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Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

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Farrall’s invests to save fuel, money and the environment

Farrall’s Transport has invested in Dynafleet, Volvo Trucks’ online Transport Information System, to bring about significant fuel savings.  This will result in the most efficient service for Farrall’s customers, a reduced environmental footprint as well as a major benefit to the bottom line.

Any fuel efficiencies that a transport fleet operator can make will be magnified due to the massive cost of fuel – it requires only a 1 mpg improvement on a vehicle, which will generally achieve about 8 mpg, to produce a 10 per cent saving on the fuel bill.

This is exactly what Farrall’s has achieved since using Volvo’s web- based fleet management system. It has helped the company step up from a fleet average of 8.6 to 9.6 mpg, which adds up to very satisfying £100,000 a year saving on fuel.

“Given that our bottom line fuel bill amounts to over £1 million a year – fuel is our biggest bill after wages – this represents a substantial saving,” said Mike Farrall, Managing Director of Farrall’s Transport. “This means that Dynafleet not only pays for itself but it also helps to fund other key investments in our business, such as IT systems, and helps perpetuate improved efficiency through a driver performance bonus scheme.”

This positive outcome stems from the determination of Farrall’s to reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicles across its entire fleet and to improve the company’s environmental footprint. This is a core feature of the company’s efficiency programme that encompasses training and investing in people. “We wanted to invest in a system that allows us to measure the impact of driving style on fuel consumption,” said Mike Farrall. “Our fleet is predominately Volvo so it makes sense to source such a system from the company that should know its vehicles better than anybody.”

Farrall’s has phased in the implementation of Dynafleet technology gradually over the last 2 years. It now gives the transport manager a real-time view of fuel consumption, service intervals and driver times as well as current locations of the vehicles in the fleet. This means the transport manager has the clear and accurate information needed to make the right decisions.

Much of the data derives from the drivers’ driving style. The system’s rich functionality includes metrics on activities that can put pressure on the engine – such as the amount of time the vehicle is: left ticking over (idling time); being driven in the ‘green band’ on the revs; coasting on the automatic gear box; using cruise control; or is in top gear.

Dynafleet produces a report that, based on these metrics, gives the individual driver either a green (meaning good) or a brown (could do better) mark for each metric, and prescribes an ‘overall percentage score’. Every Monday the results are processed and used to compose a league table on how the drivers are performing.

The Transport Manager will call the drivers in for feedback briefings using the table, which will also be used to base decisions on whether drivers may require further training. Any advice from the Transport Manager, who has many years of experience behind the wheel, is well received. Drivers at the top of league table are also called in to review their figures and the telematics are used for quarterly reviews for all drivers.

The tables take into account important variables such as the percentage of time that the vehicle has been driven with a heavy load – reported by an onboard weight monitor.

To avoid ‘apples and pears’ comparisons, drivers are categorised in terms of the types of journeys they are completing: either long trips across the length and breadth of the country, local shunts or night trips on clear roads.

“Overall, Dynafleet provides our company with an essential monitoring tool to measure our drivers’ performance and to ensure they are driving as efficiently and safely as possible,” said Mike Farrall.

However, getting quality data from the system is one thing; reacting to it is another, as Mike Farrall points out: “To get drivers to deliver fuels savings you have to understand the person and how to get the best out of them. Companies can often fail to realise the HR issues.”

In addition to the feedback briefings, Farrall’s has incentivised its drivers to produce fuel savings through the introduction of a driver performance bonus scheme and has also established an apprenticeship academy for improving skills across the business. This includes training based around Dynafleet results, helping drivers to achieve targets. “If we can help our drivers attain their targets and gain their bonus, it’s a wise investment for us to make,” said Mike Farrall.

Improving driver performance is just one aspect of increasing the fuel efficiency of the fleet. Using the right vehicle for the job and ensuring that the vehicles are kitted-out with appropriate energy saving devices can also make a significant difference to fuel bills.

Innovative measures include fitting Spraydown mud flaps; fitting lift axles on trailers to reduce rolling resistance and aerodynamic aids such as diffusers on the front and back of trailers. Wind deflectors that diffuse the drag down the side of the trailer can also produce results.

Bottom line mpg figures will fluctuate due to variances between vehicles – newer models will better the mpg of 10 year old units. The load being hauled and the weather conditions are variables that cannot be controlled, but driver style – the biggest factor in fuel efficiency – certainly can. So it is vital to encourage the driver to drive the vehicle correctly.

“The way drivers drive their vehicles will make a great deal of difference to fuel bills and, of course the environment,” said Mike Farrall. “As we have seen from the figures, any incremental gains that can be achieved across an entire fleet of vehicles over the course of a year will add up to significant overall savings and environmental benefits.

“We are reaping the benefits from using the information collected via Dynafleet – whether it is data on the vehicle, the driver or the load being hauled. But importantly, our customers can see that we are taking environmental issues seriously, as many of them have KPIs relating to carbon footprints. We can communicate this information to our customers directly via a dashboard on the Farrall’s Transport web page.”

Mike Farrall concluded: “Implementing Dynafleet is a significant investment for a medium sized company such as Farrall’s Transport. However, the rewards are considerable, both in terms of the financial savings to the company and the improvement in environmental performance of our business, and we believe that achieving this aim puts us ahead of the curve for medium sized logistics companies.”

Article source:,-money-and-the-environment/