With donations coming from across Southern California, the Temecula food bank relies on its new Volvo semi tractor to get them to their warehouse. The new system not only protects this valuable asset, but is helping them be more efficient in their distribution operation.
It’s 10:00 am in Temecula, California. There’s a line of trucks and vans outside Western Eagle Foundation’s warehouse, one of the largest food banks in Southern California. The queued vehicles are awaiting their distributions of food to take to a variety of facilities that provide it to those in need. That number is large, and growing.
In a way it’s a family business. Todd Sieja, Western Eagle’s CEO, took over from his father, Robert, 15 years ago.
“We serve communities from San Diego to Riverside, and up to L.A.,” said Sieja. “We provide food to churches and smaller local food banks.”
The organization recently acquired a Volvo semi tractor and two refrigerated trailers for picking up bulk food from the wide variety of donor businesses that support Western Eagle. Each morning, the truck makes it’s way across miles of freeway to gather bulk donations of food and other goods from companies like CostCo and Macy’s, and many others.
“The truck is also part of our distribution system,” added Sieja. “It hauls the sorted food down to San Diego for larger distributions.”
That truck is an important part of their operation. Realizing the risk of losing such an important asset, Western Eagle reached out to GPSTrackIt, one of their corporate sponsors.
“This was what they call a ‘no-brainer’,” said GPSTrackIt’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Steven Deeble. “I put together a proposal to the company and our owner, John Stull, didn’t hesitate to donate our Fleet Manager system.”
The Fleet Manager system tracks vehicles equipped with a GPS device. If the truck is ever stolen, its movements can be monitored for rapid recovery.
“We considered how many people benefit from this one vehicle,” added Deeble. “It’s phenomenal. The impact of losing it would be devastating. We support Western Eagle in other ways, but this is our area of expertise. We were happy to help.”
Fleet Manager has much more to offer Western Eagle than just the peace of mind of knowing the truck is protected.
Joni Beckman works with the drivers to plan their daily routes.
“I set up the pick-ups for the driver each day, but very often it changes after he leaves,” said Beckman. “When a donor calls and wants a last minute pick-up, I can look at Fleet Manager on my computer and see exactly where my truck is, and if he’s able to pick-up at that location at that time. In the past, I was calling the driver numerous times a day to find out exactly where he was. Now I can just look at my screen and see.”
Steve Johnson, Western Eagle’s Warehouse Manager, is also a fan of Fleet Manager.
“I appreciate the ability to instantly know where my truck is and the progress he has made on his route,” said Johnson. “By calculating stop times and down time at each location, we’ve increased productivity.”
A geofence set up around the warehouse alerts him to incoming loads with a text message to his cell phone.
“Steve’s crew has to unload the truck,” added Sieja. “This way if the driver’s running late because of traffic or delays at a donor location, he can have his guys stay to unload.”
“This is truly a win-win,” concluded Deeble. “This is the perfect illustration of how we help for-profit businesses streamline their operations and improve their customer service. And by helping Western Eagle, we are helping to provide food to thousands of people across the southland who might otherwise not be able to provide for their families.”