The best UD fleet gathered recently for the UD Trucks Extra Mile Challenge (UDEMC) 2017 Global Final driver competition. Truck & Bus News was among the media invited by UD Trucks and its long standing distributor Tan Chong Industrial Equipment (TCIE) to witness the event.
Global Finale: UD Trucks Extra Mile Challenge 2017
Held at the UD Trucks Experience Centre in Ageo, Saitama, Japan, the annual competition consisted of numerous efficiency and safety evaluations. Participants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Africa and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region competed in either the Quester or Quan heavy truck category; this was the first time the UDEMC was organised in this manner. The first edition was mainly on Quan, followed by Quester.
“We are passionate in supporting the drivers. Through the UDEMC, we aim to help enhance driver capability and confidence, refine their skills and go the extra mile. The passion to make that extra effort is our ‘gemba’ spirit and we are committed to improving our customers’ businesses at their ‘gemba’, regardless of the countries. ‘Gemba’ means listening to and understanding the needs and requirements of our customers, and take action based on their suggestions,” said Nobuhiko Kishi, UD Trucks Senior Vice President, Brand and Product.
As a committed partner in supporting clients to go the extra mile with its products and services, which are backed by its core value of ‘Ultimate Dependability’, UD Trucks is aware of the many challenges that the today’s transport companies face in meeting the level of supply needs, which changes frequently depending on the economic situation. Now in its third edition, the UDEMC is a competition programme specially designed to create an opportunity for customers to find clues and tips, and take away solutions to improve their transport operation.
The Extra Mile Challenge also proves how the UD Trucks’ ‘Gemba Spirit’ – the professional, passionate and dependable spirit at the heart of UD Trucks – is aimed at customers.
Earlier at the Tokyo Motor show, UD Trucks Vice-President of Brand and Marketing Communications Kenneth Hagås told us that the UDEMC was one of the initiatives taken by the company to tackle the shortfall of drivers. According to him, the drivers currently in the trucking industry were mostly aged 45 years and above. Thus, it was important to look at ways to attract the new generation to the trucking industry.
The detailed briefing before the competition gave us a better idea of the essence of UDEMC and how it distinguished itself from the others. It was not just about driving skills but also about how to keep the vehicle in optimum condition, drive safely and economically as well as make full use of a Quester or Quanin maximising productivity and uptime.
For the challenge, every driver was given a ‘set revenue’ to compete in a simulated transport delivery cycle. Each took turns to undergo a series of tests consisting of uptime and maintenance cost (pre-drive inspection and trip time), fuel efficiency, safety driving that included driving skills, traffic rules and being cargo friendly. Every time the driver made an error, the revenue would be deducted. The driver with the highest revenue balance based on transport calculations at the end of the competition was the overall winner.
For the cargo friendly category, a container filled with water was placed in the cargo compartment of the truck. After the fourth round of driving, the driver parked the truck at a designated parking area. The amount of water that spilled from the container was then measured by the judge and the driver with the leastspillage was announced the winner.
In the Quester category, four regional champions from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa competed.
Later in the evening at the award presentation dinner, the Malaysian team comprising Anuar Ahmad of Gardenia Bakeries (KL) SdnBhd won the ‘Best Pre-drive Inspection’ award, while the Indonesian team was named the winner of ‘Best Fuel Efficient Driving’. The Thailand team was awarded ‘Best Driving Skill’ and the overall champion was Lafras Kruger from RA Transport of South Africa team.
Also present were UD Trucks Group Trucks Asia Sales-Malaysia Managing Director Filip Van den Heede, TCIE Executive Director Tan Keng Meng and Chief Executive Officer Wong King Yoon.
The positive feedback from the participating drivers and fleet owners was a testimony of how the UDEMC had benefited them respectively. For the drivers, it motivated them to excel and bring in their best while for fleet owners, it helped them to increase their operation’s efficiency, which resulted in better customer satisfaction that would ultimately translate to further business success. In addition, it also contributed to safer roads.