Saints sets a trend

Saints Transport, one of the country’s largest airfreight hauliers, has equipped its entire fleet of 195 MAN vehicles, from 7.5t to 44t, with the MAN EcoStyle driver and vehicle performance management system, featuring the new Driver Feedback Module (DFM).

The operator has also put the MAN tracking system onto all its 120 trailers and vans.

The new module is an in-cab speaker device that automatically alerts drivers to any instances of over-revving, undue idling time, harsh braking and so on. After three consecutive alerts for the same issues, the module will then record an alert onto the web-enabled EcoStyle management system at Saints Transport headquarters just outside Heathrow airport, triggering a review of the incident.

“The objective behind our early adoption of the DFM is to help drivers understand when they are driving in a manner that affects their own performance and that of the company,” said Saints Transport vice-chairman, Piers Carroll. “There are no immediate penalties for triggering an alert through the DFM. We talk each driver through what is happening and help them correct the problem, with training where needed. Of course, there will be times when that isn’t the case. On things like over-idling it could be down to customer circumstances, so as a business we need to know what else might be impacting our operations in this respect.”

Use of the DFM and the wider MAN EcoStyle monitoring system isn’t, says Carroll, about ‘big brother’ tactics; a point he is keen to pursue. Once the system is fully understood by drivers, the intention is to use it to as the basis for a driver rewards programme. He says, “It’s only right. So long as the overall system delivers what we are anticipating, then those drivers who work in a safe and fuel-efficient manner should share some of the savings the company will be making.”

He continued, “I am amazed more hauliers haven’t taken this system already. It’s there to assist drivers, and they have by far the biggest impact on two of our biggest overheads, fuel and maintenance costs. MAN EcoStyle is a management tool, but you have to focus on the information you get and really monitor it – otherwise you might as well not bother. At the end of the day, the best information in the world is valueless if you don’t use it routinely to manage your business. That’s why I and other senior people in the business get a weekly overview email on the true performance of the fleet. Our managers have a real-time feed to their own desks, and they are the ones who handle any immediate responses as and when needed, but the directors have to know what’s going on as well.”

Article provided by MAN Truck and Bus UK.