On the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, truck driver Robert Sek is slowly moving through traffic in his Volvo FH. As someone who prides themselves on their fuel-efficient driving skills, it’s a frustrating situation. “It’s not a good position,” he says while accelerating after another stop at a traffic light. “But even here you can save a lot of fuel if you drive smoothly and with better anticipation, by keeping your distance from the vehicles in front.”
Robert Sek has been a truck driver for more than 20 years and is one of Jastim’s most fuel-efficient drivers with an average consumption of 24 litres per 100 km. In return, he is regularly rewarded under a fuel saving incentive programme introduced at Jastim a few years ago. Every driver who can keep fuel consumption under 28 litres receives 300 zlotys (€70), and an additional 100 zlotys for every extra litre saved.
The programme is just one of a number of initiatives introduced by Jastim to help reduce fuel consumption across the company’s fleet. Other initiatives include investing in new trucks and technology. Jastim’s latest vehicles are equipped with Volvo Trucks’ new Euro 6 C engine and latest aerodynamic improvements, optimised for trucks driving at a constant speed range of between 60-90 kilometres per hour. Along with the Euro 6 C engine, the new aerodynamic improvements can enable a fuel saving by an additional three per cent for long and regional haul.
Today we are seeing levels of consumption that were unthinkable just 3-4 years ago. Now it is just routine.
“We are interested in all new technological developments,” says Jacek Słowiński, owner of Jastim. “Based on the amount of fuel we consume every month, an additional fuel saving of up to three per cent corresponds to thousands of litres for us.”
Fuel accounts for a significant portion of any haulage company’s costs – often up to a third – but for Jastim the company’s very survival was at stake. “The fact is that we had no choice,” adds Jacek Słowiński. “Today we cannot afford to have the level of fuel consumption we had three years ago, which was 31-32 litres. This would take us off the market.”
Jastim understood very early on that when it comes to fuel consumption, the drivers are just as important as the trucks – hence the introduction of the bonus scheme. “We made it clear that our firm's existence was dependent on the reduction of fuel consumption,” says Słowiński. “But we also made it clear from the beginning that we as a company wanted to share some of those savings with our drivers. We could not expect them to drive fuel efficiently if the company retained all the benefits.”
Concurrently, to better support its drivers, Jastim also invested in driver training, and every driver who is assigned a Volvo truck also undergoes Volvo’s Eco Driving course. As a result all Volvo drivers meet their targets and fulfil the criteria for their monthly bonus.
“Through the course drivers not only learn fuel-efficient driving, but also how to take care of the truck properly, which in turn ensures fault-free operation,” says Tomasz Wroblewski, fleet manager, Jastim. “This means better profitability for the company and more money for drivers in the form of savings bonus.”
The benefits have not only been financial either. Jastim’s three largest customers: Schenker, IKEA and DHL, all attach great importance to environmental issues and therefore put pressure on their suppliers to continuously reduce their fuel consumption. The recent savings achieved through new vehicles and driver training has helped the company meet their customers’ high expectations.
Back out on the road, Robert Sek is now moving freely on the highway. This is where he can really reap the benefits of his driver training and the Volvo FH’s features, such as cruise control, I-See and the 500 hp Euro 6 C engine. He is fast approaching 85 kph, which as he knows from his training, is the optimal speed for long-haul applications as it combines high performance with minimal fuel consumption. Keeping even speed is a crucial success factor.
“The engine is so strong that you can drive in a higher gear than what the automatic gearbox chooses, resulting in a hefty fuel saving,” says Robert Sek, as he explains his driving technique. “With the intelligent cruise control mechanism, you can put yourself into neutral when driving downhill, so the truck rolls freely and uses minimal fuel.”
It’s the perfect example of how the combination of state-of-the-art technology and skilled drivers results in optimal fuel consumption. It is also the reason why average fuel consumption at Jastim has gone down from nearly 32 litres per 100 km to 26 litres. The best drivers, such as Robert Sek, average 24 litres. “Today we are seeing levels of consumption that were unthinkable just 3-4 years ago,” says Jacek Słowiński. “Now it is just routine.”
Ownership: Jacek Slawinski
Headquarters: Warsaw, Poland
Number of employees: 94 including 70 drivers
Assignments: Transportation and forwarding of both domestic and international freight. Currently Jastim has around 200 customers, the three biggest being DB Schenker, DHL and IKEA.
Volvo trucks in fleet: 4 Volvo FH 500 and 21 Volvo FH 460.
Truck specification: Volvo FH with Globetrotter cab, D13K500 engine Euro 6 step C, I-Shift gearbox generation F with fuel eco package including I-See, Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Lane Keeping System.
Fuel consumption: 26 litres/100km – down from 32 litres/100km four years ago.
Driver training: All drivers must undergo training at least once a year. Training for Volvo drivers is always carried out by Volvo Trucks Poland.
Other services: Jastim uses Dynafleet in their Volvo trucks. The company leases the trucks via Volvo Financial Services, on leasing periods between 3-4 years.