PMTC: PMTC eyes productivity and integration

by Julia Kuzeljevich

KITCHENER, Ont. – The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) held its 25th annual General Meeting and Conference here and attendees took part in a host of activities.

These included facility tours, seminars on labor law and the opportunity to hear how private fleet managers control costs and measure productivity. As well they heard how to successfully integrate for-hire carriers into their company’s supply chain management process.

Gord Dennis, director of distribution for Molson breweries, says his employer’s equipment is currently running 17-18 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result it has been forced to rely on outside carriers when dealing with volume increases.

He says Molson benchmarks its own performance using financial reports, customer service, speed and accident rates, and sets the same standards for outside carriers, as a way of ensuring successful integration.

Dan Einwechter, president of Challenger Motor Freight, says building a solid link between the private and for-hire sides of the business is important.

“It allows you to focus on core competencies. The for-hire fleet can provide a support role, equipment variety, and can handle peak capacity demands, whether seasonal, directional or geographical,” says Einwechter.

He says the benefits can be improved resource allocation, financial performance, and improved levels of customer service and satisfaction.

Private fleets also had some recommendations for handling operations in unforeseen conditions, where on-time performance and J-I-T tend to go out the window.

According to Jim McKay, logistics supervisor at Praxair Canada, fleets can utilize solutions such as constant replenishment of a certain amount of inventory at customer sites, or the diversion of other trucks that are already on the road.

Einwechter expands on these ideas and explains how his for-hire carrier picks up the slack.

“For Challenger, there is likely another truck in the area, so we can substitute (in case of a breakdown),” he says. “If there is a major road delay, though, it becomes a matter of communication with the customer. Technology is wonderful in this instance.”

When it comes to controlling costs, most agree the most critical component is between the wheel and the seat. Which is why Molson says keeping the driver involved in the process is a key aspect of its fuel management strategy.

“It’s an easy sell once you present it as, do you want money spent on fuel, or on your trucks and wages?” says Dennis.

According to McKay aspects critical to cost-control are safety, reliability, effective routing and resource allocation, and management of key performance indicators. He says all too often the question is, ‘Can you afford to invest in safety.’

“But how can you not? Safety reduces lost workday cases, injuries and vehicle accidents,” he says.

Reliability is another important aspect to cost-control, but, adds McKay, you must also assume there are always going to be a few hot loads from time to time.

“Canadian logistics planners are measured and rewarded based on volume delivered, volume per trip, the number of deliveries (which they should aim to decrease), the cost per kilometre, the cost per volume, customer interruptions, and phone efficiency,” says McKay. He adds this is why monitoring several key performance indicators is a high priority for his group.

For Bruce Wallace, vice-president of logistics at TDL Group, whose core business is supplying the Tim Horton’s coffee chain, performance indicators such as cost per case, fill rates, and on-time departures are at the top of the list.

Wallace says his fleet’s use of on-board computers and the learned standards features has allowed the company to benchmark the time required for certain established runs.

PMTC honors best of the best

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) recently doled out a little hardware. At the awards luncheon the PMTC elected Stan Dawson, general manager of transportation at HBC Logistics, Executive of the Year.

Following this presentation the group joined with Zurich North America Canada, represented by senior vice-president Elaine Collier to present the Private Fleet Safety Awards. In the medium fleet category, Dale Crosbie, fleet supervisor with DTF Trucking, accepted the award. For the large fleet category, Jim McKay, logistics supervisor with Praxair Canada, received the award.This year, the PMTC also announced plans to launch a new hall of fame for drivers.

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