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Interview with the French freight company Transports Laporte, one of the leaders in Vehco Eco-Driving Challenge

In Vehco’s Eco-Driving Challenge, the French company Transports Laporte displays a high and constant global index. It goes, week after week, from 83 to 85. A score that could bring the company on the top of the podium at the end of the year. What is its secret? - A really strong management culture and a more than 20 years old awareness campaign to promote rational driving and fuel savings!

Short about Transports Laporte

Type of business: National and regional freights, mainly industrial customers.

Interviewee : Nicolas Laporte, Managing Director

Number of vehicles : 40

Type of business: National and regional freights, mainly industrial customers.

Installed equipement : Vehco Connect Mobile (on-booard computer and touch tablet) with Eco-Driving, TMS interface and remote automatic download of tachograph files

Customer since : 2006

How did your Eco-Driving project start?

Our family business, created by my grandfather, has always been imbued with a strong management culture. We soon realized that fuel consumption was crucial to the company's profitability. For more than 20 years we have been communicating fuel consumption to drivers.

 Over the years, the project has evolved in terms of tools. From a simple fuel monitoring, we started the first behavioral analyzes of drivers in the 2000s. Indeed, it was difficult to interpret discrepancies between drivers and to take corrective actions. Drivers put forward more difficult routes or more weight transported. For a better analysis, we used a data extraction tool from Renault Trucks for which a wired connection to the vehicle was required. That gave us a lot of very technical data.

We now focus our analysis on more comprehensive data integrating training. Since January 2014, we have, with 3 other transport companies from the grouping of European hauliers ASTRE, hired a trainer that we share according to a pre-established schedule. All our drivers spend at least one day of individual training every two years.

Today, we use Vehco’s data that we compare to the billed fuel, vehicle by vehicle, to identify deviations, possible fuel theft, computer technical problems or vehicle failures.

 

Nicholas Laporte, CEO (Vehco Reference Customer)

How do you follow up drivers?

We precisely track fuel consumption. Before, we had to wait every month for the fuel invoicing or for feedback from the company’s tank, but now Vehco’s solution allows us to get the data in almost real time and to zoom in more precisely on a week or even a day. We are much more responsive.

As soon as there is a high consumption, we can analyze it immediately with the driver. If this is not due to a vehicle problem or a particular activity, we remind him the Eco-Driving basic principles. And if he does not get better, we offer him a new training. The difficulty, for an SME like ours, is to have regular follow-up. We do not have time to analyze many technical data. We need a synthetic analysis with some representative indicators of driver behavior. This is one of the reasons why we chose Vehco’s solution.

How do you value good drivers?

We value collectively. Many criteria influence consumption and it is delicate to reward one and not the other, who could be less lucky with its journeys. So we have a collective profit-sharing agreement for all employees, for which fuel consumption is one of the criteria.

A reference customer to Vehco; Transports Laporte

What are the benefits of your eco-driving project?

Our fuel consumption has gone down. It is probably both the result of our training program and of the nature of our fleet that is now composed of 80% of recent tractors in Euro VI.

Since we have had training sessions in eco-driving, we have had better results in terms of accidents thanks to a better use of the vehicles. This means less costs, but also savings in terms of insurance premiums, workplace accidents and repair of equipment.

We also benefit from environmental benefits. Eco-driving is not only a way to save money. The company has fewer CO2 emissions, more safety and fewer impacts on other road users. This is a clear concern that is very well perceived internally and that we can put forward in our communication with our customers.

According to you, what is the added value of Vehco’s tools?

The immediacy. It's much better to see the results in real time. I chose to receive a report of the consumption of all vehicles every week. I can analyze them at a glance and directly contact the drivers to congratulate them or alert them on their results. It does not take much time and allows me to be much more responsive. It is really more difficult to call a driver one month after the results to tell him to be careful!

Vehco’s tools can also be a way to involve drivers in the project. Previously, the information went only in one direction and the driver sometimes got a feedback. Last summer, we equipped all our vehicles with Android tablets, monitoring all their driving indicators in real time. A whole group of drivers (not necessarily the youngest ones) are willing to improve and really like using this tool. And since it is a user-friendly tool corresponding to current consumption patterns, I think it contributes enormously to motivate them. Having their own results under the eyes really encourages drivers to improve.

What advice would you give to a fellow transport manager who would like to start an eco-driving project?

 It is a progressive project. Unfortunately, we don’t get results overnight. Integrating regular Eco-Driving training into the process is also much more effective. Then, it is necessary to explain to sometimes reluctant drivers that the goal is not to teach them how to drive but how to correctly use more and more sophisticated vehicles. With a good trainer and quality training sessions, they usually totally accept the approach.

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