Having traditionally favoured another marque, the Coventry-based operator took delivery of its first Mercedes vehicles from dealer Midlands Truck and Van late last year and, it says, the Mercedes FleetBoard telematics offer is really driving home the advantage.
Its main activity is for the biggest internet retailer, transporting goods between nationwide fulfilment centres. While this involves regular runs, the operator must also react swiftly to accommodate special requests and changes to schedules.
“The Mercedes-Benz Actros is a great product – reliable, fuel efficient, comfortable and backed by a fantastic after sales service,” says transport manager and co-owner Danny Gould. “Factor in FleetBoard as well, and it adds up to an unbeatable package.”
Deliveries for the customer are always time-critical, he adds, and jobs are often changed or added. “It’s our flexibility and ability to respond rapidly to new requirements that helps to explain our success.”
FleetBoard, says Gould, has proved to be “a brilliant management tool”. He explains: “We particularly value the visibility and control that FleetBoard offers. Its Mapping function, which includes live traffic information, means we always knows in real time the precise location and status of each vehicle.
“The best thing for me, though, is the Time Management facility, and the way it helps me to keep the drivers ‘legal’. FleetBoard summarises driving and rest periods, so we can easily and efficiently plan trips based on drivers’ remaining hours. I can see what they’ve done, and more importantly how long they have left.”
Slam Transport also values the system’s remote driver card download service, as drivers no longer need to return to base. Instead, they insert their card into the FleetBoard ‘black box’ in the vehicle cab, to transfer the data from the tachograph back to headquarters.
Driver and vehicle analysis is boosting both driver behaviour and fuel efficiency: “Since we introduced the Actros we’ve seen average driver grades improve from 8.2 to 8.8,” says Dornan. “As a result, our economy figure has shot up from 10.2 mpg to 11.5 mpg. That’s worth a fortune to the business, and there’s still room for improvement.”