Frito-Lay Inc.

Plano, TX

The private fleet operated by Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo Inc., runs 310 million mi. annually to deliver over 900 million cases of snack food products each year. “Our private fleet is a key component of our direct-store delivery system and enables growth and exceptional service levels within our supply chain,” advises Helen Stephens, senior director of transportation. “Our fleet ensures we provide our customers and consumers with the high-quality snacks they expect from Frito-Lay.” 

Getting Frito-Lay’s over 30 brands of popular snacks—including Fritos, Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos and Cracker Jack—to market is accomplished via 28 traffic centers; more than 175 large distribution centers; more than 1,300 small distribution centers (bin facilities) nationwide; a fleet comprising some 1,300 tractors, 3,800 trailers, 3,300 box trucks; and more than 13,500 Class 2-3 delivery trucks.

According to Mike O’Connell, senior director of fleet, Frito-Lay specs all its trucks. The majority are company- owned, with some units on lease occasionally. Maintenance is mostly performed in-house at over 475 maintenance locations that employ 350 technicians.

At the wheel for Frito-Lay are 1,550 tractor-trailer drivers and over 20,000 delivery truck drivers. One of the innovative changes Frito-Lay has embraced is the conversion of many of its Class 6 medium-duty box trucks to all-electric power. To date, 280 electric trucks have been put into service, including 100 added just this year. Going green has not only garnered laurels for Frito-Lay’s environmental leadership, but is saving the company a significant amount in fuel costs.

“The electric-vehicle (EV) program has been a big win for both our fleet goals and for PepsiCo’s overall environmental sustainability commitment,” O’Connell reports. “Frito-Lay’s entire EV program has made a significant impact to our operation by eliminating more than 700,000 gals. of diesel fuel and 12 million tons of GHG emissions annually.

“The EVs are a very visible part of our overall fleet sustainability strategy, and we are also committed to other sustainability programs as well,” points out O’Connell. “For instance, we’re deploying compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors, with 81 set to be on the road by the end of this year, and 100 more planned for 2013.” The CNG units will be run on shorter hauls and he notes that Frito-Lay is building its own fueling station in Beloit, WI, but will partner with public fuel providers at other locations.

“We also continue to deliver significant reductions in fuel usage through technology, business processes and most importantly, our highly engaged driver, fleet and administrative teams nationally,” O’Connell adds.

“Frito-Lay has applied lean-management processes throughout the entire organization with great success,” points out Stephens. “The transportation and fleet operations have evaluated many aspects of the business where the principles of lean management have been applied and then used these learnings to enhance our fleet.”

“Some examples of how lean management has informed fleet decision-making,” remarks O’Connell, “include switching to single-axle tractors, improving rental trailer management, and reducing tire and vehicle repair and maintenance costs.”

As for drivers, turnover, including retirees, at Frito-Lay is roughly 50% lower than the average private fleet rate.

Another example of lean management concerns how Frito-Lay has continued to leverage its centralized TMS system to optimize the network for the past 12 years. “Each year, we refine and enhance the optimization to continue to drive cost out of the network,” explains Stephens. “Part and parcel with that, in the past year we have implemented a new onboard computer system that we have integrated into our optimization, planning and automated driver payroll systems as well. And as part of our dispatch planning system, our drivers leverage an online bidding tool and can receive text or email messages with their awarded runs.

“We strive to leverage advances in modern technology to further enhance processes and tools across the operation,” sums up Stephens, “to ensure our fleet is always providing the best possible service.”


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