Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard telematics technology has been instrumental in helping chilled distribution specialist NV Transport to achieve a remarkable improvement in fuel efficiency that has seen its fleet average rise by 1.8 mpg in less than three years!
A chilled distribution specialist, the operator is part of a family-run business that also includes sister company Madestein UK, one of the country’s most innovative growers of salad crops and herbs.
Chichester-based NV Transport took delivery of its first eight Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units from south coast Dealer Pentagon Commercials in 2014. Today, all but four of its 33 trucks wear three-pointed stars.
NV Transport’s adoption of Actros, and particularly the latest models which have second-generation OM 471 engines and optional Predictive Powertrain Control systems, has certainly contributed to its much-improved economy.
However, while acknowledging that other factors have played a part, Director Steven Zwinkels insisted: “I have no doubt that the application of FleetBoard’s driver and vehicle analysis has been the single most important factor behind our success in raising our fleet average from 8.5 mpg at the beginning of 2014, to 10.3 mpg by the summer of 2016. Given that our trucks typically each cover 185,000 km per year, the savings in diesel costs are obvious.”
The FleetBoard system records and processes technical data from the vehicle, then rates the driver’s style at the wheel. Criteria monitored include speed, braking, stops and idle times with the engine running, and use of the vehicle’s Eco-Roll function. NV Transport uses this information to incentivise its drivers with bonuses, and initiates targeted training where shortcomings in behaviour at the wheel are identified.
“FleetBoard is an invaluable aid to our business and plays a key role in the smooth, efficient operation of the fleet,” confirmed Mr Zwinkels.
NV Transport delivers to supermarkets and food service suppliers throughout the UK. The firm started out as an own account operator but has diversified over the years and today all but a small proportion of the fresh produce it carries is grown by third-party customers.
The operator trialled the Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard system on its first eight Actros for three months, before rolling it out to the rest of the fleet, including other makes of vehicle.
“Drivers were fully briefed and involved in the process of implementation,” continued Mr Zwinkels. “As a result they embraced the technology from the outset, and it has since helped to foster an ethos of professional pride.
“We use FleetBoard’s driving style evaluations to motivate and incentivise employees – if the vehicle is being driven correctly then increased fuel-efficiency will automatically follow. Drivers are paid bonuses for achieving the scores required for local work and longer assignments, and most collect these each week. But if any fail to do so our driver-trainer provides targeted instruction to address shortcomings in style highlighted by the reports.”
And he added: “The FleetBoard Cockpit interface is user-friendly, simple and intuitive; you certainly don’t need to be ‘techy’, or to have the resources of an IT department behind you to navigate your way around it. FleetBoard’s support is very good too – any questions have invariably been answered swiftly and efficiently.”