Technology Drives Sustainability
Technology saves time. Technology saves lives by improving safety. Technology saves overhead costs. But in today’s world, protecting our resources and the environment is more critical than ever, making one of technology’s greatest assets the ability to save resources—paper, fuel and more.
SmartWay Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight industry, is dedicated to increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. The organization’s collective goal is to reduce 33 to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide per year by 2012. Many trucking firms in the food sector are doing their part to help the industry meet its goals. By tapping into technology, carriers are conserving fuel, reducing and eliminating paper and improving air quality.
One of the country’s largest branded dairy operators, HP Hood LLC handles its own product distribution with more than 350 power units, including 10-wheel straight trucks and tractor-trailer units. The company began demonstrating its industry leadership in sustainability in 2005 when it incrementally installed onboard technology that improved the environmental performance of its freight operations. Today 95 percent of Hood’s 350-vehicle fleet is equipped with onboard computing and mobile communications systems, with plans for all trucks to be outfitted by next year.
David Crowley, Hood’s senior director of environmental health and safety, is spearheading the company’s sustainability initiative. He believes technology-driven efficiency and go hand in hand to make the company more competitive and more successful.
Case in point: Engine monitoring data has helped Hood’s Heluva Good division’s drivers surpass an incredible 7.0 MPG (despite 2007 and newer engines). The direct store delivery group of 12 six-wheel straight trucks has improved MPG by 26 percent, getting up to 7.3 MPG—exceptional for city deliveries to smaller restaurants and convenience stores. The data showed that super single tires give the division’s over-the-road group it ¼ to ½ mile more per gallon of fuel.
These fuel-savings results make it easy to understand why Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) considers EOBRs one of the nine best practice tools that dairy-processor members should adopt. Hood is way ahead of the curve, using EOBR data such as sudden accelerations and decelerations, overspeed to promote driving habits that generate fuel savings and support safety. Supervisors counsel drivers about how to use progressive shifting to avoid the need for high RPMs and superfluous fuel consumption. Of course, the company recognizes exceptional performance as well.
Automated reports weight six primary indicators and each indicator is graphed to create individual pictures of each driver that are rolled up into a composite of all drivers in each terminal, all of which post rankings. In addition to driver scorecards, these reports highlight driver performance progress and deterioration system-wide. The terminal-level report ranks drivers within the terminal; the company-wide report compares the averages of each terminal with the company average for each indicator. There is also a separate monthly report that tracks each vehicle’s historical performance.
Enhancements to the system will help ensure that newer systems, which provide a cleaner, greener environment, are maintained and cycled on a regular basis by automating the tracking of driver compliance with regenerating Diesel Particulate Filters. Advanced diagnostic capabilities generate alerts to fleet managers when drivers need to perform regeneration idling. Not only does this automated process ensure proper maintenance and longevity of vehicle emission systems, but it also allows vehicles to perform in the most environmentally friendly condition.