James Mavuso and Hennie Schutte have been named the top fleet driver crew of UD Trucks Southern Africa's inaugural Extra Mile Challenge competition.
Team Afgri's driver Mavuso and co-driver Schutte beat 15 other crews to be named the most efficient and productive team after a day of evaluations and challenges at the Gerotek Vehicle Testing Facility.
In the process, Mavuso and Schutte also qualified to represent South African in the global Extra Mile Challenge competition that is taking place in Japan in November 2015. This event, which will see teams from all across the globe compete, forms part of UD Trucks' celebration of the 80th anniversary of brand's inception in Japan in 1935.
Ten of South Africa's largest UD Trucks fleet customers entered the competition, including ABI, Afgri, Vital Distribution, Unitrans, Shoprite Checkers, Imperial Retail Logistics and Clover SA. Some of the companies entered more than one team.
Vital role of drivers
"With our brand's promise of Going the Extra Mile, we put the challenge to our fleet customers to see whose driver would become the best of the best," said Rory Schulz, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa. "Truck drivers play such a vital role in the success of any fleet company, and we are glad we were able to recognise their enormous contribution in this way."
The competition consisted of three sections with various activities simulating a collection and delivery route. Teams first had to complete a pre-drive inspection on the vehicles, then a drive test that included two collection and delivery points, as well as a parking evaluation which was done by an alley docking simulation, with the objective of getting as close as possible to the loading dock without any assistance.
The pre-drive inspections to ensure the roadworthiness and safety of the vehicle were carried out on a Quon CW26 490. All the participating teams completed the driving tests in two Quon GW26 410 with tridem trailers, which were loaded to 35 tons GCM to ensure fairness.
"What made this competition so unique was the crucial role played by the co-drivers, who had to assist the drivers through all the aspects of the evaluation," explained Schulz. "The event also placed a lot of emphasis on overall efficiency and productivity - some of UD Trucks' key objectives."
Teams were rated according to the time taken to make the deliveries, accuracy of goods delivered, following the rules of the road, fuel efficiency and driving style. UD Trucks' experts continuously evaluated each team out on the road, and once the course was completed, technicians downloaded and scored the drivers' fuel efficiency and driving styles according to information retrieved from the truck's telematics system.