Ecolution by Scania is helping leading British supermarket chain Asda deliver on its promise of low prices for customers.
It’s hardly a state secret that supermarkets and low prices go together like bacon and eggs. To the hungry shopper, nothing satisfies more than a bargain at the checkout, which is why our major retailers focus intently and incessantly on delivering the best deals they possibly can.
The supermarket chain Asda has been offering British consumers low prices for several decades, and today it operates under the catchy slogan, ‘Saving you money every day’, emblazoned across Asda’s adverts and its fleet of trailers nationwide. No chance of missing the message here, then.
But how do they do it? One way that supermarkets can help customers save money is through transport. While this is a subject that seldom grabs the headlines, it’s nonetheless a vital factor when it comes to keeping down the cost of essentials.
The relationship between Asda and Scania is a long-standing one by any measure. It was back in 1994 that Asda took its first Scania truck. Since then, the two companies have worked in close partnership to develop an association dedicated to maximising efficiency in all aspects of operation while minimising cost.
A deep partnership
In 1995, Asda began entrusting its trailer maintenance to Scania as another option to identify and capitalise on transport efficiencies and economies.
The medicine worked and by 2007 more than 3,000 Scania trucks had been supplied to Asda, and in 2010 the contract for Scania to maintain its 4,000th Asda trailer was signed.
In parallel to this, a multitude of efficiency and operational initiatives encompassing disciplines as diverse as driver coaching and fleet management have evolved over the years. These now form an integral part of the all-encompassing, one-stop service provided to Asda by Scania and has led to a partnership the depth of which is hard to overstate.
Ecolution by Scania
The latest development in the relationship came last year when Asda introduced 42 Ecolution by Scania trucks into service. Destined for Asda’s retail distribution fleet, these vehicles were part of an order for 187 tractor units to be shared among Asda’s primary network, retail distribution and petroleum fleets.
The Ecolution by Scania programme is a bespoke service which focuses on helping operators achieve the very best possible transport economy and operational efficiency from their fleets. Based on an all-encompassing programme of vehicle, driver and maintenance optimisation, Ecolution by Scania has been proven to deliver considerable operational savings.
The programme covers four specific areas:
• Optimised vehicle specification
Whereby Scania works in conjunction with operators to ensure the vehicles and options specified are optimised for the transport task at hand.
• Driver training
Scania recognises that achieving maximum fuel efficiency is largely dependent upon driver-performance. The programme of driver development delivered by Scania’s in-house team of driver trainers therefore focuses on enhancing drivers’ skills with a range of advanced fuel usage- and efficiency-improving techniques.
• Driver coaching
Once trained, a driver’s performance is likely to fall back from its peak unless he or she receives regular follow-up and coaching. Ecolution by Scania combats this in a number of ways, from the in-cab Scania Driver Support system to regular performance reviews, where fuel usage data and driving style information captured by the Scania Communicator telematics system is discussed with drivers on a one-to-one basis.
A carefully constructed maintenance regime which takes a holistic view to ensure every part of the vehicle is operating to its maximum potential.
The man overseeing the scheme for Asda is Fleet Contracts Manager, Graham Brooks. “We have long recognised that achieving the best possible operating economy is not just about the truck,” he says. “Driver performance, for example, is another key influencer and in common with many other operators we have long run our own driver development programmes. But today, even that isn’t enough. You have to take a holistic view, putting every aspect of the operation under the microscope and eking out improvements wherever you can.
“Therefore, when Ecolution by Scania was suggested it struck a chord with us. We were impressed by the claims of what can be achieved, so elected to try it for ourselves. Our trials began back in February of this year and the early indications are excellent, with our Ecolution by Scania trucks and their drivers delivering improved fuel efficiency.”
Developing the drivers
A key element in the process is that each truck has a dedicated driver, or drivers. This is fundamental to Ecolution by Scania as it allows progress to be accurately and directly monitored by way of the telematics system. Ecolution by Scania uses Scania Communicator’s Analysis package, an in-depth performance-analysis tool, to track progress and highlight any driving-style issues.
The data captured is automatically reported back to Scania’s in-house team of driver development advisors. Every Asda driver in the Ecolution by Scania programme has a dedicated advisor who contacts him or her on a monthly basis to personally discuss their results and set future targets.
“We see this ongoing coaching as an essential part of the process,” says Graham Brooks. “It’s common knowledge that the gains made through driver training tend to slip away over time as people revert to old habits. But Ecolution by Scania is different as our drivers receive ongoing coaching, which acts not only as a constant reminder of the need to drive as efficiently as possible but also provides encouragement.
200 more Ecolution
“What’s more, we’re finding that our drivers relish the challenge of Ecolution by Scania; they are professionals who want to do as well as they can, and this programme allows them to demonstrate and provide a record of just how well they are doing. “And are we sold on it? Well, the answer has to be yes. Based on the results we have seen to date, we’ve recently placed an order for a further 200-plus Ecolution by Scania trucks.
“What more proof do you need?”