Southeastern Freight Lines is leveraging onboard technology
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Southeastern Freight Lines leverages onboard technology

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Editor-At-Large

Kerry-Stritt

Kerry Stritt, vice president of fleet services, Southeastern Freight Lines

With all the new onboard technology on trucks these days, one major nationwide carrier has found ways to use the data to effectively track vehicle performance and scheduling maintenance using information from the systems.

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According to Kerry Stritt, vice president of fleet services, Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL): “We have been utilizing the PeopleNet system to track performance issues of the vehicle such as fuel economy, idling time, cruise control usage and over-speed incidents. We are able to get this information for a single unit, an entire group of similar vehicles or any configurations we design. This is helping us test different configurations so we can maximize our fuel efficiency.

“It is also helping us determine the most efficient equipment to purchase,” he continues. “We have recently starting analyzing the fault code data generated by the system and coordinating immediate reports on any urgent issues. Less urgent issues are noted and corrected at the next preventive maintenance (PM) interval or trip through a shop location. Electronic computer module (ECM) reports such as those generated by the DDEC and Cummins engine ECMs let us further refine our scope to pinpoint trends in the engines.”

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As for schedule and performance maintenance at the various SEFL shops around the country. Stritt states that all of their equipment has set PM schedules based on miles or time and the computer flags that alert the fleet as vehicles approach these intervals. Equipment is then routed to the proper location for servicing.

The fleet uses maintenance records to determine the spec’s for new truck buys. “Using maintenance and downtime records helps us analyze the life cycle cost of any vehicle,” Stritt notes. “Using this data allows us to make educated decisions regarding lowering our costs while improving downtime. The data also allows us to buy based on value versus purchase price. We do not purchase the cheapest equipment nor do we purchase the most expensive, instead, we get the best value for our money.”

Southeastern specsSpec’d to attract drivers

SEFL fleet management understands that drivers have preferences. Stritt says, “We are specifying equipment to attract and retain drivers—as well as technicians. We are purchasing integrated engine/automated transmissions as well as automatic transmissions for our pickup and delivery fleet. We are also simplifying our fleet specs so that technicians can focus on fewer configurations, particularly as they relate to engines, transmissions and other major components. Another consideration is ease of repair, which is very important to technicians.”

Fuel efficiency spec’s

As for specs or systems to increase fuel efficiency, Stritt notes that the company is using PeopleNet systems and ECM data to help spec its equipment for maximum efficiency. The fleet also prefers to use vertical integration of the major components supplemented by automated and automatic transmissions. In addition, SEFL has a cross-functional SPC team made up of maintenance, operations and finance that are analyzing data to help it maximize fuel economy.

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