Queensland Food Distributor Says UD Automatics Are Pretty Cool

Friday, 17 September 2010 | Print

Queensland food distributor City Country Distribution has switched to automatic transmissions in its delivery trucks in a bid to increase efficiency, improve driver comfort and lower costs.

City Country has an eight truck fleet, with the company intending to move totally to automatics over the next few years.

Operations director for the company, John Cunningham, said the UD Automatics make it a lot easier and safer for drivers in city traffic around Ipswich, as well as ensuring they can concentrate on the task at hand on country roads.

"We did a lot of analysis and realised the MK6 Automatic was a better proposition than those being offered by opposition brands, and we had a lot of good experiences with UD in the past," John Cunningham said.

"We purchased three new MK6 Automatics, and we intend to buy more now that they are proving themselves on the road."

The company is the Pauls Dairy Foods distributor for the area from Ipswich to Tenterfield in Northern NSW, out to Gatton in the west and Logan in the East.

"It is a big distribution area and covers a lot of country driving as well as some pretty busy city work in and around Ipswich, so the trucks never get an easy time," said John.

"The fridge freezer units have to run constantly at full bore to ensure the milk and other foods are kept at the right temperature, which uses fuel and taxes the engines, but it is vital for our business.

"Inside the body will sit at around minus 10 or 12 degrees all day long, keeping all of the goods at the right temperature.

"We use a sliding plastic curtain shield in the chiller body, which the drivers can slide forward as goods are unloaded to reduce the work load of the fridge unit and the engine.

"The UD MK6 Automatics are very good on city roads in stop-start traffic, it makes it much easier for the drivers, and we reckon it is better to look after our drivers.

"I know some companies prohibit drivers from using the air conditioners; I reckon that is silly and counter productive.

"We go the other way, and it pays dividends in terms of efficiency, reduced accident rates and mistakes, not to mention driver loyalty.

"Our driver's love the UD Automatics because they are so much easier to drive, but just as importantly they are easier on the trucks because with the manuals the drivers tend to rev them harder, use more fuel, and put more strain on the driveline.

"Our family has always been in trucks and we find it better if you stick with one truck brand, you get treated better when you speak with the dealer.

"Apart from anything else, our experience has led us to believe that UD is a better class of truck and is better engineered than its opposition.

"While City Country's main focus is milk and dairy food distribution, the company has expanded rapidly in recent years distributing a wide range of other food products for major national companies such as Nestle and KR Castlemaine.

"We are one of a group of 96 distributors around Australia and we distribute a lot of different products, it makes good business sense in that our trucks have to travel to outlets to deliver milk and diary, so we get good economies of scale delivering the other products at the same time.

"We have a fleet of eight trucks on the road at the moment and the three UD MK6 Automatics fitted with the 12 pallet freezer bodies are our biggest trucks and the flagships of our fleet."

John Cunningham says that analysis plays a key role in the business, looking closely at vehicle running costs and efficiency.

"We do a lot of analysis we will soon be implementing electronic monitoring which will also give us readings on the fridge section of the truck, and that will enable us to track such things as temperatures, the number of times the doors are opened and closed each day, and so on," John said.

"There is a growing need to track the temperatures in our freezer trucks to ensure food security, and so that we can present a record if food is spoilt at any time.

"Food distribution business is growing rapidly as part of our growth plans we are being more active and aggressive and UD is going to be a part of that growth."

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