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Coca Cola - Quick payback on investment

Achieving almost quarter of a million Rand payback within six months for capital expenditure on a computer system is no easy task in today's tight fiscal climate but Port Elizabeth-based Coca Cola Fortune did just that after opting to install the Powertrack fleet management system into the company's truck fleet.

Regional operations manager James Jessup says: "In our business, any capital investment is only considered on payback time. With vehicle tracking being a computerized system, the payback on Powertrack had to be less than a year and we identified specific areas that would allow us to achieve this aim." The system and software initially cost around R250 000.

Jessup says major savings were shown in improved labor productivity with a related reduction in overtime. "Further significant savings came by way of a reduction in overall vehicle operating costs." According to Jessup, this was achieved by improved driver management of aspects such as cold starts, over revving, harsh braking and other driver-related actions.

Routing and scheduling manager, Mark Pakkiree notes: "Although the system was originally bought as a vehicle and driver productivity management system, we have gained significant other benefits, by, for example, linking it to our existing routing and scheduling software. By doing this, we have been able to use this in performance management of our drivers for our 'driver bonanza' ratings as well as precise information for stricter driver management."

According to Pakkiree, Powertrack offers a synergistic benefit between the routing and scheduling software system and actual fleet management. "You can measure actual performance versus what was planned. This means we are able to tell our customers exactly where the truck is in the event of it being late for a delivery."

As far as the drivers are concerned, Pakkiree says it was extremely important to sell the total concept to the staff as a value adding, positive system and not just a policing tool. "This we managed to do by linking in to a driver bonanza scheme whereby drivers are rated via the Powertrack system and receive rewards accordingly."

Jessup acknowledges that one of the most critical of implementing a comprehensive vehicle fleet management system, such as Powertrack, is the relationship between the supplier and the client: "As this was a pilot project for our company, we had to design and implement a solution that would meet the criteria as set out in the project charter. We have tried and tested many new aspects of fleet and driver management and Powertrack has been eager to meet these challenges."

Summing up, Pakkiree says Powertrack is a tool that provides the company with information that can be drawn by exception thus streamlining key and important issues. The challenge is to ensure that this information is used according to a strict management routine.

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