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Leading the way

Leading truck manufacturer Scania solves a South African packaging company’s transport problem

Since volume took precedent over weight in South African packaging company Golden Era’s transport strategy, the company turned to leading truck manufacturer Scania to help it solve the unique challenges it faced in getting products such as beverage cans to its customers.

“The more volume our trucks carry, the more costs we are able save,” says Brent Bressler, operations manager for Golden Era’s Mogwase-based Mopani Logistics Division. “Scania supplied the solution.”

Golden Era runs a fleet of 73 trucks – about 45 percent of them Scanias, most of which have been acquired since Bressler joined the company full-time three years ago. Prior to that he had worked for the company as a transport contractor. “I was well-versed in Golden Era’s needs,” he says. “I knew what the company required from a vehicle in order to maximise profitability.

“Apart from the usual things such as reliability, fuel-efficiency and comfort, most of all what I was looking for was a vehicle that could carry more volume. Although I had discussions with representatives from many truck brands, in the main their attitude was: ‘This is the vehicle we can supply, take it or leave it.’

“Scania was different. Its representatives listened and devised customised solutions that met Golden Era’s unique needs. Whereas before I would need five trucks to deliver a quota of beverage cans, I now need only three because of the increased volume each can carry. That represents a huge financial saving for the company.”

Customisation options effected by Scania in purpose-building trucks to Golden Era’s requirements included adapting wheelbases, lowering suspension settings and fitting the vehicles with smaller tyres to keep them within road ordinance specifications while maintaining a load aperture of 3,1 m.

Subsequently, Bressler has turned to Scania to supply other trucking solutions tailored to Golden Era’s needs, including Scania Fleet Management and Scania Financial Services. “When we bought our second set of Scanias we moved them all onto maintenance contracts, which proved to be beneficial from both technical and financial points of view. Since then, I’ve moved all the other Scanias in the fleet onto similar contracts.

“And the last set of Scanias we bought were financed through Scania Finance – again a move that’s proved beneficial. The division has become a trusted partner, providing flexible financing solutions well-suited to Golden Era’s business needs – costs are predictable and manageable over the entire lifecycle of the vehicles. The next set of Scanias we buy will be similarly financed,” he says.

Bressler adds that Scanias on Golden Era’s long-haul routes cover about 17 000 km each a month, while those used for district deliveries cover about 11 000 km. “Also, we have short-haul vehicles in the fleet which rack up about
5 000 km a month each,” he says.

From an original fleet of six Scania G460s which were acquired in 2011 and later traded in for new ones, Golden Era now has an additional six G460s; three P250s; three P310s and 15 P410s in its line-up, with the company expecting to take delivery of more P410s in the near future.

“In terms of uptime, all of the Scanias have performed well,” says Bressler. “When vehicles need a routine service, we take them in early in the morning and they are usually out by lunchtime – another factor which has impressed me. And breakdowns in the field have been extremely rare. Across the board, the brand’s levels of assistance have been exemplary – representatives from all departments have proved to be very helpful, in my experience always putting Golden Era’s needs first.”

Naas Burger, Scania Fleet’s key account manager, says the brand works hard to save customers money. “Transport is often not the core focus of a business, but it can make a significant difference to the entity’s bottom line. In Golden Era’s case, it was our job to make sure that the trucks and services we supplied met the company’s stipulated requirements – and we’re pleased that they’re pleased with the results.”

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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