Lilydale Instant Lawn operates across the suburban expanse of Melbourne, from residential to industrial estates, contracting for council and commercial lawn supply with projects ranging from front and back yards through to larger projects like golf courses and Sandown racecourse.
As a seasonal business, Lilydale Instant Lawn has accelerated its means of production so as to limit the impact of being at the mercy of the weather all year round.
The customer base is mainly split between home owners who represent about half the daily business which requires getting its trucks and trailers into backstreets for up to ten deliveries a day on each truck. The other half of the business – according to General Manager, Steve Cole – is commercial.
“It’s normal for a semi-trailer to do that many jobs in a day,” he says. “Eight drops are the average for a truck handling front and back lawns.”
Lilydale Instant Lawn runs its trucks all over Melbourne in dense traffic conditions in contrast to the relatively uninterrupted 500km run out to its farm in Bairnsdale. Those same trucks can often be navigating suburban back streets the very next day. Running high volume deliveries in high density areas has dictated, by Steve’s own admission, a preference for European commercial vehicles. As each prime mover is covering an estimated 80,000 kilometres per year in and out of traffic, fuel efficiency and handling is of paramount importance.
The company is now running a Scania R480 and New Generation G500, the newest addition to its fleet. According to Steve, the two-year old R480 brought about a noticeable improvement in fuel burn when it came on board and the latest Scania, which was added in December 2018, has since delivered an improvement on top of that.
“We’re seeing fuel efficiency improvements with the G500 and the best we’ve seen so far on the Scania monitoring report would reflect roughly a ten per cent improvement for mileage of performance per litre,” Steve says. “In freight we know that’s variable but that’s our best to date.”
It’s now essential for Steve and his team to try and replicate that performance going forward. Having two Scanias running at the same time has allowed for greater insights into the driver rating, should it decrease or improve. More of the same kind of trucks running, according to Steve, makes it’s possible to benchmark the fleet.
“When you start comparing the two trucks over a period of time they ultimately do the same work,” says Steve. “Over a month one might do a bit more country run while the other might be around town the same day. That’s the variable I’m talking about we see at the moment.”
Truck performance, Steve believes, as a rule, can be compared to driver performance. In that sense, from an operational perspective, the two go hand-in-hand.
“The benefits that you see in fuel consumption are also likely to drop off following a poor driver rating,” he says. “The driver can have as much impact on a truck as what the truck itself can do. From that perspective we’ll be looking at Scania Driver Training to ensure we’re getting the utmost out of these vehicles.”