Routesaver Better Manages Time,
Offering Cost Savings
Hoffman Beverage Co. Inc.
in Virginia Beach, Va., a longtime Mickey Truck Bodies customer, became one of the first RouteSaver users when it purchased
three of the trailers in July 2004 and 12 more in February. According to
Kirk Baldwin, vice president of operations and a 30-year veteran of the
company, Hoffman is using the RouteSavers exclusively for convenience store
and drug store delivery, which is reflective of a marketplace dominated by
the convenience channel.
When Hoffman put its first three RouteSavers on the
road last July, it was able to completely eliminate one route. When it put
the 12 newest units in circulation this February, it was able to eliminate
two more routes. “We have been able to redirect some manpower and
eliminate some equipment,” Baldwin explains. “At the same time
the RouteSaver has allowed us to accommodate all the current delivery
requirements of the stores.”
Typically the Hoffman driver will park his truck on the
side of the lot, roll the carts off the back and right into the
store’s front door. The driver has a preprinted ticket so the clerk
seldom has to come out from behind the counter – all of the product
is visible from the carts.
“With the electronic efficiencies of a pre-sell
system and the RouteSaver equipment, the driver leaves the truck once with
the product, and puts it in the store. If the driver sells 100 cases, he
only moves 100 cases,” Baldwin says.
As a Budweiser wholesaler, Hoffman uses
“geographical routing” vs. “full-truck routing,”
mainly because it wants the same driver calling on the same customers on a
regular basis. As Baldwin explains it, “Our people are long-term
employees and they have established good relationships with their
customers. They know their customers, and they can also do some suggestive
selling in addition to the pre-sell. We’re also visiting the stores
more frequently with this pre-sell system, and we feel that will increase
sales. We can still make our deliveries, we can still pack the boxes and do
all the things we need to do, but we can do it in less time and that allows
the driver to put more stops on one truck. It also allows our driver to
serve as a salesperson and a customer service rep.”
The drivers average about 12 stops per day, working
every stop twice a week. “You have to keep in mind that we are a
Budweiser house,” Baldwin says. “We have a 53 percent market
share, and we want to retain our people because they help maintain and grow
that share. This system helps us lengthen the driver’s career.
Experience, customer service and knowledge of the customer are always
important factors to a Budweiser house. We don’t want to send a
different delivery person every time the truck goes out. You have to
consider the driver’s familiarity of the lot, the equipment and the
parking situation – all in addition to his knowledge of the customer.
We want to maintain our good customer relationships, and just as
importantly we want to take care of our drivers.”