As you head off into a new year of trucking, driver training is one area of trucking which FleetWatch encourages all transporters to put greater accent on in light of the fact that telematics is providing a new tool that is proving fantastic in the driver training arena – as this article by our technical correspondent Dave Scott highlights.
Driver training is an extremely challenging task. “So they were trained – now prove the gains!” A classroom test is what you can remember but does that test change the driver’s behaviour on the road? And was the training conducted with a loaded combination as close to reality at possible? How can you remove subjectivity from driver assessments?
This is where objective technology comes to the rescue and where advanced vehicle telematics comes to the fore. Not only is telematics able to track and prove the capital investment in vehicles but is also able to be used to improve a driver’s performance behind the wheel.
One company which has definite proof of this is MAN Truck & Bus South Africa via its MAN ProfiDrive® driver training programme introduced into South Africa from its parent company in Germany and now offered to its local customers. The focus of the programme is on training professional truck fleet drivers and trainers.
Modern MAN trucks bristle with driver-friendly technology such as ‘Tipmatic’ automated manual shift transmissions and ‘Brakematic’ integrated retardation and braking systems. So with all this, why does a driver need training? Surely the truck thinks for itself and it’s just a case of point and steer? Not so! MAN ProfiDrive® creates a connection between man and machine to produce confident drivers who anticipate the route profile and manage the powertrain for maximum productivity.
Telematics, which is used extensively as a tool in the ProfiDrive® training course, not only proves that driver training has cost benefits but also convinces drivers that changes in driving style and behaviour are beneficial. This raises the bar and sets new standards.
Participants in a ProfiDrive® training course are already skilled drivers so what can they learn? The training – combined with the telematics tools – has proven the benefits as is shown in this table for an intensive course with five drivers running a 35t payload over 40km:
|03/12/2015||1st Run||2nd Run||Change||% Improvement|
|Fuel cons.* [L/100km]||60.6||55.5||-5.1||8%|
|Ave speed [km/h]||43.0||45.5||2.5||6%|
|Number of Stops||11.6||10.6||-1.0||9%|
* Note: These tests were conducted along a 40km round trip and do not serve as projections for other operations.
Apart from an 8% fuel consumption benefit, the productivity gain of 15% represents a combination of average fuel consumption, speed and payload. Similar training with other driver trainers has yielded up to 20% in productivity gains. Apply this to a fleet of trucks and it’s a significant indicator for the bottom-line benefits in driver training.
MAN Truck & Bus SA has ensured that MAN Support & Projects Manager, Dean Temlett, is qualified to represent ProfiDrive® in Southern Africa. Temlett spent a year completing overseas modules that certify him as a ProfiDrive® instructor for the next three years. He has also adapted ProfiDrive® to local conditions which makes sense for our market. In terms of the sustainability of the programme, a 56t, 22m combination with a MAN TGS up front – which MAN Truck & Bus has made available to the programme – is a convincing commitment to driver training.
Dave van Graan, head of MAN Truck & Bus sales division, sums it up with the familiar slogan: “If it cannot be measured, it cannot be managed’. Telematics, it would seem, has become an essential driver training tool by default.