Longtime and valued Aim Integrated Logistics customer Family Express, an award-winning Indiana convenience store chain, was looking for a way to overhaul their delivery process. They had a primary goal in mind, which was to improve the quality of life for their drivers through safety and scheduling, triggering a collaborative effort to reimagine their delivery process and put it into action.
First, Family Express wanted to shift its delivery times for its 70-plus locations. The original schedule had Aim-Family Express drivers beginning their routes around 3 p.m. with the last driver sometimes returning as late as 2 a.m. “With those routes they’re missing dinner with their families; they’re not home when the kids come home from school; they’re not home when their spouses get off work,” said Dimitri Olympidis, Vice President, Central Enterprises & Marketing Liaison to Operations at Family Express. “So, at the top of the list, quality of life was one of the things that we were able to improve by shifting when we deliver.”
Second, but no less important, was finding a way to make significant improvements to safety. To do this, eliminating drivers having to run product up and down a ramp—sometimes upwards of 30 times per store—was a key focus.
The idea for a solution to this problem came after seeing a Pepsi driver at one of their stores take a full load, which had been palletized at the warehouse beforehand, down a lift and straight to the door. Management at Family Express decided they could harness this method to create a safer, more efficient procedure of their own and would need Aim’s help to actualize it.
“Aim brought in a lot of their experience from some of their other accounts coupled with all these wild, crazy ideas that we had,” said Olympidis, “and we were able to develop a system that eliminated that ramp altogether, and now everything goes off on a lift gate. So, that in itself improved the driver situation.”
A big piece of implementing this new approach was switching the Family Express fleet from refrigerated straight trucks to tractors and trailers.
Jessica Deane, Aim Director of Marketing, chatted with Dimitri Olympidis, Vice President, Central Enterprises & Marketing Liaison to Operations at Family Express, about the Aim-Family Express partnership and how it recently evolved.
Making that equipment switch also required a different class of driver. “This commanded a little bit more money,” said Olympidis, “but with the efficiencies that we were able to realize, we were able to afford that higher wage.” “Whether it was from the safety perspective, from the driver perspective, from the Family Express perspective or the Aim perspective,” continued Olympidis, “what we had done had been better, and so it really was a win-win for everyone involved.”
Aim knows there is no one-size-fits-all, industry-wide answer to transportation, so being adaptable and ever-evolving is part of Aim’s foundational core. This understanding of needing to be fluid and collaborative in our approach to doing business is why, at Aim, customer relationships are often referred to as partnerships, always aiming for those win-win solutions, like the one cited by Mr. Olympidis.
When asked if he would recommend Aim, Olympidis said: “If you’re looking to continue a great system, they’re going to be great, but if you’re looking to improve a great system to make it an even better one, which is what we’re always doing at Family Express, they have proven themselves to be a great partner in that process.”