Water is a necessity, not a commodity. That’s why, during the COVID-19 pandemic, business operations at Primo Water continued to flow.
If anything, much of our activity was accelerated as demand for home delivery services increased. But we also needed to make sure our refill and exchange locations were constantly stocked, and that we were primed and ready to renew our corporate services when offices began to re-open.
Optimizing fleets to cut costs and support sustainability goals
The global water delivery industry is a flourishing market, projected to grow from $21 billion in 2021 to $27 billion in 2025, according to the Beverage Marketing Council. And we’re a major worldwide player in the industry, with our services spanning production, transportation, and the end customer experience.
On any given day, we have over 2500 delivery trucks on the road in North America alone. Keeping track of such a transient and far-reaching fleet is a complex task, which is why we invested in MetTel’s Mobile Device as a Service (MDaaS) offering that automatically provides mobile technology and wireless connectivity when and where we need it.
We wanted to ensure seamless connectivity and mobility across our entire network, which has transformed how we transport water for both our enterprise (office delivery) and residential (home delivery) customers.
For example, our iDriver project is a custom-built program that equips all our vehicles with sophisticated in-cab telematics. This allows fleet managers to track drivers, optimize their routes in real-time should they run into traffic or inclement weather, and even reduce time-consuming and taxing driving maneuvers, such as left-hand turns.
Also, because we own the last mile of the customer journey from a supply chain perspective, we hold a position of responsibility around our impact on the environment. As such, the efficiency gains afforded by our mobile fleet technology not only help us decrease our mileage and save on fuel costs, they also reduce our carbon footprint and support our ESG goals.
IoT investment enhances customer experience across the board
We’re also investing in more IoT applications, to both improve our business operations from a transport and delivery perspective, but also to enhance the customer experience while actively using our products.
Our renewed focus on our IoT management enables us to pick and choose which data insights we collect, depending on whether our customer is corporate or residential. For example, for corporate customers, we mainly track flow meters in order to detect potential leaks and provide more holistic information that helps businesses reduce their environmental impact.
At a residential level, we know customers often want granular detail and more control over individual aspects of their water usage. They still want visibility on potential leaks, but we also provide them detailed usage stats, exact temperature information, and when they’re running low on water, so they can quickly and easily make changes to their consumption.
This data not only enhances their own experience by granting more autonomy, it allows us to constantly refine the service we provide. For example, if our analytics tells us a customer has increased their water usage recently, we’ll send automated prompts that recommend an extra bottle is added to their next delivery, or to upgrade to a larger container so they’re being more efficient with their use of plastic.
Technology partnerships that deliver strategic value
My role as global CIO is to make sure we can sell water as easily as possible. I often tell my team that we sell water, not technology, meaning we must remain cautious of how complex and technical our solutions become.
That’s why we’re so selective regarding our technology partners. We focus on relationships that will enhance our business, strategically and for the long-term – to ensure our business continues growing in our digital-first world, keeps providing our customers with safe drinking water, and contributes towards a healthy, sustainable future.