How the PepsiCo Frito-Lay Fleet is “Doing More with Less"

William Gruendike, Senior Fleet Capability Manager at PepsiCo Frito-Lay, and Nick Bonfitto, Senior Director of Customer Success at Uptake, sat down last month with the Uptake User Community for a Q&A. They shared best practices in Uptake Fleet and how PepsiCo is putting product insights into action.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Nick: To kick things off, can you talk a little bit about why you got started with Uptake Fleet?

William: With all the data coming off of vehicles in today’s world, we are doing more with less. And that goes for everybody, not just us.

One of our passions is technician efficiency. How can we get those folks home earlier at night to their families? Of course, we also care about saving our dollars, which means we find repairs when they’re small versus waiting until it’s catastrophic and they break down and need to be towed.

Nick: So, PepsiCo saw that need for more efficient maintenance. How did you begin rolling this out to your team?

William: We started with one subclass of truck, our CNG (compressed natural gas) tractors. We were having multiple engine failures per year on that vehicle. The main problem with that was valve recession due to the high cylinder head temperatures on those trucks.

We were able to use all of the information that our telematics service provider (TSP) pulls from our trucks. Our TSP takes that information, feeds it into Uptake, and then Uptake will feed us an insight. So as we looked at valve recession, we wanted to catch that truck before the valve dropped, taking out the piston, etc.

Nick: And in that process of rolling Uptake Fleet out, how were you able to validate what the product was saying on CNGs?

William: In Uptake Fleet, we developed a certain number of parameters that point to valve recession and head failure ultimately. The product was pretty accurate to the point where we were just rolling this out.

I was in Topeka, Kansas at a shop talking to a tech, and just out of the blue, he’s telling me that he’s running the overhead on a CNG tractor. He had it in the dealership twice that month. They ran the overhead a couple of times in the last few months before. It was back in the shop misfiring again.

So I got a hold of our Uptake Fleet product owner to see what pops up. Lo and behold, the product was flagging insights for us. That’s where it started for us — Uptake correlated with what the technician was seeing in the field himself.

From there, we’ve rolled it over to the smaller trucks as well.

Nick: Fantastic. How are you seeing some of your techs use the product?

William: One of the things we’re looking for is high severity insights, basically meaning things that we can intercept before the truck comes back to the shop. As with the CNG, once certain parameters hit, I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that that part is going to fail. And it might be a cylinder head, it might be an alternator, it could be a starter.

Once we get that information down and get that close to one hundred percent, then we can go start changing parts before they even start showing symptoms. If we know an alternator on a certain subclass truck is only going to run two hundred fifty-thousand miles, then we put a work order in the system. We might change it at two hundred or two hundred twenty-five thousand miles to get that high probability part off the truck to increase reliability for us.

Nick: And I think you’re getting into this a bit, but over the past 18 months as you’ve brought on more users and more assets, what are a few specific wins for your group?

William: For us, it’s been DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) levels. Our sprinter platforms are critical when it comes to DEF levels.

We've had trucks come in with insights for low oil pressure. As one specific example, we had a tech go out to the field to change the oil pressure. It was a 12 court system in the truck for oil and we put eight or nine courts in it. So that truck was going to head down the road of imminent failure due to low oil in the engine.

Other than that, we've had trucks saved from low coolant. We found leaks. We found EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) coolers leaking that the driver wasn't reporting. All of that stuff ultimately leads to catastrophic failure, which we've been able to avoid.

Nick: Awesome, changing gears a bit. One of the questions we get the most with customers is about making sure their team is getting as much out of the product as possible. How does your team monitor product use? And then when you see trends or where you see areas of improvement, how are you pushing these through to your team?

William: We’re tracking everything that we see in Uptake in our maintenance program where work orders are created. And we can go look at the Uptake product in a number of different ways — by specific location, region, asset subclass, the truck itself.

Nick: So let’s say you’re in the product.

When I first log into Uptakes Fleet, what are the first two or three pages or things that you're looking at right away? Are you focusing on the KPI cards up top? Are you drilling directly into the insights?

Do you usually have an asset that you want to go look at right away? What's kind of typical for your group?

William: There’s a couple different schools of thought here. We have managers like myself. I look at all sixteen thousand assets. I'm looking for pockets, areas of opportunity, subclasses with opportunity. The one that I pay a lot of attention to is active insights because it filters results by the severity plus the number of insights on that truck. It helps me rank what I'm going to do.

If I have a truck with high severity but only one insight versus a truck that's high severity with six insights, you know which one I'm going to go after first — the one with six insights. And then as we look at fault codes which come directly from our TSP, our GPS devices. If I've got a high number of faults along with the severity or an insight, that is going to help as well. That is part of my ranking process too.

The technician — he's going to dive into what specifically he owns or if he has multiple facilities and he travels, he's going to go look at the facility. He's going to help him prepare for what he's going to run into when he's over there. It gives us pretty good insight as to what's out there. He can stock his truck, parts, and fluids according to what he sees here.

Nick: Do you feel as though every time you're going to the assets of the insights page you're filtering? And is that kind of a best practice that you would recommend for other users when you're going to these pages trying to utilize the filters as much as possible?

William: Yes, because not every user is going to go look at things the same way. So having multiple

filter options really help the user, whether it be a manager or straight down to the technician.

Nick: When you come in here and you click on a specific insight when this widget appears, how are you digesting this information? Are you going straight to the fault? What are you drilling into the asset instead of looking at this insight widget or are you looking at what other insights this asset has had? How do you look at this and decide what action needs to be taken?

William: We normally go directly to the fault plot. This gives us the most information. So it tells us, number one, what the insight is and what it's related to. We just get a mountain of information from our TSP, so we want to pare it down to the simplest common denominator of what's usually causing the problem. And there'll be a number of other faults that are associated with this. But this helps us narrow down the root cause of it. That's usually where we start with Uptake.

Nick: How are you pushing cases into your work order management system?

William: We have automated it with Uptake. Once the technician picks out what they want, all they have to do is push “create a case” in the Uptake product. From there, our maintenance system goes automatically, creates the work order, automatically assigns it to the technician. All the tech does at that point is he goes in, fills out the work order, completes the work, notates everything, documents everything.

Once he completes the work order, all of that information is fed automatically back to Uptake. Uptake does its thing on its side, resolves the created case. We've taken a very manual process and we've automated it. And as we've seen since we've done that, the number of cases we can proactively maintain has skyrocketed.

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William Gruendike is the IMOPS Senior Capability Manager at PepsiCo Frito-Lay. He has over thirty years of experience as a technician and tanker operator, having served as a machinist in a state highway department, started his own trucking company, and worked as a fleet shop mechanic.

Nick Bonfitto is the Senior Director of Customer Success at Uptake, supporting customers in product adoption and use across verticals.