Running a delivery service presents the daily challenge of completing a certain number of deliveries — with limited drivers. At The Throne Depot, a portable toilet provider located near Boston, all 14 of its delivery trucks are on the road moving its 2,100 portable restrooms and toilets to provide relief at construction, home improvement, and special event sites.
“During the summer, our drivers can deliver up to 70 toilets in one day,” says Michael Cormier, co-owner of The Throne Depot. “On average, drivers make 40 to 50 stops per day. Route density is key for us. We want to deliver the toilets in the most efficient way.”
Founded in 2007, The Throne Depotpicks up and drops off portable toilets, as well as cleans and maintains them at job sites. The delivery fleet consists of Hino 268A trucks and smaller Hino 195 cabovers. Each truck can fit two to 10 toilets, while trailers can carry an additional 12 toilets.
Cormier, a former Hino dealer himself, buys the trucks new from a Hino dealer. The chassis cab is then shipped to the body builder, where it takes about three months to build the customized truck body. The body can last two lifecycles. If an engine blows, Cormier says he has to buy a new chassis and then swap the truck body.
A More Robust System
To make sure drivers were using their time efficiently, The Throne Depot switched from a cell phone-based GPS tracking system to a telematics system with more features.
With the previous system, Cormier couldn’t review tracking data to see where drivers had been, nor could he receive real-time alerts. Additionally, Cormier says drivers figured out that turning off their cell phones would disable the tracking feature.
The Throne Depot switched to Verizon Connect (formerly Fleetmatics). Verizon Connect’s Reveal software allows Throne Depot’s office employees and drivers to work from the same data. In the office, the software is available on all the desktops. With the Live Map, dispatchers can see where all the drivers are in real time; they don’t need to call the drivers for an update on route status.
Additionally, if a customer calls and needs an emergency delivery, the dispatcher can see which driver is closest to make that last-minute delivery, according to Cormier.
Reveal’s route replay has come in handy to retrace a driver’s route. “A customer called and claimed that the driver never showed up,” says Cormier. “With the route replay feature, we were able to see the exact time that the driver dropped off the toilets and how long the driver was there making the delivery.”
Reveal also monitors driving behavior while behind the wheel, including incidents of speeding, hard braking, and idling, and sends alerts when these incidents occur. For Cormier, the most helpful alert identifies high levels of idle time.
“Idle time ties up our drivers as well as [uses] extra fuel,” says Cormier. “If a driver loses an hour by getting stuck at a construction site, it can mess up his routing schedule and he might not be able to finish all of that day’s deliveries.”
Installed on drivers’ tablets, the software provides directions and helps create more efficient routes. Cormier recalls an instance in which one driver didn’t get clear directions and drove 45 miles to the wrong town, taking the truck out of service for several hours.
Boston’s construction boom has expanded the need for portable toilets. Cormier recently added 500 toilets and has three new trucks on the way. With that growth, creating more efficient routes and reducing stops becomes even more critical.
“With the telematics, we have been able to decrease total miles traveled,” he says.