As a busy haulier, it’s a tall order when you want to reduce fuel costs, streamline tachograph management, improve order productivity and mitigate accident risks in one fell swoop, but that’s exactly what one of our leading hauliers has accomplished, thanks to Fleet Simplicity.
Over the past 25 years, Newry based Surefreight, which has other depots in Heysham and Cardiff, has experienced rapid growth, building its success on providing industry leading services at a competitive price to its customers.
Specialising in haulage, groupage, warehousing and cross channel cargo and with a fleet of 200 vehicles operating across the UK, Ireland and Europe, the company’s drivers make over 1,800 deliveries each day. It’s a challenging business.
With an increasing demand to have goods collected and delivered quickly in quantities from single to multiple pallet loads, competition amongst service providers is fierce. Customers’ expectations are high, with collection and delivery throughout the UK and Ireland within 24 hours being the norm.
The challenge for Surefreight is to maintain that competitive advantage by being able to respond quickly and effectively to customer requirements, stay compliant with stringent LGV regulations and remain competitive to win new business. Before calling on Fleet Simplicity, Surefreight used a very basic system that updated every five minutes, so location information wasn’t accurate in real time.
Fleet Simplicity’s solution comprises:
- TomTom Telematics Link 510 with fuel management & fuel theft detection
- Digital Tachograph integration with remaining driving time and Remote Tachograph download
- TomTom Telematics Pro 7250 Truck Nav
- Integration with Eurika Traffic Management system
- Smart Witness SVC1080- LCA integrated with TomTom Telematics
So what have been the benefits of the package? The benefits are many, says Maureen McSwiggan, General Manager at Surefreight. “It has given us more transparency across our whole operation. Our drivers have embraced the new system and our fuel savings are significant, as are our savings on insurance premiums.
“Before opting for the package, we considered many options, eventually deciding on TomTom, being initially attracted by its reporting capabilities which were thoroughly demonstrated to us by Fleet Simplicity.” She added: “To be honest, it is the first system we have used that has given us meaningful reports and we haven’t looked back since.” So, let’s take a look in detail at the problems encountered by Surefreight and the solutions provided by Fleet Simplicity.
Because drivers often drive a different vehicle from one day to the next, it was difficult to report on actual driver behaviour each month and make drivers accountable for poor driving behaviour. While driver behaviour monitoring included speeding, this didn’t take into consideration road speed limits. The company was also concerned that fuel was being wasted, but Engine Idling was difficult to monitor and overcome.
However, with Fleet Simplicity’s package, driver ID is now taken from the digital tachograph and every driver is scored via TomTom opti-drive, which takes into account idling, speeding, harsh driving and mpg, the result being that harsh driving has been reduced by 48% – and the drivers are completely on board with the new scoring system where everyone is competing to become the ‘driver of the month.’
Accidents can be a nightmare for any haulage company, and costly, too. Surefreight’s insurance premiums doubled over the course of a year because it was difficult to prove accidents were not the drivers’ fault, with the insurance company in many instances deeming claims on a 50:50 basis.
However, with the presence of onboard cameras, Surefreight is now able to view footage of all accidents and this has resulted in the business being able to prove 90% of accidents are not their fault, resulting in significantly less insurance premiums.
At one stage, Surefreight’s fuel consumption had reached an alltime high of £500k per month, so naturally they needed to look at ways of reducing this.
The company identified 1,733 hours idling per month which was costing the business over £4,000 per month. This has now been reduced by over 1,000 hours per month, saving Surefreight £2,500 per month – or, put another way, £30,000 per year!
Over the last year alone, fuel costs have been reduced by 5-6% via improved mpg figures – and visibility of low mpg vehicles has resulted in Surefreight purchasing new trucks to achieve 9-10 mpg as opposed to the old 5-6 mpg.
In the past, deliveries were being allocated via phone or text message and drivers then calculated their own route to deliveries, but the company was concerned efficiencies were not being optimised.
Although Surefreight’s drivers are very experienced, extra time had to be taken to plan routes to avoid low bridges, narrow roads and roads with weight restrictions, and customers were regularly calling Surefreight to get updates on delivery times, with staff having to offer estimates only.
However, Surefreight has now adopted a new traffic management system. Integrating Eurika Software means all jobs are sent directly from the system to the drivers’ truck nav’s. This has helped streamline the business as drivers can now navigate the most effective and efficient route to delivery destinations with the help of live traffic maps.
Fuel and mileage information is also now fed back into the Eurika system by TomTom which assists Surefreight in costing each job, while customer service levels have also increased exponentially, with deliveries being made on time every time – and when a customer calls for a delivery update, the traffic team are able to view TomTom webfleet which tells them an exact ETA.
Previously, Surefreight’s traffic team relied heavily on drivers to update them on where they were during the working day and if they had sufficient driving time remaining to complete a delivery. Tachographs where downloaded manually every weekend – it was a full time job for two members of the admin staff – and then sent off to be analysed. Surefreight needed to know they were being compliant, while at the same time optimising job allocation and ensuring accurate wages were being calculated.
Now, with the package from Fleet Simplicity, Surefreight’s traffic team have full visibility of each driver’s digital tachograph which tells them when they need to take their next break, and how much remaining driving time they have remaining. It means jobs are allocated more efficiently, and Surefreight is alerted to any driver’s hours’ infringements – and, of course, there is less admin work for office staff.
“The Fleet Simplicity package was installed last summer, so we have had plenty of time to evaluate its worth in terms of efficiencies and savings. We have absolutely no regrets,” says Maureen.