How many times have I written about the pressure put onto truck drivers to meet the Picton – Wellington ferry when the loading has delayed its departure? Then here I am, leaving Nelson wondering if l have left myself enough time to get to the Picton ferry.

My first thought is that l shouldn’t have spent so long finding lunch. I have just finished a seminar where we were discussing whether there is a trade off between safety /efficiency and productivity. Of course, at face value it seems obvious that productivity has to suffer. If you slow your trucks down they will arrive later and the whole operation grinds to a halt doesn’t it?

But stop and think for a minute. Let’s say that your trucks are currently touching 100 km/h and you are being asked to bring that back to a max of 95 km/h. If you drive 350km at 100 km/h it will take three hours and 30 minutes. The same trip at 95kmh will take three hours and forty one minutes – so it will take an extra eleven minutes. Hardly seems worth pushing that bit harder does it? But hang on – you can’t maintain a consistent top speed for that distance – so the time difference is even smaller when you consider how little time is spent at top speed.

Now think about how long the truck is in the yard getting loaded – with a bit more planning, could you get the truck away 10 minutes earlier? Probably.

I can’t intentionally speed. With signwriting all over my car and so many of you reading this column, quite apart from the real reason I shouldn’t be speeding, I need to practice what I preach. All my research over the last 7 years that I have been running CCS Logistics has demonstrated that pushing harder doesn’t get you there faster or, at least not the 30 mins or so you are normally trying to save when there is a panic on. So all I can do now is focus on driving consistently and efficiently to get me there in the best time.

But how good am I? Yes I know all of the theory, but I don’t have any data. The data that I do have is across trucks up and down the country from a mix of different GPS systems. I’ve got no data on cars travelling between Nelson and Picton, so how do I know if I am above average or still have a long way to go to be considered best practice?

If you have GPS in your fleet you have the opportunity to give that sort of feedback to your drivers why wouldn’t you grab it with both hands? Your drivers pride themselves on being professionals. Inevitably some will be better than others and you have comparable data for all vehicles – don’t you think they will want to see it?

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