Switched on: Technology delivers efficiency to southland transport company

The ability to see every vehicle at each stage of its trip, paired with full automation of their databases, has helped Herberts Transport to streamline their day-to-day operations and keep their fleet on the road.

The Edendale-based business has been using Teletrac Navman’s fleet management software for just over a year now. With a mixed fleet of around 50 vehicles – including livestock, bulk trucks, spreaders, whey trucks and trailers – they needed an easy solution that provided an overview of the status and location of all their fleet, along with features such as service alerts and electronic Road User Charges (RUC) to help eliminate manual processes.

Scott Hutton, managing director at Herberts Transport, explains that everything is now monitored and recorded through the software, from logbooks right through to maintenance.

“We don’t have paper anymore – it’s all electronic,” he says.  

Any information that Scott needs is available at the click of a button, including the whereabouts for every truck in his fleet.

“Through the app on my phone, I can quickly check the status of all divisions of vehicles through the easy-to-use overview. So, if a farmer asks about our ETA, I can easily check the truck location on the app and let them know.

“It gives more accurate times for our trucks doing pickups and deliveries,” says Scott.

A STREAMLINED APPROACH

The technology also means that managing RUC on independent trailers has become more efficient.  

Instead of managing RUC through manual hubometers or using units that require wiring directly onto the electronics of the trailer itself, it is all done automatically.

One of best advantages with this, says Scott, is that licences are updated instantly – saving hours each week in administration.

“We can pick when it updates, so when it gets within so many days of that licence, it updates to another, say, 5000kms.

 “Electronic RUC is incredibly useful, it’s ideal – the best thing about the whole solution.”

Scott and mechanic Jason get alerts from the app on their devices

KEEPING TRUCKS ON THE ROAD

Over an average of five years, deaths from crashes involving trucks contribute to around 20% of the total road toll. However, due to their large mass, trucks tend to be over-represented in serious crashes – between 2012 and 2016, of all crashes that involved another road user, trucks were only at fault in 34% that caused injury, and 20% in fatal crashes.

To help prove that their drivers aren’t at fault, Herberts Transport also uses Teletrac Navman’s in-vehicle cameras.

“They’re not for looking at drivers,” says Scott. “They’re for if there’s an issue on the road, we can get a number plate and send it to the police.”

And the technology has already proved itself to be useful after helping to rule out one of their truck drivers as being at fault in an incident at a roundabout with a car.

“It can help rule out the driver straight away – it’s normally a car at fault.

“Even though I understand that some truck drivers are unsure about having a driver-facing camera in their truck, when you’re in my position, you only use them to get drivers out of incidents, rather than a surveillance tool.”

In-vehicle cameras help prove their drivers aren’t at fault

MAINTENANCE MADE EASY

When it comes to maintenance, Herbert Transport uses the fleet management software to perform pre-trip checklists that alert the mechanic of any defects. Alerts are also sent to the mechanic 1500kms before a vehicle is due for a service.

“The job goes back through the system and he gets an email or an alert on his phone if there are any issues with trucks,” says Scott.

“Nothing gets forgotten about because it’s all there.”

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