The company has boosted its average driver scores by more than 10 points and increased fuel efficiency by roughly one mile per gallon – equating to a saving of well in excess of £1,000 per week.
The initiative was instigated by Group Transport Manager Luke Braddow, who worked with Stace Whitehead, Fleet Solutions Manager at Crossroads Truck & Bus, to come up with a training plan to cover all the firm’s drivers across its three depots in Lincoln, Ilminster and Abernethy.
“We knew by improving driver behaviour we could have a real impact on our business, improving safety and getting far better efficiency from the vehicles – the data we have gathered so far has proved us right,” says Braddow. “With fuel costs getting higher, it’s so important to squeeze every penny out of the trucks as possible.
“The training delivered by Stace was very thorough and this was then backed by follow-up sessions with our in-house driver trainer. We are now monitoring each driver’s overall score and mpg via the Volvo Connect app. Over the first nine-week period we saved ourselves around £10,500, meaning savings should be in the region of £62,000 over a full year – and potentially more if diesel costs rise further.”
Branston’s fleet of Volvo FH 6×2 tractor units average 180,000 km per year. Paired with either curtainside or refrigerated trailers, the trucks collect potatoes from farms across the UK and deliver into supermarket regional distribution centres.
Its latest model FHs were acquired last year, coinciding with Braddow’s arrival at the company which was the catalyst for the training programme. Via the Volvo Connect app, each driver is given a fuel efficiency score out of 100 which is based on performance in four key areas: engine and gear utilisation, speed adaptation, anticipation & braking, and standstill. Those marks are closely monitored, with additional support and guidance given to those drivers with the lowest rankings.
“We’ve colour coded the scores into green (99-90), amber (89-85) and red (below 85),” explains Braddow. “Then we will have specific conversations with those in the red to help them to move higher up through the levels.
“The message is really getting through to the drivers and helping to keep our mpg as high as possible across the fleet. They all have the Volvo Connect app downloaded and are monitoring it daily, which creates healthy competition.”
Established in 1968, Branston is one of the UK’s biggest potato buyers, packers, distributors and marketers, handling around 350,000 tonnes of potatoes a year and supplying some of the largest retail, wholesale and food manufacturing customers in the country.