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Götene Kyltransporter saves millions though eco-driving project


Dramatic improvement in Eco-Driving by Götene Kyltransporter (GKT)

During just a few months, the Swedish transportation company Götene Kyltransporter has improved the eco-driving performance dramatically. Impressed by the great achievements, Vehco made an interview with Mattias Vilgfors, who is working as Project Manager to improve the driving behavior at GKT.

Mattias Vilgors at GKT who successfully saves fuel with Vehco

Mattias Vilgfors who works with eco-driving at Götene Kyltransporter.

How was the project started?

Mattias, who has been a driver for GKT for many years asked the management team if he could spend some months to work with eco-driving, trying to try to improve the driving behavior among the drivers. He had seen that the eco-driving index was not improving, and he thought that there was room for improvement.

- We have 100 trucks; what happens if we save 1-liter diesel per truck for each 100 km? That saving would result in 3 MSEK lower fuel costs yearly. Based on that simple mathematics, the management approved the request! So, in that way the project was started. His manager told him that he had 3 months to prove that it is possible to improve the driving behavior and to reduce the fuel consumption.

Did you get any instructions from your manager?

- No, I was free to do as I wanted, and I could create a plan myself!

What was the plan?

- I wanted to first review the fuel consumption to know where to start. We must compare apples with apples, and that means that I wanted to compare drivers who drive similar vehicles the same distances! It must be a fair comparison! That’s when I found differences. Drivers who drive the same conditions and where the fuel consumption differed by 5 l per 100 km. That’s where I wanted to focus!

- So, my working model was to group drivers in different groups where I put drivers with similar vehicles, conditions and routes in the same group. We have organized our drivers so that typically three drivers drive the same truck and distance and then I could compare them.

- Then I started to analyze the average consumption and idling. Where I noted large differences; I focused on that. So, I turned our ranking list upside down! Let’s focus on the drivers with the best improvement potential. We have a total of 250-270 drivers, but also the best ones have been interested to also improve. I was surprised by that! I expected the drivers to be negative and not so interested, but to my surprise 95% of the drivers have been positive and interested. And we have not defined any bonus yet! I am also surprised that the drivers have been so interested to save the emissions and genially interested in saving the environment. They know that we can reduce the emissions by hundreds of tons if we are successful!

Driver at GKT saving fuel with Vehco

One of the skilled drivers at GKT.

How did you communicate?

- We use Facebook, the quick messaging service in the Vehco system and our own GKT app (that the employees download). I communicated about the initiative and that there was now a higher focus on eco-driving. Only this communication made the curve to change, from horizonal to “north-east”!

- Then I went out and met with the drivers and presented how the increased focus on eco-driving had improved the index! We were so excited! During the whole project, I have only communicated in a positive way, no critic, only inspiring words. I think that is important and that no one should feel any guilt if his/her performance is not so good. When I communicate with the drivers, I normally show them the current status and what can be done to improve the score. I have communicated that only 1 liter saving each 100 km will save the company 3 MSEK per year.

Do you use any bonus?

- Not yet, but maybe later. So far, we have never promised any bonus, only talked about the possibilities!

What are your experiences so far?

- Many drivers come to me and ask; what should I do to save fuel? It has surprised me that also experienced drivers who have good driving behavior want to know more. Often, I have been in the trucks cabin together with the drivers and explained how to do to drive more eco-friendly. I have not yet been driving with the drivers, but I will most likely do it later. I have been open minded and laughed a lot together with the drivers; I think it is much better than to be too pushy!

- It is naturally important to know that drivers are people, and people are different! It has for that reason been critical to find a way to talk with each driver, so he/she feels comfortable to make them perform better.

- Initially we had a goal of 63…, it was way too low! We must challenge ourselves, so we increased to 70. I wanted to have 80, but now I see it as my job to get all drivers to reach 70. If we reach that we will win a lot! It is fun, and it must be fun!

Good support by TMG

One success factor for the project is that the staffing agency TMG in Örebro, who supplies GKT with skilled drivers, has been very supportive. Their managers Christer and Tommy Person have had a very clear view on what they can do in the project. “Quality is of great importance for us, and if GKT runs an eco-driving program, then it is natural for us that our drivers should be at least as good as the other drivers in GKT when it comes to eco-driving. Naturally we are very proud that they have performed so well.

Great Eco-Driving improvement by GKT using Vehco

Results until now?

- We see that the average eco-driving index has improved a lot, much more than we had expected! During October 2018 the average index has gone from 63 to over 80.1, and that is for approximately 250 drivers. When I did an analysis of the fuel consumption and I compared October 2017 with October 2018, our average consumption had decreased with 2,17 liter every 100 km which corresponds to 5,2 %. That will mean a yearly saving of more than 6 MSEK for our company! And of course, the project has not only saved fuel, the reduced emissions are even more important in the long run.

What about the future?

-I hope we can continue to work with this program and make sure that we keep the company above an average eco-driving index of 80. Let’s keep the competitive spirit!