Galvanising drivers was as important as fuel savings

Dairy Fresh trucks

For Dairy Fresh managing director Nick Walker, taking on the EECA Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Program in early 2015 was not only a way to improve the company’s bottom line, it was a vehicle to engage the business to develop a positive and safer driving culture.

Dairy Fresh - galvanising drivers [pdf 149 KB]

Overview

“It is a great tool for galvanising the team,” says Walker. “The fuel savings, whilst pleasing, are not the only driver behind us joining the Programme, it is as much about engaging the whole team, drivers and management and providing best practice for our stakeholders, customers, and the general public.”

In the last 24 months Walker says the company’s freight task has increased by
60% but because 90% of the Dairy Fresh fleet is made up of a combination of 50MAX and other permitted HPMVs, the growth has been accommodated very efficiently.

Since the Programme has been implemented there has been a significant drop in fuel consumption as well as significant drop in drivers exceeding the speed limit.

Each Dairy Fresh truck is driven by three different drivers, so the company has been monitoring the trucks overall performance rather than that of the individual driver.

Walker says that before launching into the implementation of the EECA Programme, the company took a number of months working with TR Group’s EECA approved Fuel Management Advisor (FMA) Greg Barnes to make sure its fuel data was clean, calibrated, and accurate.

“There was quite a bit of background work to ensure the fuel consumption data was accurate to give us a baseline for future comparison,” says Walker. “We were confident we had three months of good data, which would allow us to move forward.”

Another aspect of the Programme that has helped Dairy Fresh, is having its FMA Greg Barnes meet with the team on a monthly basis.

Using an independent person such as Barnes to assist with the implementation and management of the Programme has helped the Dairy Fresh team focus on what needs to be done to achieve its objectives.

In between meetings Barnes is in regular contact with the team providing them with advice, information and guidance, as required.

Walker attributes the relatively immediate success of the fuel efficiency program to the support from management, which has seen two Dairy Fresh drivers become SAFED instructors as part of the process and the regular monthly meetings where the team gets together to discuss progress and agree on what the next initiatives to implement should be.

SAFED driver trainers Ross and Cliff have helped the team of Dairy Fresh drivers to change their approach to their daily milk run to reduce the number of gear changes and over-speeding, and Walker says that everyone is now on the same page, commenting that even the seasoned campaigners have changed their driving habits for the better.

“If anyone struggled with the safer and fuel efficient driver training we certainly put more resource behind them to get them up to the level of their peers,” says Walker.

The commitment of the driving team is something Walker is keen to acknowledge and says the company intends to reward each driver in August as thanks for the excellent results they have achieved so far this year and to reinforce the positive impact they are all making to improved team performance.

As seen in dieseltalk.co.nz