Five reasons why UD Trucks’ Telematics works for Rapid Plas

Thursday, 17 August 2017

In the summer heat out the back of Bourke and the winter snow of alpine country, UD Trucks’ Telematics helps keep Rapid Plas supplying rainwater tanks across New South Wales and southern Queensland.

From its humble beginnings in 1990 on a farm outside Tamworth, Rapid Plas has grown to be one of the biggest players in rainwater tank manufacture and distribution across New South Wales and southern Queensland. Although agriculture is their bread and butter, it’s not uncommon to see one of their UD Condors delivering rainwater tanks to Sydney or Brisbane.

Production Manager, Geoff Bower, joined the business in 1999. Starting on the factory floor, he now organises the day-to-day running of the production and oversees its distribution side. With seven Condors fitted with Telematics, Geoff and his team rely on its real time data and reporting capabilities to get the most out of their trucks to serve two thirsty states.

1. Reducing wear and tear
Reducing wear and tear is paramount for Geoff, especially the trucks’ gears. “This is where Telematics really is our friend,” says Geoff, “we use it to monitor for over-speeds, harsh breaking and acceleration, over-idling, even revving. It lets us make sure that the trucks are being driven to the optimum of what the factory requires.

2. Driver education
Telematics lets Geoff and his team identify areas where a driver may need to change their driving style, particularly new drivers. “They’ve often never driven a UD Truck, so they drive the Condor as they’ve driven other trucks,” explains Geoff, “but that often isn’t the best way to drive a UD. We can sit the driver down with the Telematics data and work on changing a few habits.

3. Trouble shooting
Geoff says that Telematics is a great tool to work out whether a performance problem is because of a driver’s style or something to do with a truck itself. “Let’s say we’re seeing a truck revving more than others,” says Geoff, “if it’s happening regardless of who’s driving, it’s probably an issue with the truck. And we can get that information from Telematics. We can then get on with dealing with the problem early before it develops into something more serious.

4. Driver safety
The GPS tracking built into Telematics gives an extra layer of safety to drivers in remote parts of the state. “Our drivers cover territory which is out of mobile phone coverage,” explains Geoff, “just the other day we had a driver call before he headed out of Cobar. We were able to keep track of him in real time and make sure that if something happened, we could get help to him. This added safety is very important because of the remote places our drivers go.

5. Compliance
Telematics helps us make sure our drivers are taking their compulsory breaks and not driving for too long,” says Geoff. “Also, because our freight is oversized, we have curfews we have to abide by, so no travel between sun down and sun up,” he explains, “being oversized also means that there are restrictions on the roads we can take. Telematics lets us monitor our trucks’ routes and travel hours to make sure we comply. We just can’t afford to run afoul of the law.”