleet Complete Fleet Tracker application, Dunn Tire dispatchers monitor their trucks and drivers in real-time, capturing data like engine on/off status, battery voltage, harsh braking, rapid acceleration and hard cornering. “Fleet Complete also has posted speed limits for most major highways pre-loaded in the system,” said Wagner. “The assigned warehouse dispatcher gets an alert when a driver has exceeded the speed limit or, let’s say, gone more than five miles over the speed limit. With immediate notification, we can contact the driver to curtail any potential problems.”
Wagner also intends to monitor the fleet’s engine idling times. While some trucks can be loaded in five minutes, others take much longer. “I want to know about the engines that idle for more than five minutes,” explained Wagner. “We can get significant fuel and cost savings by making simple modifications to drivers’ driving habits – no jack-rabbit starts, speeding and excessive engine idling.”
"Fleet Complete will help us control our insurance rates as we continue to practice safe driving behaviors."
- Vince Wagner
Tracking mileage for tax reports
This was once a manual, time-consuming task at Dunn Tire. Before the Fleet Complete solution, Wagner would collect drivers’ mileage logs and summarize them for Dunn Tire’s controller. “Fleet Complete saves us time and helps to ensure the accuracy of our reports,” said Wagner. “It’s also fair to say that Fleet Complete will help us control our insurance rates as we continue to practice safe driving behaviors.”
Fleet Complete helps dispatchers stay on top of deliveries
“When customers call asking about their deliveries, our dispatchers pull up the truck’s location on the Fleet Complete portal,” added Wagner. “It takes a matter of seconds, and our customers appreciate knowing the truck is five minutes away.” Wagner stressed the importance of another capability, offered by Fleet Complete Fleet Tracker – its integration with a Garmin navigation unit in each truck. “This function was one of my major requirements for the new solution,” said Wagner. “We will have the ability to input truck delivery schedules into Fleet Complete and it uploads the information into each truck’s Garmin unit, making our process more efficient,” explained Wagner.
Equipped with Garmin units, drivers can now get text messages from dispatchers, no longer relying solely on their cell phones. “The Garmin system is invaluable,” said Wagner. “With the new Fleet Complete and Garmin system, we intend to phase out the use of cell phones in the majority of our trucks for a savings of about $14,000 a year.”
Driver turnover can also be high for Dunn Tire. With the Garmin units in place, new drivers get driving directions to unfamiliar locations. Also, different drivers drive different trucks each day. When the next driver jumps into a truck to make a delivery, he uses the Garmin unit to log in. “Before, if I needed to contact a driver, I had to find out who was scheduled to drive, look up his cell phone number and place the call,” explained Wagner. “Now, I just send a text message to the truck’s Garmin unit, using its Garmin identification number. It’s much quicker and I know the driver receives it.”
"In the future, we plan to have our drivers scan the delivery tickets. This will immediately send back a signal advising of ‘real time’ delivery confirmation. Fleet Complete will be able to tie all this together for us. It’s a ‘complete’ solution, giving us all we need and more."
- Vince Wagner
In the future, Wagner plans to integrate the Fleet Complete application with the company’s warehouse dispatching system, making the scheduling process even more efficient. Delivery confirmations can also be automated with the Fleet Complete application. “Now I can see when trucks depart, which triggers the invoicing process,” said Wagner. “In the future, we plan to have our drivers scan the delivery tickets. This will immediately send back a signal advising of ‘real time’ delivery confirmation. Fleet Complete will be able to tie all this together for us. It’s a ‘complete’ solution, giving us all we need and more.”