South Australian food distributor delivers with Scania V8 power and efficiency
When it comes to putting food on the tables of South Australians, Wightman Transport has backed Scania trucks to help them get the job done, including the purchase of five new vehicles delivered this month
Peter and Josh Starke with one of the Scania trucks at Wightman's Transport in South Australia
Wightman Transport, who are contracted to a major logistics chain to deliver groceries for supermarkets in South Australia, now have a fleet of 37 Scania trucks, ranging from refrigerated pantech A-B triples, B-triples and B-doubles as well as a number of Scania rigids for last minute deliveries. "Doug Wightman started his business in 1964 with a contract to deliver for a supermarket chain and we continue that business today, albeit now as a subcontractor," Peter Starke says. That 58-year relationship must be one of the longest in SA, if not Australia, and it is at the core of the family-owned business, that employs not only Peter and his wife, Meredith, but also son Josh as general operations manager and daughter Jess in payroll and accounts.
"We deliver reliability for our customer and their customer, and Scania is a key element of that reliability," Starke says. Starke says that the fleet is almost entirely Scania as he has traded five older European trucks for five new R 620 V8 prime movers.
Five new Scania trucks are about to hit the roads in South Australia
He says the new trucks will be charged with pulling larger combinations including road trains and A-B triples where possible, using fewer trucks to move more freight for greater productivity and efficiency when it comes to fuel burn. "Our SA routes take us to the Iron Triangle, to Broken Hill as well as Berri and Mildura, Mount Gambier and Melbourne, and we run as many trailers in combinations as we are allowed to those locations.
"On an average day we'll be sending out 100 plus loads - local and regional - which includes deliveries to local supermarkets across South Australia. "In our peak we can efficiently move up to 200 plus pallets to and from the Iron Triangle, this includes tomatoes out of Sundrop Farms." Wightman's have been buying Scania trucks since 2014 when open book contracting came in with their key client.
"We had other European trucks, but only Scania could provide a G 440 4x2 with air at both ends which allowed us to get deliveries into underground loading bays at supermarkets," Starke says. "That truck is still working today, with around 700,000 km on it, and it has been brilliant." The Wightman fleet also includes a 2018 R 560 V8 which has clocked up 1,000,000 km with the only work outside of standard servicing required so far being the fitting of a new water pump.
"We've had some six-cylinder G 500s, but our preference is for the V8s," Starke says. "Fuel is a key element of our business planning and ensuring we run as efficiently as possible is important. Where we can we'll backload produce such as tomatoes, blackberries, and grapes from around South Australia and Victoria.
Even with a backload we can average 1.9-2.0 km per litre as a triple with the V8s," he says. The business also makes use of Scania's fleet monitoring capabilities to report all truck movements and driver behaviour. "We had Scania driver trainer Kylie Shire down to go through the trucks with the newer drivers to explain the onboard tech and how to get the most from the engine with the best fuel figures," Starke says.
"Thanks to the monitoring we can, for example, see who uses the power mode for the gearbox when the economy mode should be used, and we can pull them up on it. The training and the monitoring had a massive impact on the driver scoring, as well, and we're very proactive about reinforcing the training messaging about efficiency," Peter says. "This isn't just about the boss being paranoid about fuel burn, but also, we need to be able to show our customer and theirs' how safely our drivers are performing, no excessive over-speeding, etc.
I have an employee who checks every logbook entry against the monitoring system trip report to ensure there are no anomalies. That's how we can show our client that we are meeting their requirements for safe and courteous driving. "Our trucks are on the road all day six and a half days per week, the drivers are paid well, so there's no incentive to speed."
Starke says the drivers spend a long time behind the wheel, driving long distances, and he's found the Scania set up helps to keep them comfortable. "One of my guys who came (reluctantly) from an American truck said he'd never go back to it after driving the Scania," he says. "One of the guys I share a yard with has American trucks and he's looked at the Scania bunk and commented on how much bigger his trucks are, but today so many drivers sleep in motels, so the bunk area is not an issue."
Peter's trucks are serviced by Scania at Wingfield in Adelaide and there's a standing booking for a truck to be serviced overnight on Tuesdays and Thursdays. "The management there know how important it is for us to get the trucks in and out quickly," Peter says. Wightman's is also a loyal customer of Haulmark Trailers and Peter pays tribute to the efforts of Mark Crossling, James, and Joe there for keeping their trailers services and repaired.
"We have two trailers a day in at Haulmark for servicing. We service trailers every 35,000 km, and they never let us down." Looking into the future Starke sees an increase in awareness of environmental issues and says he will be moving to Euro 6 emissions.
"I've seen a Scania R 660 V8 and that looks like it will be our next specification. I already have a Limited-Edition R 650 V8 in the fleet. "With the new batch of five trucks, truck Number 1 honours the founder of the business Doug Wightman.
His original truck was a Fuso and was painted red and white, and our new one will be running as a B-double or road-train on the Adelaide to Mildura run, under the control of one of our leading drivers." Scania's Wingfield account manager Tim Jensen says the relationship with Wightman Transport was an example of working together to deliver great results. "Wightman Transport is a great example of how Scania can not only deliver excellent product that's right for the application, but also a series of additional services that assist the business to run as efficiently and productively as possible," Jensen says.
"Peter and Josh have grasped the advantages of the whole Scania offer. We are delighted to deliver five new V8s and look forward to continuing a long running relationship with this very high-profile fleet."
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