The DriveCam Difference
KeHE Distributors, based in Romeoville, Illinois, is a food distributor that provides a vast array of products to more than 30,000 retail customers in the grocery, natural food store, and niche specialty retail channels throughout North America.
As part of KeHE’s ongoing initiative to improve fleet operations, the company implemented the DriveCam program to increase good driving behavior, identify and eliminate problem driving, and reduce risk in its fleet of 250 Class 8 commercial motor vehicles.
The DriveCam Program Decision
There were no significant safety issues that drove KeHE’s decision to initiate the DriveCam program; rather, it was the company’s ongoing commitment to safety.
"We are focused on continuous improvement in our fleet driver safety levels, and chose to implement the DriveCam program over other vendors we were considering,” recalled KeHE transportation safety director Michael Connelly. “We believe it’s good business to run a fleet as safely as possible, and looked at it as an investment in our safety program, as well as in training drivers.
“The DriveCam program uses current technology to help drivers to better themselves,” Connelly continued. “It’s another tool in our toolbox to help us get the safest possible fleet on the roadway.”
Implementing the DriveCam Program
Connelly remembers, “When we began the rollout of the DriveCam program, some drivers felt it was a way we were going to spy on them and make their lives more difficult. But as we explained that it is intended to benefit them, they began to realize the benefits.”
KeHE set up a formal schedule of implementation and held meetings with the drivers in advance of installing the system to explain how the program works, answer any questions, and dispel misperceptions about the system.
With twelve distribution centers throughout the U.S., there were also a dozen KeHE managers across the country to train in the DriveCam program process, to ensure they would be able to study and interpret recorded events and conduct efficient and effective coaching sessions with drivers.
“We were very honest about what they could expect,” said Connelly. “Managing it that way helped us get off on the right foot, with the intention that it’s all about making the driver a better driver, and making the fleet safer.”
The Value of Insight-Based Training
Connelly, who has been in transportation for 23 years with a concentration in safety roles, considers the DriveCam program to be a pivotal investment in KeHE’s safety and training programs.
Connelly explained, “We believe in providing insight-based training. Skills-based and behavior-based training are important, too, but all three are necessary to succeed in fleet safety.”
He believes it is critical to engage insight-based training so that drivers receive the depth of knowledge and understanding of the true nature of the risk involved.
According to Connelly, the DriveCam program fits hand-in-glove with KeHE’s three-fold training philosophy—particularly in that it provides valuable insights that enable drivers to become aware of their safety strengths and weaknesses, and thus develop safer skills and behavior.
“The DriveCam program shows drivers their mistakes before they turn more serious, and allows us to share the information so that others can learn from these mistakes.”
In addition, the DriveCam program provides a tool for KeHE to cultivate driver accountability by enabling access to data and information that it had no prior way of accessing.
“Previously, a driver could make a mistake, and he could be the only person who knew he made it, or perhaps he may have made a mistake without even realizing it,” said Connelly. “Now, with the DriveCam program, we have that knowledge.”
“We get to see how real people manage real-life situations in the real world,” continued Connelly. “It lets us train drivers in a one-on-one fashion, not with a retelling of what happened, but by studying the actual event. We can use it as an insight-based learning tool for that driver and for others as well.”
The DriveCam Program Works
The DriveCam Program quickly revealed a seat belt usage issue that KeHE was previously unaware of; since then, seat belt use has increased significantly. The system also quickly revealed that drivers were using hand-held devices such as GPS systems and cell phones in a manner that was against company policy and causing DriveCam coachable events.
“Where we find it and address it, we see improvements,” said Connelly. As a result, the company is now experiencing fewer coachable events.
The DriveCam program has also already helped KeHE to prove liability in collisions where the company was not at fault. “We had a situation where a driver was hit by another motorist in a van, and the DriveCam program system captured the event,” Connelly said. “The footage showed they hit us, not the other way around. As a result, we avoided litigation.”
“Seeing is believing,” Connelly concludes. “With the DriveCam program, our drivers are seeing more clearly where the risks are, as well as where they need improvement.”
Ultimately, the company says, drivers appreciate the program and its objective to bring drivers home safely.
“That’s a win.”