VSc Solutions has received one of the coveted Spar Supplier of the Year awards for a solution that improved driver safety and fleet efficiency.

“Our service to our customers is very dependent on the quality of the service delivered by our fleet,” says Trevor Currie, Group Logistics Executive of SPAR. “Not only do we need to keep delivery costs to a minimum, but we need to ensure that our drivers are as safe and efficient as possible.”

“In designing a programme for SPAR that balanced both fleet efficiency and driver safety we kept in mind that any technologies implemented have to support and provide transparent oversight from planning right through to reporting,” says Morné Janse van Rensburg, CEO of VSc Solutions, a business optimisation solution provider within the transport software and system integration space.

One of the tools implemented for the SPAR fleet is a weighted scoring method applied per driving exception – like speeding and harsh braking – that pose risks for both driver and vehicle. The Driver Route Compliance module ensured that stores received their stock in the most optimal order, and that orders placed by stores were delivered as expected.

“Driver safety has a lot to do with making sure the actual execution of the driver and fleet schedules are as close as possible to the plan,” explains Janse van Rensburg.

Making sure that drivers don’t exceed allowable hours and planning for predetermined safe places to stop at intervals that manage driver fatigue is just one element of a driver safety programme. Other often overlooked elements include ensuring that vehicles sent to stores fit available offloading space, accommodate special product requirements like cooling facilities, and are not overloaded.

Further risk reduction is made possible by planning vehicle movements so they can be tracked, and to prevent time wastage by avoiding bad or blocked roads as well as long delays at back doors. Customer service is improved by retailers being informed real time of when they will receive their delivery.

“It is the synergy of all these elements managed from one central system that delivers tangible value to an organisation like SPAR,” says Janse van Rensburg. “To differentiate and gain a competitive advantage under current economic pressures it is necessary to continuously assess and innovate until the perfect mix of expertise and solutions is found.”

“We find the oversight function of the reporting module extremely useful as we can immediately see differences that have a significant time and cost impact,” says Currie. “These insights include differences in planned versus actual distance travelled, end to end route time, and vehicle drive time.”

“While some of the differences might seem small, each one has a compounding cost impact on the overall fuel consumption and driver safety as well as customer satisfaction.”