Trailer Magazine

A new standard

  • Posted on Tuesday 6th, February 2018
A new standard

The striking red and blue logo adorning PFD Food Services’ matching rigid trucks has become a recognisable sight all around the nation, but behind the scenes, creating a nationally uniform fleet has been a complex process.

Glossy white rigid trucks with the colourful PFD Food Services oval emblazoned across the side can be seen all around Australia, delivering groceries anywhere from sporting events to local milk bars and practically every type of food outlet in between.

Yet, although the general public would be hard pressed to spot a difference between any two PFD trucks these days, the company’s National Fleet Manager, Steve Wright, says that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the fleet has changed dramatically since Steve was first hired to unload containers in the 1990s.

Since Steve took on the National Fleet Manager’s role over 10 years ago, a new standardised vehicle has replaced many of the acquired and aggregate trucks, with the company now counting more than 750 rigid trucks in the fleet.

“We usually buy the premium model in the range to include things like Isri seats, cruise control, reversing cameras, heated mirrors, stereos and bluetooth, as they all help to keep the drivers comfortable and happy. I could buy cheaper trucks, but when you look at whole of life cost including retention, I believe we are on the right track,” Steve explains – adding that the current PFD rigid truck design is also heavily focused on improving driver safety.

“As part of making a standard design, we made it safer, and the injury rate has dramatically decreased. When I started, most of the company’s injuries were from drivers falling out of the trucks. The inside of the back of our trucks were grey, and it’s pretty much the same colour as concrete, so if you’re not paying attention or the sun’s in your eyes, it can be hard to tell where the truck ends and the concrete begins. So, we added yellow safety strips, see-through curtains and grab handles near the edge of the truck, which drastically improved the driver safety.”

In explaining the company’s growth, Steve says it’s just about accumulating a fleet of consistent vehicles that the company can always rely on to deliver goods for its customers. “You can promise whatever you want, but if you can’t deliver, you’ll never sell again. PFD is really good at selling a service and we’ve put together a fleet that is really good at delivering on it every time. It’s a lot of hard work, but even after 20 years with this company I still get excited about going to work every day and continuously improving the fleet.”

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