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According to HFR Transport, one of South Africa’s largest independent refrigerated transporters, consistent pressure from numerous forms of taxes including cross-border taxes, e-tolls, inspection fees, vehicle licensing fees and more, render the road freight industry verging on uneconomical. With more taxes on the cards, such as the carbon tax now postponed to 2016, transportation companies must operate ‘lean and mean’.

A key focus on financial stability for this industry means maintaining highly efficient operations that avoid time and cost wastage, so clients can benefit from optimized rates. For refrigerated fleets carrying foodstuffs and temperature controlled or sensitive products, the emphasis on time efficiency is even greater.

Heinrich Schaefer, HFR Transport CEO says, “The drive for improved efficiencies is literally never-ending in this industry. As we are constantly faced with an increasingly competitive market and more pressure on our margins from taxes and legal requirements, the need for strategic solutions grows. Technology plays an important role here.”

Clear communication lines between drivers and depots are critical for customer service. Schaefer, whose clients include some of the country’s largest retailers, comments, “We are committed to providing our customers with the best on time service delivery, ensuring compliance to transport legislation, responsible business practice and conformance to all safety measures.” Assisting HFR Transport in meeting these standards is its partnership with Tracker Business, leading tracking and fleet management solutions company.

According to Schaefer, the flexibility that Tracker is able to deliver means the solution meets their needs head on in terms of integration and their specific fitment needs. “Importantly, the solution is also user-friendly and very proactive in terms of maintenance management, order dispatching and communication between drivers and fleet managers,” he says. Workflow is now dynamically managed in order to make the best use of the fleet on the day-to-day and HFR Transport has seen huge improvements in saving time due to the order dispatching function.

Being able to track and trace vehicles using real-time information enables fleet managers to effectively plan fuel stops and necessary maintenance intervals. Navigation enables more deliveries to be made in less time and the speed and mileage of these jobs is also monitored so valuable opportunities for saving money can be identified.

Mike van Wyngaardt, Executive for Tracker Business says, “Fleet efficiencies result in increased productivity so drivers are able to make additional deliveries in the same amount of time. For the fleet owner, it means sweating their assets and earning additional revenue.”

For customer-service orientated companies like HFR Transport, efficiencies mean they can keep their promise to clients of best service and reliability.

With economic pressures placing a strain on resources and profitability across most industries in South Africa, the need to limit wastage and foster an attitude of productivity has never been greater. For the road freight industry, expenses such as e-tolls and rampant fuel costs are here to stay but seeking solutions that consistently drive efficiencies in key operations within the business can go a long way towards putting the breaks on unnecessary wastage.