Lessons from COVID-19: tank haulier draws operational conclusions from telematics data20 May 2020

Road tanker haulage firm Abbey Logistics has shared its Microlise telematics results before and during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown.

As most passenger traffic stopped as a result, Abbey drivers had emptier roads, and so have posted better fuel performance and fewer instances of harsh braking, for example.

Steve Granite, CEO of Abbey Logistics, says: “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 after the UK lockdown (27 February to 26 April 2020).

Key results include:

  • Average Speed – improved group-wide by an average of 5.66% (from 36.6mph to 38.8mph)
  • MPG – increased by 2.6%
  • CO2 emissions – improved by 3.97% from base point in February 2020.
  • Instances of acceleration >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%.

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.

Below, Microlise also draws a few conclusions from this wider data set.

  1. Average mpg improves by 6% – An increase can be observed 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.
  2. Over-speeding events per km decrease by 37% – There is a decline starting from 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.
  3. Harsh braking events per km decrease by 37% – 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%.
  4. Total mileage decrease – 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%.

According to Steve Granite CEO of Abbey Logistics, the sector should act upon these indicators. He states: “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 levels 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.”

William Dalrymple

Related Companies
Abbey Logistics Group

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