Crystal Ball and Primo Drinks have worked together to transform the wholesalers’ fleet operation. Crystal Ball's SmartCam even helped Primo Drinks to resolve a distressing road traffic incident with one of their employees whilst out on the road.
Based in Stockport, Primo Drinks is the UK’s largest family run drinks wholesaler, specialising in alcoholic drinks.
When you have a business that stretches over half the country from six depots, making often very last-minute deliveries to companies in need of stock, it’s essential to be able to keep control of your fleet.
That’s an issue Primo Drinks had, a rapidly expanding wholesaler of supplies to bars, restaurants and hotels from across the Midlands to the North of England.
It took the decision to equip its 60-plus fleet of cars and vans with Crystal Ball’s advanced telematics, intelligent camera and workforce management systems, and the results have been stark: there have been improvements in efficiency, safety, vehicle wear and tear and delivery times, alongside reductions in insurance premiums, administration and stock damage thanks to the introduction.
Brian Wright, Primo Drinks’ CEO, explains: “Because Crystal Ball has all these interfaces, we can integrate it into every part of our business, not only making drivers and the roads they travel on safer, but allowing us to see what’s going on out on the road, speeding up claims, reducing premiums, helping us look after stock better, aiding the payroll department, reducing fuel usage and making us more operationally efficient. I don’t know of any other system that offers such a complete set of tools.”
Typically, a company will place an order and Primo Drinks will deliver as soon as possible, and sometimes they can need stock replenishment quickly if there’s been a major event, such as the recent FIFA World Cup.
With Crystal Ball’s systems, Primo Drinks are able to supply their customer with haste, but not speed. Because driving too fast not only puts the vehicles and drivers under stress, and uses more fuel, but endangers the valuable cargo.
Primo Drinks CEO Brian Wright tells us about how Crystal Ball helped Primo Drinks handle a serious road traffic accident with one of their employees: “We had an incident very recently, when a stolen car came around the corner too fast, swerved, lost control, missed the car in front and spun, hitting our van, which was only six months old.
“It was a very serious incident: our driver was trapped although fortunately not seriously injured, but air ambulances were involved for the occupants of the stolen car, and the crash was all recorded on the Crystal Ball SmartCam.
“Because it was a stolen car and the nature of the incident, your claim has to go through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, and because we had the video evidence and telematics data, it was clear cut and sorted very quickly. Without that evidence, it would have dragged on and taken many months, and been very time consuming before any resolution was reached.
“Straight away, they asked for the footage, and we sent that to them and they said ‘That’s easy, it ticks the box’, and less than two months later we have been paid out”.
Insurance premiums are now higher than they have ever been: according to the Association of British Insurers, the average motor premium paid rose by 9% in 2017 to a record high, and the average cost of motor cover has leapt by 29% since 2014.
“The roads are getting busier and more chaotic, and the number of accidents are on the rise, so it requires a proactive approach, working hand-in-hand with your telematics provider and your insurance company to ensure that the system you have in place works for you and them. Just doing nothing will undoubtedly see costs rise.” Crystal Ball’s MD, Raj Singh explains.
“Before we had SmartCam installed, if there was doubt it was an easy option for the insurance company to say, ‘we’ll pay 50/50’ and that of course would affect our no-claims bonus.”
“It’s so precise, and all the driving data and imagery is recorded and verifiable. We’ve been monitoring our fleet since last year, but one incident has paid for fitting it to the entire fleet. Since we fitted SmartCam, all of our claims have been resolved a lot faster because of its precision and the amount of data and video it provides, and crucially these incidents don’t end up unresolved in ‘claims pending’.
“For example, if there’s an incident and they are not sure of liability, insurance companies will put it against your account and say ‘Well, there’s a potential £20,000 claim here’, and if it’s not dealt with and concluded by the end of the year they will say there’s a potential claim pending and will put your premium up because it is not resolved.”
Thanks to SmartCam and Crystal Ball workforce management telematics, Primo Drinks was able to get back to doing what it does best with minimal disruption from the incident, and it has seen its insurance premiums reduced too.
“Because Crystal Ball’s telematics alert us when there are exceptional events, we’re not having to constantly watch our drivers – SmartCam and its array of sensors and tracking does it for us. So for example, if a driver is driving too fast, manoeuvring harshly or steering erratically it alerts us (including generating a video of the driver’s behaviour, sent to us instantly over the mobile network), which in our line of business is incredibly useful: we have vehicles full of glass bottles, and we were always having breakages in the past, but drivers are being more respectful and that’s resulting in fewer breakages too.
“Then there are the advantages of less wear and tear on the vehicles because we are sent alerts for things like harsh braking or hitting kerbs, and the drivers know this will be reported back through the valuable videos and telematics data, so they are driving much more carefully. And it’s slowed everyone down too, which means we are saving fuel as well.”
Embedded within SmartCam’s many functions are the abilities to manage employees, their hours and whether they are driving for work, or privately, and this has helped streamline a major administrative headache Primo Drinks had.
“We had run other sales and stock systems before but they didn’t exactly suit what we needed, so we built our own, and because Crystal Ball has an API interface, so we’ve been able to integrate it into our new Salesforce tool,” says Brian.
“So for example, on reps’ cars, they have to record their private mileage, but now they don’t because when they get into the car in the morning, through SmartCam they clock in, so to speak, press whether it’s business or private mileage, and Crystal Ball automatically creates a monthly report for payroll which has saved hours and hours of work a month.”
The next step will be giving customers the ability to be sent ETAs, so they can track where the vehicle is and the warehouse will work out routes based on efficiency and traffic conditions.
Brian adds: “Crystal Ball has really helped us to make our business even more cost effective and operationally efficient. I’d recommend its SmartCam and workforce management tools to anyone.”
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