We all know that the roads have been noticeably quieter during the pandemic as great swathes of the population stay home and many businesses remain closed. So what, if anything, has been the impact on HGV operators who have been delivering critical supplies during this time and what can we learn?
According to Steve Granite, CEO of Abbey Logistics:
“We have all been trading in incredibly challenging circumstances, but as a result of quieter roads, we have seen an improvement to customer service and savings in repair and maintenance and an increase in MPG as well as nearly 6% increase in the average speed of our fleet. This means the fleet is doing more with less and our assets are much more productive and require less repair and maintenance thanks to more consistent driving.
“To get a better understanding of these benefits, how they could be sustained and what it could mean to Abbey and other operators when traffic and congestion increases, we began a project with Microlise to analyse the data to share with the sector, which will hopefully help all hauliers as we come out of the crisis and potentially also help influence decisions around traffic management and congestion in the future.”
Abbey Logistics and Microlise began analysing Abbey’s journey metrics for its fleet of 550 drivers, 400 trucks and 550 bulk liquid and powder trailers with initial results covering the period 30 days prior to and 30 days post, the UK lockdown.
Key Abbey Logistics’ results:
- Average Speed – improved group-wide by an average of 5.66% (from 36.6mph to 38.8mph)
- MPG – increased by 2.6%
- CO2 emission percentage improvement across the group of 3.97% from MPG base point in February 2020.
- Driving behaviour and performance:
- Acceleration of >95% decreased from 5.61% to 4.53%
- Engine Idling decreased from 2.51% to 2.04%
- Greenband driving (where the vehicle is being driven within the most efficient and economical RPM range for that vehicle type) increased from 90.39% to 91.52%
- Cruise Control increased from 45.72% to 53.15%
Note: Data drawn from period 27 February to 26 April 2020
In addition to its work with Abbey Logistics, the Microlise Data Science & Operational Research team has analysed recent HGV and LCV movement to identify changes in movement patterns. Two metrics stand out – namely a 6-7% increase in mpg and a 37% reduction in unsafe driving behaviours, including over-speeding and harsh braking. For a fleet owner of any size, the capital cost savings to be realised across these two areas alone would be significant.
Key points from this wider data set include:
Average mpg improves by 6% – We can observe an increase starting on 16 March which peaks in the week starting 6 April then stays relatively stable at +6%/+7% above the baseline, with this increase driven especially across operators travelling shorter distances and making more stops.
37% decrease in number of over-speeding events per km – There is a decline starting from the 23 March, which reaches its lowest level in the week of the 13 April (-37%). The latest data shows that it has since gone up to -31% compared to the baseline, perhaps as roads become busier once again.
37% decrease in number of harsh braking events per km – This shows a similar pattern to over speeding data, with a decline from the week of 9 March, reaching its lowest level during the week commencing 6 April (-37%). Since then it has risen again to -29%.
Decrease in total mileage – From 23 March there was a decrease in mileage. It dropped to its lowest level during the week of 6 April with a fall of 27%. Since then it has moved up again to about -16%.
So what learning can we take from the data analysis to apply as we move forward? Are there any practical steps that the sector and Government can take that will allow us to maintain these positive environmental and commercial benefits?
According to Steve Granite CEO of Abbey Logistics, the sector should act upon these indicators:
“Across almost every key metric of vehicle performance, traffic movement, driver safety and performance, fleet utilisation, repair and maintenance and customer service, we have registered positive results.
“Increasing average speed and miles per gallon contributes to significant cost savings for fleet operators of any size. When you combine this with improvements across driving behaviour and environmental impact, the results are compelling.
“We have a perfect opportunity to rethink our operations model and do things differently.
“Longer delivery windows and more night-time deliveries, provide for a more cost-effective and reliable customer service. We can also support our professional drivers to perform at their best, reducing stress level and keeping them safer while minimising road traffic incidents and any resulting asset damage.
“If we are prepared to shake-up our post-Covid 19 version of normal, we will all reap the rewards. We partnered with Microlise, to take as much of the guesswork out of our business analysis as possible. We now have concrete intelligence that we can and should act upon.
“It is clear that data will continue to play a key role in supporting our sector as it returns to a new normal and it makes commercial and environmental sense to act upon this to support hauliers and come out of this crisis with stronger and more effective operating models.”
About Abbey Logistics
Abbey Logistics is committed to delivering cost-effective, dependable and responsive road tanker logistics for bulk liquid & powdered products in the UK and Europe.
We are the UK’s largest road tanker logistics company for bulk food powders and liquids and have a rapidly growing reputation and fleet in the plastics, construction, minerals, animal feed and non-hazardous chemicals sectors.
The Group also provides warehousing and materials handling services on the Wirral in the UK, and multimodal transport solutions throughout the UK and Europe.
Visit www.abbeylogisticsgroup.com for more information about Abbey Logistics Group, on the road to a greener future.
About The Microlise Data & Operational Science Team
The Microlise Data Science and Research team is a highly-skilled and multidisciplinary group that harnesses the latest scientific tools, methodologies and advanced analytics techniques to extract and interpret knowledge and insights from data in its various forms, generating value and unlocking practical business insights for ourselves and for our customers.
The team includes six PhD-level data scientists, a junior data scientist and a senior research developer.
The team regularly collaborates with a number of universities on various R&D projects and MSc/PhD research studies, as well as working on projects with global partners and customers in the areas of operational research, predictive modelling, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Our mission at Microlise is to support organisations to run their business more cost-effectively, compliantly and efficiently. Our telematics, real-time journey management and proof of delivery solutions unlock profitability, simplify processes and strengthen safety and customer engagement, while reducing environmental impact.
We support 14 of the UK’s 15 largest retailers as well as JCB, MAN Truck & Bus UK and Tata Motors. We help our customers to cumulatively save millions of pounds on annual fuel costs while reducing CO2 emissions by hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes.
Our business is supported by our culture which guides the way we behave, the way we work, the way we connect with our customers, and the way we support and develop our people.
Operating for over thirty years, we are a privately-owned business, based in Nottingham in the UK, and with offices in Europe, India and Australia. We are the proud recipient of two concurrent Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – International Trade in 2018 and Innovation in 2019.
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