Unlike in 2016, Team Malaysia did not win the overall title of ‘Best In Class’ in the 2017 UD Trucks Extra Mile Challenge (UDEMC) Global Final held in early November in its headquarters and factory in Japan, but we did walk away with the award for best Pre-Drive Inspection, one of the categories that determine the overall winner, in the Quester heavy-duty truck class. The other class of trucks was the Quon, which is available in mature markets.
Winning the Pre-Drive Inspection category Malaysia in the Quester class was Anuar bin Ahmad, who was the overall winner in the Malaysia round. Anuar has been driving for Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd for over 20 years and currently drives the company’s UD Quester trucks.
For today’s fleet owners, maintaining efficiency of operations is vital to keeping costs low and staying competitive. Thus, the pre-drive inspection is a crucial factor in making sure the truck is safe and operational in order to avoid unplanned stops due to breakdowns, and reduce fuel consumption. Meticulous pre-drive inspections also help reduce the risk of accident because of parts failure, which also will cause delay and increase costs. Hence, an increase in downtime and an inefficient truck will spell losses for the company.
According to Mr Koh Chin Huat, CEO of Gardenia Bakeries, even though its trucks run every day, the company has a policy of resting its truck drivers after 8 hours of driving (within that time, truck drivers can also make stops to rest). This ensures its drivers are well-rested so that its goods are safely delivered to their destinations.
In the Pre-Drive Inspection event of the UDEMC, the contestant has to complete a thorough inspection of the exterior and interior of the truck, checking everything from the condition of wipers to air-con filter to coolant levels to tire pressure and condition. Contrary to popular belief, professional fleet owners and truck drivers will not send out a truck that isn’t in optimum operating condition as any breakdown or accident will result in an operating loss due to delays or vehicular and/or cargo damage.
The other categories to the Extra Mile Challenge are ‘Driving Skills’ and ‘Fuel Efficiency’ which involve driving around the UD Trucks’ track. The drivers are challenged to maintain the best fuel consumption possible while maneuvering around the track, following the necessary traffic rules, and carrying a container of water as cargo, within the allocated time. The amount of water spillage is measured after the driver completes the driving, and parking challenges; fuel efficiency is measured by UD Trucks’ Telematics system. This challenge promotes smooth driving and the utilization of UD Trucks’ fuel efficiency monitor systems. Naturally, smooth driving means less damage to fragile goods as well as savings on fuel costs.
As with any business, profit is important so this is the benchmark that UD Trucks uses in this challenge. At the start of the UDEMC, all drivers are given a set ‘revenue’ that will be affected by the effectiveness of the pre-drive inspection, fuel efficiency and safe driving. The driver with the least costs incurred i.e. most revenue (or most profit) left is judged the overall winner.
The UDEMC isn’t just a matter of pitting drivers from different countries against each other but is organized by UD Trucks in the hopes of empowering fleet owners and truck drivers to find and learn ways to improve their operations and competency, from each other as well as from the judges, and instill a sense of professionalism into the trucking line. This is the essence of the company’s “Gemba Spirit” which is the professional, passionate and dependable spirit at the heart of UD Trucks, to serve its customers well.
FilipVan den Heede, Managing Director Hub Malaysia, UD Trucks, lamented that there’s a global shortage of skilled truck drivers (a sentiment shared by Mr Koh of Gardenia), and the UDEMC is one of the company’s initiatives to tackle this problem by encouraging a higher degree of competency and professionalism in this field to attract the young.
Yoshihiro Murakami, President of UD Trucks, also commented that UDEMC is one of UD Trucks’ commitment to go the extra mile for smart logistics. Smart logistics isn’t only about smart trucks and smart services, but also about smart drivers.
Meanwhile, Kishi Nobuhiko, Senior VP of Brand, Communication and Products, emphasized the importance of the One UD in expanding the UDEMC. “One UD means that we work as an extended family bringing together people with diverse skills and expertise from different organizations, including UD colleagues and partners around the world, with the shared determination to go the extra mile for our customers.”
“Following this ambition, we plan to increase the number of markets where we can hold the local competition stages leading to the global final competition, and to continue expanding the competition and welcoming new participating markets and customers,” he added.
South Africa was crowned the ‘Overall Winner’ title in the Quester class in this year’s UDEMC. Category winners are:
- Pre-Drive Inspection: Team Malaysia
- Driving Skill: Team Thailand
- Fuel Efficiency: Team Indonesia
UD Trucks was formerly Nissan Diesel and has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volvo Group (not to be confused with Volvo Cars) since 2007. In Malaysia, Tan Chong Industrial Equipment Sdn Bhd (TCIE) is the sole distributor of UD Trucks.