Grocontinental confirms power of vehicle telematics – Transport Engineer Reports

Storage and distribution firm Grocontinental reckons it has seen a rise from 20% to 65% of its drivers achieving a ‘B’ rating on MAN’s EcoStyle driver and vehicle performance tool.     




That matters because, as transport manager Chris Humphries, says, that increase has led to an improvement in efficiency and, importantly, a stabilisation of fuel economy across the fleet.

MAN EcoStyle went live at the Shropshire-based company in January with Grocontinental’s fleet of 54 MAN TGX tractor units. The company’s transport division comprises 56 tractor units and 120 temperature-controlled trailers which operate throughout Europe.

The web-based system monitors driving parameters such as harsh braking and acceleration, maintaining sweet-spot engine revs and minimising idle time. Drivers are then trained to optimise their performance, irrespective of the terrain or the load on the vehicle.

Says Humphries: “[MAN’s course] really opened my eyes on how much a driver can influence the fuel economy of the vehicle. We were driving the training vehicle, which was fitted with a permanent fuel meter, and we saw how our driving could go from the worst case of 0.8 mpg to using no fuel at all!”

Incidentally, Grocontinental has also created a text-based system (accessible only when the vehicle is stationary) to provide drivers with on-the-road instructions. That addition was driven through by joint managing director David Grocott. Mobile phones have since been removed from the fleet, and replaced by written instructions from the planning office.

“This is the first time that we feel that we are able to influence the way our drivers handle their vehicles in a more safe and efficient way,” comments Grocott.

“We have made a huge investment in the new trucks and this new technology ensures that we stay at the forefront of the industry and continue to expand and develop our business.”

Article by Brian Tnham