The Global UD Trucks Customer Magazine
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:
DELIVERING BREAD TO THE NATION P18
Making the perfect Quon cab
Transporting dairy in South Africa
A day in the life of a UD mechanic
To give our customers what they want plus a little more. That’s what “going the extra mile” means to us. We leave nothing to chance. Our customers enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have the best possible solution. Our aim is to be the most committed partner—to go the extra mile in everything we do. To learn more about the difference UD Trucks can make for your business, visit www.udtrucks.com or contact your nearest UD Trucks dealership.
Going the extra mile
1-1, Ageo-shi, Saitama 362-8523, Japan udtrucks.com
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A Day in the Life of a UD Mechanic For Toshihide Hiranishi, a UD mechanic in Kanazawa Prefecture, Japan, a variety of unique challenges mean that no two days are alike.
Striking the perfect balance
y now it is clear that 2013 is a very exciting year for UD Trucks. At a time when so much is going on around the globe, it is my pleasure to be able to address all of our customers by way of an introduction to this issue of Roads. As part of our ongoing efforts to keep pace with the needs of interconnected markets around the world through innovation and evolution, we are very proud to announce the introduction in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia of a new heavy-duty truck, Quester, which you can read about in this issue. Part of my job here at UD is to oversee the development of new products such as Quester. Based on the understanding that our customers’ needs are the engine of our business, we invest in research on the real-world conditions in which our trucks operate. If I had to sum up our goal in one word, it would be “balance.” We strive to deliver a product that satisfies your needs at a competitive price, with the same durability and reliability that has become synonymous with UD Trucks worldwide. The result is the mature and diverse range of products that we are proud to offer today. Much like this issue of Roads, I can truly say we have something for everyone. In this issue you can also find two profiles of happy UD customers, read about a day in the life of a UD mechanic, and learn about monozukuri, the Japanese attitude toward aesthetics and production. With that, I would like to bid you happy reading!
From Bakery to Basket: Tasty Trails in Trinidad and Tobago On the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, bread is a daily staple. Kiss Baking relies increasingly on its UD trucks to get the job done.
Introducing Quester UD Trucks introduces Quester, a new heavyduty truck range for South East Asia’s growth markets designed to maximize fuel economy and uptime.
The Milkman Cometh Clover, South Africa’s largest dairy company, uses UD trucks to navigate the logistical hurdles of transporting milk from farm to shop.
Monozukuri – An Old Word that Keeps Up with the Times The Japanese approach to making things is evident in everything from cooking and traditional crafts to modern robotics, and indeed, trucks.
Making the Perfect Quon Cab Kunihisa Shimura, chief cab engineer at UD Trucks, talks about attention to detail and why the Quon cab is more than the sum of its parts.
Roads is published three times per year by UD Trucks Corporation udtrucks.com Publisher Per Sundström Per.Sundstrom@volvo.com Tel: +81-48-726-7601 Editorial Production Next Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.nextinc.com Tel: +81-3-6436-4270 Editor-in-Chief Kjell Fornander Executive Editor Tyler Rothmar Art Director Koichi Asano Production Manager Kazumi Umezawa Printed in Japan
Taizo Matsuo Vice President UD Trucks Product Management
Contributors to this issue: Torbjörn Selander Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Torbjörn Selander is a photojournalist and contributor to publications in the region, Europe and the United States.
Cover photograph: Keith Dannemiller
David Agren is a Mexico City-based freelance journalist who has written for USA TODAY, The New York Times and other publications.
Based in Tokyo, Tony McNicol is a writer, editor and photographer who has written widely for publications in Japan and globally.
A Day in the Life of a UD Mechanic The workday at the UD Trucks dealership in Kanazawa, northwest Japan, starts at 8:50 a.m. with five minutes of stretching exercises guided by a radio broadcast outside the entrance. Among the 40 staff limbering up is Toshihide Hiranishi. Text and Photos: Tony McNicol
UD Mechanic Toshihide Hiranishi
A “Quick” Mechanic’s Day 8:30
Arrival at work and suiting up
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Morning exercise and assembly followed by a customer center meeting
9:00 Work begins. Regular inspection and maintenance work; diagnosing trouble, locating malfunctions and other work in the maintenance bay
12:00 Lunch break
13:00 Work resumes. Once work on a vehicle is complete, the maintenance bay is cleaned up
iranishi joined UD Trucks Kanazawa 12 years ago at the age of 20. “I wanted to do something useful for society and the economy, and got interested in trucks,” he recalls. “If we didn’t have trucks to transport goods with, how could we have economic development?” Shortly after the exercises, all of the mechanics join in a morning greeting and team meeting. It’s a time to discuss what vehicles have come in, assign tasks for the day and share information on repair issues across the team. Following this, work begins in earnest. UD Trucks Kanazawa has 12 maintenance bays where 22 mechanics work on as many as 40 vehicles a day. The mechanics work in two teams: one for shaken (legally mandated vehicle inspections) and another that does a wide variety of repair work, called “Quick,” of which Hiranishi is a member. “These days we get a lot of electrical repairs to do,” says Hiranishi. The first step in dealing with such problems is to connect a laptop computer to the truck’s circuitry to run diagnostic software. It’s a far cry from the mostly basic knowledge and techniques he was taught during a two-year course at college, he says. “There’s nothing to see with electrical problems. That’s the hardest thing,” he says. “Sometimes it’s like there’s a ghost in the machine.” On the other hand, the challenge of solving such electrical conundrums is one of the job’s joys for Hiranishi. “I really get into these problems and there’s a sense of achievement when I solve them,” he says. The number of repairs Hiranishi might perform in a day varies. While some take just a few minutes, others, like an engine overhaul, can take up two or three days. Members of the repair team have to be “all-rounders,” versatile and able to
17:30 End-of-day assembly and appraisal of remaining work; tasks that need to be done that day are completed
“ Building a relationship of trust with the customer is the most important part of the job. That’s why I love doing this job.” cope with a variety of tasks, says Hiranishi. New mechanics at the dealership start off in the shaken team, as it’s a good place to pick up the job’s essential skills. Hiranishi recalls the huge amount he had to learn when he first joined UD Trucks after college. “More than 90 percent” of what he needed to know had to be picked up on the job. Back then he simply focused on getting through each day, with little time to think about his colleagues, he says. That’s another big difference; these days, he’s constantly aware of the need for teamwork. “We spend more time together than
The Kanazawa VISTA team takes a break in their busy day to pose for the camera: (from left) Toshihide Hiranishi, Mechanic; Naoki Nishida, Front; Jun Haruta, Mechanic; and Hiroshi Kontani, Mechanic.
most families,” notes Hiranishi. “It’s extremely important for us to trust and respect each other.” Some of the mechanics and office staff members are part of an informal social group called jimichi (a play on the Japanese words for “road” and “steady effort”). Their activities include kart racing and jet skiing. “Basically, we all like vehicles,” says Hiranishi. Jimichi is also the name of the dealership’s successful VISTA (Volvo International Service Training Award) team, of which Hiranishi is a member. Having won the Japanese competition last year, the team is now preparing for the 2014 World Championship in Australia in April. “If we work together as a team, we can do in Australia what we did in Japan,” he says with confidence. The dealership’s end-of-the-day meeting is at 5:30pm, but Hiranishi doesn’t necessarily stop there. Recently, he and his three VISTA teammates have been practicing hard for the upcoming competition. If an emergency repair comes in, such as a truck that has suddenly broken down nearby, the mechanics may work into the early hours. The end of the financial year in March can also be hectic, particularly for the shaken team. At such times, Hiranishi and the other repair staff pitch in to help their colleagues. “I aim to put passion and energy into everything,” Hiranishi says, echoing the dealership’s slogan. “We aren’t just repairing vehicles. For our team, building a relationship of trust with the customer is the most important part of the job. That’s why I love doing this job.”
19:00 Return home
A “Quick” mechanic’s day is always different from the one before. Work could be anything from simple jobs, like changing oil, to complex maintenance procedures spanning several days. Mechanics on call via the Hotline may be dispatched to do urgent repairs at any time.
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From Bakery to Basket:
Tasty Trails in Trinidad and Tobago
Text: David Agren Photos: Keith Dannemiller
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
an you send Kiss Cakes?” It was a simple request, but typical of the Trinidad diaspora, recalls Anna Ackbarali, supply chain manager at Trinidad and Tobago’s Kiss Baking Company Ltd., the largest commercial bakery in the Caribbean. The request came from Canada three years ago when a friend of Ackbarali’s son learned that she had taken the position at Kiss. Such is the stature of Kiss Baking: a national icon whose treats are sold not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but across the Caribbean. Kiss delivers fresh bread to all corners of Trinidad and Tobago using a fleet of UD trucks to reach thousands of sales points, ranging from supermarkets to mom-and-pop shops and gasoline stations. Ackbarali gives several reasons for Kiss Baking’s preference for UD trucks, including price, ease of maintenance and, crucially, reliability. These are no small matters in the baking business—the product is perishable and customers consider fresh bread a breakfast staple. “We find that the reliability of the truck has become very important to us,” Ackbarali says. “It takes some of our distributors 2.5 hours to reach the end of their routes. We cannot afford to have them break down and not get there.” Kiss Baking Company started in 1976 producing snack
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01 cakes and later expanded into bread—the baking of which was previously a weekend task for Trinidadians, since baked goods weren’t readily available in stores at that time. Somewhere along the way, Kiss Baking’s heart logo and signature red trucks became ubiquitous. “Kiss doesn’t only distribute to places along the main routes,” Ackbarali says. “We go into the villages. We go to the extremes of Trinidad and Tobago.”
In a country where fresh baked bread is a staple at the breakfast table, the delivery of such goods is serious business. Kiss Baking has been doing exactly that since 1976, carrying bread and cakes to the far corners of Trinidad and Tobago using a fleet consisting primarily of UD trucks.
The distribution challenges involved mean that Kiss Baking is in the logistics business as much as it’s in the baking business. While small, the main island of Trinidad covers 4,768 square kilometers, and the population of approximately 1.3 million people are spread out. The nation’s infrastructure can be problematic as well. “Logistics is one of the major challenges we have, because our roads are still very small and some are not
well paved,” Ackbarali says. “There’s a lot of wear and tear on the trucks.” Kiss operates a fleet of 150 trucks. The bigger vehicles, mostly UD trucks, deliver bread, while smaller vans deliver snack cakes and custom-made cakes for events such as birthdays and weddings. The trucks head out six days a week, with some salesmen calling on up to 100 customers each day. Dependability is a point of pride for Ackbarali and
01. One of Kiss Baking’s 60 UD trucks, painted in the company’s signature red, transports sliced bread, cakes and other baked goods for delivery.
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part of what has made Kiss Baking so successful. “One of the things we boast about is that we’ve never had a truck stay in the yard on any day. Every single route has been serviced every single day. No truck has been left in this yard,” Ackbarali says. “We think of our business as national service because there are many people who depend on Kiss delivering bread for their family breakfast.” Kiss Baking is still a young company, but it’s growing, and now boasts over 500 employees. Its fortunes mirror those of Trinidad and Tobago, which gained independence in 1961 and is home to a multicultural population that includes Africans, Indians and people from the Middle East. The nation is famous for giving the world calypso and steelpan music, and its economy has performed well over the past decade, with some bumps due to the 2008 world economic downturn. Per capita GDP tops $20,000, placing it among the best in the Caribbean, and double the figure from 2003. The island of Trinidad, located just 11 kilometers off the coast of Venezuela, is the larger of the nation’s two islands and has an industrial economy underpinned by petroleum exploration, petrochemical processing and liquefied natural gas. The island of Tobago, meanwhile, has a population of just 60,000 and takes a more Caribbean feel from its beaches and turquoise waters. The burgeoning economy brings both benefits and challenges, Ackbarali says. People have more disposable income and now purchase more pre-packaged items. But finding employees can be difficult in an expanding economy. “Our wages in the industry are some of the best,” Ackbarali says. “We try as much as possible to keep our employees for life.” One unexpected benefit is the government’s heavy subsidization of diesel fuel, which sells for less than $1 US per liter. “That’s a huge advantage for us,” Ackbarali says. “It makes the overall running costs for the vehicle
01 a whole lot less.” Surprisingly, tires are the biggest truck expense. “Our trucks are on the road a lot,” she says. UD trucks are the workhorses of the bread delivery business. Kiss Baking previously used Mercedes-Benz trucks, “But as time went on, they became more and more expensive to maintain,” Ackbarali says. Kiss switched to UD Trucks six years ago and now has 60 vehicles, along with some remaining Mercedes-Benz trucks that are being phased out. “Cost-wise, it’s much better over time, and the initial price is lower, too,” she says of the UD trucks. “Also, parts are readily available.” Kiss Baking puts priority on maintenance. All trucks are serviced according to OEM recommendations by their in-house Fleet Maintenance Department, oil is changed on schedule and the vehicles’ undercarriages are routinely inspected. Drivers are also encouraged to report any incidents that occur while on the road. Replacement vehicles are always available so that no delivery days are missed. “We keep an adequate amount of spare units to ensure that trucks are
Distributor Anand Ramdeo Likes His UD Truck Anand Ramdeo expresses pride in the way he drives when delivering bread for Kiss Baking. “[Recently] A woman came up to me and said, ‘I just try to drive the way you drive,’” Ramdeo recalls after finishing a shift. Distributors like Ramdeo take UD trucks to all corners of Trinidad and Tobago, bringing fresh bread to the people. Ramdeo operates in “one of the bigger” Kiss Baking routes in the Princes Town area of southern Trinidad. The route winds its way around steep hilltops and mudslides sometimes block the road. But Ramdeo says the worst he’s experienced with his UD truck is a flat tire. He likes his truck, especially for its air-conditioned comfort—an
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important consideration, as his workday is long. “When you’re spending that kind of time on the road, you need something comfortable,” he explains. Ramdeo’s job is more than just driving. Kiss Baking’s distributors must learn the needs of their customers. Of course they have to introduce the right products, but they also must deliver just enough bread, a tricky feat considering the perishable nature of the product. Ramdeo says he usually manages this issue well, a sign that he’s doing his job efficiently. “That’s the difference between being just a deliveryman and being a Kiss Distributor,” he says.
01. Kiss distributors carry baked goods, a staple of the Trinidad and Tobago diet. 02. Kiss Baking Supply Chain Manager Anna Ackbarali. 03. Maintenance yard staff keep Kiss Baking’s UD trucks in good health.
“ We think of our business as national service because there are many people who depend on Kiss delivering bread for their family breakfast“
02 available to go out,” Ackbarali explains. The company cuts no corners, as exemplified by its philosophy of spare parts. “Substitute parts don’t last,” says Amar Haniff, maintenance planner in the Fleet Maintenance Department. “The service life of genuine parts outperforms substitutes. Drivers like the UD trucks, too,” Haniff says. “They’re more comfortable and easy to handle.” UD trucks are popular in Trinidad and Tobago, especially models for construction, according to Neal & Massy, the UD Trucks distributor in the country. There is competition, however. American imports have started to enter the market, along with used trucks from the United Kingdom. (Trinidad and Tobago, like the U.K. and Japan, drive on the left-hand side of the road.) Ackbarali plans to continue with UD trucks and has plans to purchase more. It’s a decision driven by the reliability of UD Trucks. “Our main goal is never to disappoint our customers,” she says.
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Expanding the UD In the last week of August, 2013, the UD Trucks pantheon was set to gain a new member when Quester, a highly customizable heavy-duty truck designed from the ground up for growth markets, joins Condor and Quon.
oremost among the new truck’s notable selling points is the wide variety of possible configurations. Quester comes in seven configurations from 4x2 to 8x4, with the 8-liter GH8E and 11-liter GH11E engines available in either three or four different horsepowers, depending on configuration. Other choices include a six, nine or 12-speed gearbox and a standard or high-roof cab. The wheelbase can be tailored within a range of 3.2 meters to 5.6 meters, and for heavy and off-road applications, Quester is the first truck from a Japanese manufacturer to offer hub reduction axles. Two of the configurations have optional bogie lifting axles, which help to maximize fuel consumption and tire life. In this sense, Quester is the embodiment of the UD Trucks brand promise, “Going the Extra Mile.”
Ian Sinclair, Product Management Director
Looking After the Bottom Line Extensive research done during Quester’s design stages highlighted one obvious concern common to all truck operators around the world: the high price of fuel. As a result, Quester was engineered to address this concern from the two key angles of fuel-efficiency and uptime. When drivers look at Quester’s information panel, one of the first things they see is the new real-time Fuel Coaching System. An on-board computer runs a constant analysis on the engine’s performance and gives the driver instant feedback on when to shift up or down to home in on the so-called sweet spot, or the optimal revolution range that uses the least amount of fuel. “We noticed over many years that the driver actually has much more influence on the fuel consumption than components and drivelines. The driver can influence the fuel consumption by up to 30 percent, so if we can help to train them to be better, we can save the customers on fuel,” says Product Management Director Ian Sinclair. For this reason, Quester also comes with a training program to help drivers make the most economical use of fuel. Features to cut back on fuel consumption are complimented by others aimed at keeping Quester on the road for as long as possible. Warning lights in the information display let drivers know when regular maintenance will be needed, allowing downtime to be scheduled in advance, which maximizes uptime. Quester’s cab has been built to the highest European safety standards, meaning it’s strong enough to take on any task while protecting the driver. Also, Quester’s engine has Volvo Group technology, which translates to lessfrequent oil changes for most applications. Customizable, durable, economic and reliable, Quester represents UD Trucks’ latest effort to meet the changing needs of its customers, and is poised to become a cross-segment favorite. Quester is set for release in Thailand during August 26-28, Indonesia during September 2-6 and Malaysia during October 28-30.
Quester is the embodiment of the UD Trucks brand promise, “Going the Extra Mile.” 10
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Text: Tyler Rothmar
Quester is set for release in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia between August 26 and October 30.
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The Milkman Cometh When Clover, South Africa’s largest dairy company, decided on a new slogan last year, they chose one that reflects the crucial role that transport plays in the milk industry: “Way better.” Text: Jette Kristiansen Photos: Torbjörn Selander
f you thought air traffic control was complicated, try transporting milk from farm to shop in South Africa. Not only does the milk have to be kept at a constant temperature of below 5˚C, but every tanker route has to be meticulously planned to fit with the local farmers’ milking routines and milk volumes. These plans include details such as distances to the production plants, road quality, truck and driver availability, and seasonal demand in a vast country that sometimes experiences sweltering conditions. Different truck combinations have to be considered, with fuel consumption being weighed against terrain difficulties and other complications. Indeed, the math involved in running an efficient milk procurement business seems to call for
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nothing short of an Einstein. What’s more, similar conundrums result once the milk has been turned into a finished product and needs to be transported to the shop shelf – and all before the sell-by date is reached. South African dairy company Clover is expert in exactly this field. So much so that its cold chain transport division has become the company’s fastest growing business area. Apart from their own products such as milk, cheese, butter and cream, they are also responsible for logistics and transport for a number of other local and international brands such as Danone, Unilever and Red Bull. Clover has a 114-year history and a background in the co-operative movement. Its ultimate objective is to market the milk farmers produce, and demand for the
product dictates all supply chain activities. “At present we have 26 distribution networks in Southern Africa. Outside South Africa, we also distribute in Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia,” says Clover’s Commercial Director Dr. Jimmy Botes. “Chilled goods are more difficult to transport than frozen goods because of their limited shelf life. To solve this problem, our philosophy is to control every link in the supply chain. In this context, the vehicle is critical. Without a vehicle, all our other efforts are fruitless,” he points out. “Our relationship with Clover goes back many years. In fact, Clover is one of UD Truck Southern Africa’s most loyal customers,” says Jacques Carelse, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa. Dr. Botes explains: “The UD truck suits us
because it is not electronically complicated. Electronics became a liability to us in the past because we couldn’t assign the same driver to the same truck. Milk is collected and distributed 24/7 by drivers working in shifts, so any truck should be able to be driven by any one of our drivers without complications. Apart from that, they are also reliable work horses in difficult terrains and UD Trucks offer all the different combinations that we need.” Tobie de Villiers, general manager at Clover’s Milk Procurement Division, adds: “In some of the more distant areas with bad roads and topography, we need to collect the milk in smaller trucks and pump the milk over into bigger tankers, which can transport the milk to the final destination more efficiently.”
Running such a tight ship also puts extra demands on the drivers. “It is actually the driver who buys the milk. They are our ambassadors when they interact with the milk producers. On top of being put through rigorous driving training, the drivers must also learn how to handle and sample raw milk for later testing. Furthermore, we teach them social and communication skills, which prepare them for anything from conflict management to acting professionally under all conditions and looking presentable,” says de Villiers. Once the milk has arrived at the factory, getting the product to the shops is the next challenge. Because of the limited shelf life, shops all over the country can place their order one day and expect delivery the next. The production must more or less fit
Dr. Jimmy Botes, Clover Commercial Director
demand, as perishable products can’t be kept in a warehouse for long. Stock is taken to distribution centres during the day, then
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“Chilled goods are more difficult goods because of in this contex
distribution software system, but you still have to be on your toes,” says Delivery Manager Brigette Willemse from the City Deep Secondary Distribution Branch.
Milk Farming in South Africa
Tobie de Villiers, General Manager, Milk Procurement Division
packed into trucks at night that leave at 6:00 a.m. the following morning for the shops. Planning distribution to the shops is another logistical puzzle. “We go to most of the bigger stores all over the country six times a week and the delivery routes have to be planned every single day of the week, because they change constantly. We use the IDS
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Clover’s milk suppliers cover a wide spectrum in terms of approach, size and topography. Most farms are situated along dirt roads where dust, mud and mountainous terrain make every milk truck’s journey a challenge. During winter, snow is a common phenomenon in some regions, and this is a real challenge for both driver and truck. Very few farms are located close to main infrastructure arteries. One might still find a milk producer playing classical music to his cows during milking, but most producers have streamlined their production to an extent that it is almost factory-like. The fact is, the current economic climate in South Africa has created a situation in which smaller producers either sell or get bigger. As a result, Clover has seen its producer base shrink from more than 1,000 to 240 during
the last ten years. Since the global economic crisis hit four years ago, bringing drastic price hikes in fuel and foodstuffs, about two-thirds of Clover’s milk farmers gave up and either sold their farms or changed to other more lucrative types of farming. “It was typically the small farmers who couldn’t make ends meet,” says Manager of Milk Procurement Logistics Anton van den Berg. “Our milk volume has nevertheless remained constant, because the big farms that survived have expanded hugely. Today, the margins are so small that you have to be able to deliver more than 5,000 liters of milk per day to make a profit.” Clover’s main milk producer in the Western Cape region currently produces 95,000 liters every day. He is also Clover’s biggest milk producer nationally. Three UD tanker-trailer combinations collect milk on the farm in the morning, noon and evening, seven days a week. Efficiency is at the heart of this business model. Gone are the days when cows calved in the spring. Cows on this farm are
01. Clover’s UD trucks regularly navigate dirt roads and rough terrain to reach dairy farms. 02. The source of Clover’s product, dairy cows on a farm in South Africa.
03. Fleet Manager Riaan Naude coordinates issues such as fuel consumption and insurance for 950 vehicles, 65% of which are UD trucks.
to transport than frozen their limited shelf life… t, the vehicle is critical.“ Dr. Jimmy Botes, Commercial Director
synchronised and calf all year round to ensure a steady flow of milk. Gone too are the days when high quality milk equalled a high cream content. On this farm cows are fed a special diet of grass, corn, alfalfa and other food supplements to ensure a high quantity of milk output with a low fat content of about 3.5 percent, as it would be too expensive for Clover to separate the milk fat from the milk and transport it to their butter factory located more than 1600 kilometers away. Instead, it is sold locally as fresh milk. These huge quantities of milk also put serious pressure on timing and truck reliability. It takes about an hour and a half to fill each truck, and subsequently the farmer needs an hour to clean his tank before he can start milking again. Once produced, the fresh milk has to be cooled down to below 5˚C before it can be loaded onto the truck. As everything has been precisely timed, there is no margin of error for a milk truck to break down or be late. Such an occurrence could create havoc on the farm as well as at Clover’s factory and
further down the supply chain.
Fleet Manager Riaan Naude Clover has 950 trucks in their fleet, of which 65 percent are UD trucks. Of the remaining 35 percent that are not UD trucks, most are trailers and small vehicles. The person responsible for it all is Fleet Manager Riaan Naude. The company employs 941 drivers nationwide. Together they drive 60 million kilometers per year—a distance equal to that between the sun and the planet Mercury. These conditions put enormous demands on the fleet. “I’m responsible for fuel consumption, drivers, insurance, branding on the trucks and research, in terms of fuel consumption, etc. I also do the specifications according to the topography of the terrain we’re in. We now use trucks with an automatic gearbox and double axle, which has been an improvement both for our drivers and in terms of damage to the trucks,” says Riaan Naude. “We lease all of our vehicles from leasing company Eqstra, which is also responsible
for maintenance. But because we have been using UD trucks for so long, we also have a close relationship with them. For instance, I have been to see the assembly factory. I can send UD Trucks a list of my requirements, and they usually provide solutions,” says Naude, who has been with Clover for 24 years. “I love my job, it’s never boring. To me, this is the best company to work for. I like the people and the brand. My colleagues are my friends. I have a passion for transport and I grew up on a farm, so to me this is the perfect job!” Naude concludes.
Milk and Transport Around 15 percent of the cost of producing a bottle of milk comes from transport costs. At the same time, transport is also a vital link in the supply chain. It is therefore imperative to Clover to have full control over its own logistics and transportation to ensure that it is run reliably and with optimum efficiency. The reliability of UD Trucks has made Clover one of UD Trucks Southern Africa’s biggest and most loyal customers.
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Monozukuri —An Old Wo Monozukuri, the art of making things, touches everything from pottery Text: Mark Schreiber and swords to robots and trucks.
he Japanese historical work Taikoki, first published in 1626, contains an account of a warlord named Akechi Mitsuharu. When his castle was besieged by a powerful enemy and the situation appeared hopeless, under a truce, Akechi sent out works of art and tea ceremony implements, saying, “I cannot bear to see these pieces reduced to ashes. I give them into your keeping, so that they will remain among the living. Please accept them.” Akechi found it shameful to allow the pieces to be lost in the flames of his defeat. “I would be disgraced by posterity for deeds unworthy of our warrior traditions,” he was recorded as saying. “I therefore entrust them The warlord Akechi Mitsuharu crossing a lake with his famous horse, Okage, in to your care.” a woodblock print from 1883 by Utagawa Toyonobu. It may seem something of a paradox, but in those times, members of the warrior qualities that evoke a synergy by which people form samurai class reconciled their martial spirit with a deep psychological or emotional attachments. appreciation for beauty and respect for those who Canadian author Timothy Hornyak, author of Loving created it. the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots These sentiments are embodied in the Japanese (Kodansha International, 2006) offers this insight, word monozukuri, which is made up of mono (thing) using karakuri ningyo, the mechanical dolls of the Edo and zukuri, the nominative form of the verb tsukuru period, as an example: (to make). Simply put, in its basic form the word “Karakuri ningyo are spectacular examples of means “making things.” how even centuries ago the Japanese were keen In English, monozukuri is defined as on using technology to inspire and delight,” he “manufacturing,” “craftsmanship” and “making says. “In typical Japanese fashion, the remarkable things by hand.” Native speakers of Japanese typically clockworks craftsmanship that enabled a tea-serving relate it to such traditional occupations as sword doll, for example, to approach a guest, offer tea, and making, ceramics or textiles, but it can be expanded then return to its starting point was hidden behind to cover almost anything that is made with an artisan’s a gorgeous exterior—the porcelain-white face and mindset and attention to detail, from the brewing of patterned kimono. sake (rice wine) to food preparation by a master chef. “So essentially monozukuri was the marriage of By implication, monozukuri also carries a sense of beauty and ingenuity.” continuity. A creative genius who dies without leaving It is somehow reassuring to know that monozukuri an heir to preserve his tradition may be remembered, and modernity are by no means mutually exclusive. but one who arranges to pass on his knowhow to A recent article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper future generations is admired even more. This is used the term “digital monozukuri revolution” when why it became a common practice for a craftsman referring to 3D printing technology. And indeed, in without offspring to formally adopt a promising young the Japanese scheme of things, if computers can be apprentice into his family. harnessed to mass produce wondrously exquisite things While the word is not always easy to define, people that will synergize with their users, there is no reason agree on certain key attributes. These include eyewhy monozukuri cannot be used to describe them. pleasing design, a sense of refinement and other
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rd that Keeps Up with the Times
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Perfect Quon There is far more to the Quon cab than first meets the eye. Roads talks to cab engineer Kunihisa Shimura.
Text and Photos: Tony McNicol
Goldilocks effect comes into play. If the polyurethane cushions are too hard, it will be uncomfortable. If they are too soft, it will be equally uncomfortable. They have to be just right. The seat has its very own air suspension to reduce vibrations and bumps. If there is too much jostling, drivers can begin to feel pain in their backs. In fact, since both the cab and the truck itself also have suspension, there are three sets of suspension between the driver and the road—an invaluable asset in markets where road conditions leave something to be desired. No driver wants the local version of the infamous “African massage,” a nickname for the bumps and jolts of a particularly rough road. In markets such as Australia, the huge distances involved mean drivers have to work in pairs, one sleeping while the other drives. The sleeping space behind the seats is bigger than it looks at first glance—200 cm by 60 cm—allowing drivers to stretch out comfortably. Visibility was another consideration when designing the Quon cab, says Shimura. Kunihisa Shimura, Chief Engineer, Cab Engineering Generally speaking, because trucks are so high, it can be helps to keep the driver fresh and alert. difficult to see the area right in front of the In some markets, Quon drivers can be at the wheel for 10 hours or more. “Of course, cab. One solution is to position the driver as close to the windscreen as possible, but drivers will still get tired, but we can try to that can make the cab feel cramped. prevent it a little,” Shimura says. In the Quon, the windscreen is specially To that end, the high-roof Quon angled for maximum visibility. Likewise, the model has a 188.8 cm-tall cab, allowing side pillars are as narrow as possible and the average truck driver to stand in the positioned to minimize blind spots. One passenger seat area to stretch or change distinctive feature unique to the Japanclothes. market model is a small window, placed low Another crucial factor in preventing driver on the passenger-side door, through which fatigue is the seat. Here, the so-called hat does it take to make the perfect truck cab? If anyone knows, it’s Kunihisa Shimura, chief engineer of cab engineering at UD Trucks HQ in Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. “The most notable aspect of this cab’s design is the balance between aerodynamics and comfort,” Shimura says. Using computer simulations and windtunnel experiments with a scale model, the aerodynamic performance of the latest Quon was improved 5 percent to 6 percent compared to the model it replaced, thanks in part to the wind deflector on top of the cab. For operators, this equates to a valuable 2 percent to 3 percent improvement in fuel economy. Of course, it could have been possible to improve aerodynamics further by streamlining the cab, but there was another crucial factor to consider—the comfort of the driver. A roomy, square-shaped cab might not be the most aerodynamic, but it
“ The most notable aspect of this cab’s design is the balance between aerodynamics and comfort.”
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01. Kunihisa Shimura sits in the cab of a Quon at the UD Trucks facility in Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. 02. Quon’s cab interior was engineered to put total control of the vehicle at the driver’s fingertips. 03. Quon’s passenger seat. Extra care was taken to strike a balance between comfort and support.
01 drivers can see cyclists and pedestrians when the truck makes a left turn. The visual environment inside the truck was another important consideration for designers. The interior needs to have muted colors to avoid tiring drivers’ eyes. It can’t be too shiny either, as it might cause distracting reflections on the windscreen. The interior also has to be a color that doesn’t easily show dirt or wear. For those reasons, neutral grays were chosen, with a gentle silver tone for the dashboard area and a slightly brighter upper section to create a sense of space. “The color needs to be calming. It’s not like a normal car, which can be a bit brighter,” says Shimura. In fact, all five senses were considered in the design of the Quon’s cab, which is the quietest in its class. Special materials
were used to reduce vibrations and absorb sounds from the engine and air rushing past the cab. The aim, however, wasn’t to completely soundproof the cab. “If there was no sound at all, it could be quite frightening for drivers,” says Shimura. The Goldilocks effect comes into play yet again. Even smell was considered. The cab was designed to meet newly introduced regulations on volatile organic chemicals (VOC). These are the chemicals in adhesives, resins and other substances that give the “new car” smell. They can make drivers of new cars feel queasy or cause headaches. VOCs in the Quon were reduced to onetenth that of prior models. So what were the biggest challenges for the Quon cab’s designers? According to Shimura, one was reducing the weight of the cab to an absolute minimum to
02 allow more cargo. Another was “fitting the heaters, pedal machinery, meters etc. into as small a space as possible, to leave maximum room for the driver.” Lastly, there’s one aspect of the cab for which designers might be forgiven for having some ambivalent feelings: customization. Popular changes include the installation of CB radios, curtain changes
and other alterations. The area to the left of the dashboard uses German DIN standards to allow easy rearrangement or replacement of modules. The Quon’s cab is an adept balance of efficiency, performance, comfort and safety, making it yet another demonstration of the designers’ focus on the most important consideration of all: the needs of the driver.
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