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m.logistics Magazine | Mar/April 2009 | Small fleet, big gains – the telematics dividend

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Small fleet, big gains – the telematics dividend

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Martin Brown, Taylor Transport: 'Most of drivers have a professional approach, and want to improve'

This issue of m.logistics includes a major feature on truck makers' telematics systems – but how do they perform in real life? Taylor Transport has a story to tell about real savings

Whilst a lot of emphasis in the telematics market tends to be placed on the benefits on offer to large transport fleets, there can be plenty of attractions in small operations, too.

For proof of this, you need look no further than Taylor Transport, a nine-vehicle haulage concern based at Perth in Scotland. The company started using the latest version of Volvo Trucks' Dynafleet Online system two and a half years ago, and transport manager Martin Brown says the savings are already clear.

He calculates that the fleet now uses 1,250 fewer gallons of fuel than before, saving £6,500. It has also been able to improve productivity by 10 per cent.

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Dynafleet Online offers several fuel-monitoring options, including detailed driver data analysis and fuel consumption reports. The on-board data capture unit shows the fuel tank levels, fuel consumption rates, driving times, idling times and time spent in cruise control.

Average fuel consumption for the fleet has risen from 7.3 mpg to 8.35 mpg, Martin Brown reports. Moreover, he can now go online to monitor exactly how each of the drivers and vehicles is performing.

'Most of drivers have a professional approach, and want to improve,' he says. 'They don't even have to go on a training course. The Dynafleet apackage includes an online e-learning package that shows them the effects a change of driving style can have on behaviour.'

Dynafleet also displays whether a truck is fully loaded or not, and it is by taking advantage of this feature that Taylor Transport has been able to boost productivity. Now that the office team know the exact location of all the vehicles in the nine-strong fleet, when a collection request comes in, the company is able to despatch nearby vehicles with spare capacity rather than having to send a new one from base. This cuts empty running, and also maximises drivers' available hours.

'It gives us more earning potential from the vehicles for the same time worked,' Martin Brown says. 'For a small fleet such as ours, that is a big gain.'

Brown says that even allowing for the cost of fitting and running the system, he is in credit. Costs so far are around £8,145, including the cost of retrofitting Dynafleet to three trucks already in the fleet. Against that figure, you have to set the savings. The company calculates that it has saved £11,400 already in fuel alone, without taking into account the efficiency gains.

'The savings are ongoing. It's an extremely user-friendly system that allows us to keep very close control of our costs.'

When Taylor's Volvo dealer first introduced the company to Dynafleet, the company hoped to see a real difference in running costs, and it looks as though this hope has been satisifed.

'With fully detailed information on vehicle performance, operational control has improved, and we've seen overall gain of eight to ten per cent in efficiency,' Brown reports.

'That doesn't just mean better fuel performance. The system also helps us manage our downtime in the most effective way – and that's a real benefit.'


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