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The Global UD Trucks Customer Magazine

ISSUE 2 2014


Family freighting Thumbs up Farewell to the Big Thumb Brisbane Danger, meet opportunity Tips & tricks Fuel efficient driving

ISSUE 2 2014 04

Dear friends,

Namibia Family freighting VZ trucking in Windhoek

We are delighted to meet you again through this latest issue of Roads, your magazine about UD Trucks and the world of road transportation. Quon 2014


In the last few months we have toured around the Southern Hemisphere, in the midst of its beautiful autumn, visiting our customers; we return with some inspiring stories, where hard work brings prosperity.

Staying ahead



Danger, meet opportunity

In the vast land of Namibia, VZ Trucking distributes supplies to the far reaches of the country, and is getting ready to expand its activities across the borders with even larger forces. You’ll also discover the story of DGL Logistics in Australia, a company which started by specializing in the transportation of dangerous goods, then expanded their specific procedures to a larger range of business, and has become a major transportation company with more than 300 trucks. Sitting down with Jon Mclean, you will get to know a passionate man, and how this former mechanic became the Vice President of Sales at UD Trucks Australia. Once more illustrating what we call the Gemba spirit at UD. The past makes who we are today and keeps us on track for a better future. By revisiting our company in the 1950s, you will learn about our deep-seated philosophy, embedded in our DNA. The 6TW carried the re-construction of Japan on its wheels, and contributed to helping the country achieve the infrastructure triumph by the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. We hope you enjoy this issue, and don’t forget your comments and suggestions are always welcome at


In conversation with Jon Mclean VP of sales at UD Australia


Indonesia Gemba Challenge Servicing clients is an everyday competition



Moving into the expressway era The truck which accompanied Japanese industrial revolution


Technology Protective cell How UD engineers ensure your safety


The last thumbs up Bye bye Big Thumb! Tribute to an iconic truck


Tradition Total Quality Management How it revolutionized production worldwide


Trucker tips and tricks A few simple steps to save a lot of fuel

Until we have the pleasure of hearing from you, Keep trucking!

Yusuke Sakaue President UD Trucks Corporation

Roads is published by UD Trucks Corporation Publisher Per Sundström Tel: +81 48 726 7601 Produced by Tel: +86 139 111 55 788

Cu s to m e r Sto r y - N a mib ia

Family freighting

In the harsh, barren land of Namibia where airports are a luxury you don’t always have, road transportation is essential to the survival and growth of the nation. This challenging yet beautiful land is where the Van Zyl family put down its roots and operates a successful trucking company. Text: Lesley Stones Photos: Jordi Matas


alking into the loading bays of VZ Trucking, located alongside one of its key customers Etosha Transport, what strikes you is the large array of goods waiting to be loaded: tires, food, machinery… Loaders in clean blue uniforms are busy and organized; every item is labeled with codes and scanned into a tracking and documenting system. The Van Zyls, owners of the business, are working among the crew, ensuring


everything runs smoothly. Sixty-two-year-old Louis Van Zyl, founder of the business, is happy to say his company isn’t the cheapest in the business, but he believes it’s the best. “Our family is very hands-on, and customers want that. Other companies just send a driver to do the job but we are always there on the ground,” he says. “To me, there are three vital things:

first, service; second, service; and third, price,” he smiles. VZ Trucking run by father Louis Van Zyl, elder son Jacques and second son Willie, is well respected as a reliable, professional, careful and competitive outfit.

Reroot and thrive Van Zyl grew up in South Africa and worked for the national railways in the

cargo division. Once Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, the railway needed someone to coordinate the delivery of cargo being transported there. Van Zyl relocated to Windhoek, the capital, with his wife and two young sons. In 1996 the Namibian railway named a local man to take over Van Zyl’s position and offered him another position back

home in South Africa. But the family chose to stay in the adopted homeland it had grown to love. His background in cargo made Van Zyl a familiar figure in the industry, and tempted by the adventure of starting his own company, he plunged into his savings and bought two secondhand small trucks to start VZ Trucking. The deal that jump-started his business was with Etosha Transport, a division


of the Imperial Group, which trucks goods to its warehouse in Windhoek from South Africa. VZ Trucking then distributes those goods around Windhoek in smaller trucks. A further large contract soon followed with Bokomo, another major distribution business operating in Namibia that imports dried foodstuffs from South Africa to Windhoek. VZ Trucking loads up the foodstuffs and delivers it to different towns all over the country. This operation has also helped to improve the lives of people in the far south of this desolate country, with deliveries now made on a weekly basis instead of every third week or so in the days before VZ Trucking won the contract.

A smart business VZ Trucking also works closely with Dunlop, a contract that sees it load up new tires from Dunlop’s receiving hub in Windhoek and deliver them throughout the country in long-haul wagons, often returning with a load of retread tires and casings.

Namibia Q u i c k Afrikaans + German + f a c t s English + Oshiwambo



1% Rain 99% Sun Road conditions in Namibia


Trucking in Namibia with a tire manufacturer as a partner has a valuable plus side. In this vast country where there are only 5,450 kilometers of tarred roads compared to 37,000 kilometers of gravel roads, long distances exact a high price on tires, with rock-strewn gravel inflicting punctures and tarmac literally melting. “On the worst roads, sometimes two tires burst on a single trip,” says Van Zyl. “I have an agreement with Dunlop that they send out new tires to the truck from the nearest branch.” The gravel roads and the many steep and treacherous gradients also pose a challenge to his drivers. When buying new trucks, Van Zyl now systematically opts for automatic gearboxes, which make driving far less tiring. Now almost all the trucks in his fleet are automatic. A GPS tracking system is another measure that improves the safety of the driver

Even with the help of his two sons, Louis Van Zyl is still very involved in the company he founded 18 years ago. Martin Shombee, one of VZ Trucking long-distance drivers, stands in front of his recently delivered new Quon.



Cu s to m e r Sto r y - N a mib ia

In summer it’s extremely hot here but the UD trucks can handle the heat and they can also take the cold when it goes down to zero degrees in the desert. Jacques Van Zyl

Louis Van Zyl’s sons, Jacques (right) and Willie (below) are never far from the action at VZ Trucking

and the cargo as well as improving the efficiency of the operations. The system monitors the location and speed of each truck and whether it is moving or parked. Driving through remote areas is inevitable in Namibia, and in case of emergency the GPS system is crucial for locating the vehicles. The tracking system also lets the position of each truck be viewed via a mobile phone, so the managers can check a truck’s location at any time from anywhere. Petrol stations are still a rarity, and every motorist in Namibia knows they must leave one town with enough fuel to reach the next. That is not a problem for the longhaul UD trucks that the company relies on. The double diesel tanks each hold 420 liters to complete even the longest trip of 1,702 kilometers without refueling. That makes the weekly round trip to the far north of Namibia much less stressful – a 34-ton truck takes three to four days to cover seven towns, sometimes with three or four drops in each.

Trusted partner Although Van Zyl is approaching retirement age he still gets animated when he talks about his business. One of his first two trucks was a UD, he remembers. “It was the cheapest I could buy and it was the best small vehicle available in the country at that stage.” Of the 33 trucks he now owns, about half are UDs. As the older trucks are replaced, the company is buying more UD trucks. When the big trucks are fully stocked with a cargo such as tires, the load alone can be worth $2 million Namibian Dollars (US$187,000). You can’t risk that tumbling over a mountainside. “That’s why besides having insurance in place, our vehicles must be reliable and in perfect condition. If it breaks down

In July, UD Trucks sent a driver up from Johannesburg to give the drivers extra training. Training drivers is one of the essentials to ensure the efficiency of the business. And finding good drivers is no easy task. Van Zyl chooses people for their attitude, then trains them to enhance their driving and customer service skills. “The UD guy was a very good trainer,” Van Zyl recalls, “he climbed in the trucks with our drivers and showed them what everything does and went on the road with them to see if they had any driving problems.”

Family affair you have a big problem.” But UD trucks don’t break down, Van Zyl says. “The Quon range is very strong and good on fuel consumption and the drivers say they handle very nicely.” Jacques Van Zyl had some bad experiences with trucks breaking down when he joined the company. “At that stage we had two or three UD trucks and three of another brand, and every morning two of those others wouldn’t start,” he remembers. “Sometimes I’d get a call from the driver saying he had parked to offload and it wouldn’t start again, so I had to go out and assist him. Sometimes I would get phoned by the traffic police to come and remove my truck.” Gradually they replaced these trucks with UDs. “Since then breakdowns have been non-existent.” Jacques says. “In summer it’s extremely hot here but the UD trucks can handle the heat and they can also take the cold when it goes down to zero degrees in the desert.” Another reason that sold them on UD trucks is the service. “Although they’re a bit cheaper, they give us very good service” says Van Zyl.

Van Zyl is very happy and proud that his sons joined forces with him to expand the family business. At first, both Jacques and Willie had intended to follow different career paths. Jacques studied Information Science at Johannesburg University but then left the big city to join the company in 2006. He handles the admin, including salaries and book keeping. Willie studied graphic design at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Now he works in the Etosha Transport warehouse, supervising the operations on this site. “We’re a close family so it’s nice to work together and this way we can spend a lot of time with each other,” Willie explains on behalf of the trio. As the company grows its operations, it is developing solutions to face the challenges and opportunities ahead. With the fleet crisscrossing Namibia, depots on the west coast and a depot in the far north, they are currently investigating the potential of opening another distribution hub halfway down the coast. The steady growth of Chinese companies operating in Namibia means there will be opportunities in the future to handle imports arriving in the harbor from China and elsewhere.


Cu s to m e r s to r y - N a mib ia For the moment, the Van Zyl’s immediate ambition is to expand into cross-border deliveries. They are set to sign deals with the breweries to deliver Windhoek Lager and other brands to Mozambique and South Africa. They are also confident of winning deliveries to Zimbabwe and Zambia, and are planning to buy two more

Cu s to m e r Sto r y - N a mib ia Quon 34-tonners to fulfill this contract. “We want to concentrate more on crossborder traffic so I hope we can get another ten trucks on the road within two years. I think within the next month or two we will go across the borders because we have work lined up,” Van Zyl says.

Namibia has several landlocked neighbors and a busy transport corridor with South Africa, from where the majority of its imports arrives. The successful family business – only a few years younger than the Namibian nation itself – is poised to grow just as the country itself is growing into a trading nation well worth watching.

Louis Van Zyl, his two sons and extended family of employees

Doing business in Namibia Namibia is one of Africa’s better performing countries in terms of efficiency, transparent policies and ease of doing business. The regulatory environment is designed to be business-friendly, although administrative procedures can still be time consuming, costly and complex, according to the World Bank. Corruption is relatively common, although low by African standards.


th 2.18 million population in 2013

out of 177 countries in Africa surveyed by Transparency International





billion USD gross domestic product


825,418 km² territory



U D p ro du c t

Quon 2014, staying ahead Text: Tyler Rothmar

Strong, comfortable, pleasant to drive, reliable and fuel efficient, appreciated by drivers as well as fleet managers who acknowledge its abilities and reduced running costs, UD’s newest Quon – delivered to the first customers in late July – brings a series of improvements that strengthens its status as a leading heavy truck on the Japanese market.

Active safety There is an Advanced Emergency Braking System to monitor objects in front using radar sensors. If anything gets too close for comfort, warning signs give way to automatic braking as the truck tries to avert or minimize a crash. Similarly, the Lane Departure Warning System will alert the driver if the truck exits its lane without signaling - above 60km/h. These cutting-edge systems and more make the updated Quon the clear solution for heavy-duty transport needs.

Telematics services An advanced Telematics system provides a wealth of feedback to drivers and owners, transforming Quon into a tool for maximizing profitability. UD Information Service monitors the truck to boost uptime while curbing unplanned downtime through preventative maintenance. Meanwhile, Nenpioh, an onboard guidance system, emits real-time audio and visual prompts that teach drivers how to stay in the engine’s “sweet spot,” thereby improving fuel consumption.

Improved fuel economy With the updated Quon, UD Trucks is taking a significant step towards its goal of a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy. Thanks to an optimized driveline, including UD’s GH11 engine and the landmark ESCOT-V transmission, Quon is 4 percent more fuel efficient than the 2010 version.
Add to that an Economy ED mode featuring an Acceleration Limiter and Soft Cruise control, and you have a truck that’s easier on drivers as well as the bottom line.

Less weight = increased payload For example, the CG air suspension model is 135 kilograms lighter, providing an additional 200 kilograms of payload capacity on a wing body.

The latest Quon also displays a new colored grille and a reworked bumper



Cu s to m e r s to r y - A s u tralia

Danger, meet opportunity Text: Matt Shea Photos: Michael Coyne

Over two decades ago John West saw a niche that few wanted to fill. Now he’s the majority owner of one of Australia’s most well-respected logistics companies.



Cu s to m e r s to r y - Au s tralia

Co-founder John West has established a thorough set of procedures for guaranteeing the safety of dangerous goods, and extended it to the rest of his business


ight-thirty on a Friday morning and it’s almost eerily quiet. Partly because the morning rush is finished, but partly because everything at the neatly offset depot in Brisbane’s east is so fastidiously tidy. At the back of the lot stands an open warehouse, a forklift driver busying himself with the details left at the end of the week. Steel drums – painted either white or blue – tower four shelves high. Inside the door, giant cube-shaped hoppers sit full of liquid. What’s in them, you hardly want to ask. “Flammable, oxidizing, alkaline, acids, poisons,” explains co-founder, majority shareholder and Managing Director of DGL (Aust) Pty Ltd, John West, “With the exception of radioactive materials and explosives.”


DGL. formerly known as Dangerous Goods Logistics. The company’s specialty is written in its name. Now, 14 years after its establishment, the hazardous materials make up only a small percentage of cartage (about 15%), however the fact remains West wouldn’t have a business unless he took a giant leap at the turn of the millennium and pursued a concept he’d developed almost ten years earlier.

Leveraging a niche It’s safe to say, being innovative is what got DGL started and one of the reasons for its spectacular growth. West saw a niche market – the transportation of dangerous goods – in the early 1990s, but the board of his then employer knocked him

back, “It’s too high-risk!” they said conservatively. It wasn’t until 1994 that he would enter the dangerous goods market, establishing a small company in Queensland. The business grew quickly before the constraints of the local market began to weigh upon its potential. To go national, he gathered four people around the country who he used as agents and in 2000, DGL was formed. Since 2000 the company has seen intimidating growth. DGL’s turnover is now as much as 50 times larger than after the first year of business. “Until 2010, it doubled every year,” West says, “particularly when we were winning major nationwide contracts.” DGL now has enough warehouse space to store in excess of 200,000 pallets

The fleet, driving efficiency It’s another one of John West’s favorite words – efficiency – that attracts the Queenslander to UD trucks. “I’ve been buying UD since 2000 and they’ve always been a very, very reliable truck for a fleet operator like myself. They’re cost effective to run.” DGL currently have ten UD trucks on order with 45 already on the road, while 71 vehicles in total have gone through the business. “Drivers like all the horsepower under the bonnet,” West says, smiling. “But you don’t need a lot of power to be efficient in what you do. You just need an efficient, reliable truck. The latest UDs are more cost

effective per kilometer to run. That’s why we’re buying more and more of them. The current model that’s been released now is a quantum leap from the model before. Every new model is a quantum leap from the previous one. They are going great guns.” DGL’s weapon of choice? The Quon GW 26 470 prime mover. “It’s not as powerful as some other trucks … but the difference in travel time between here and Sydney between that and a 550 horsepower truck is maybe 35, 45 minutes. So I’d rather the truck be more efficient and safe.” West insists on only buying trucks equipped

with automatic gearboxes. There are less than 15 trucks in the fleet with manual gears. “In my view they are better because they talk to the engine and you get less stress, less damage on the truck. For some old-school truckers, we had to drag them into one, but now then they wouldn’t want to get out.” On being in partnership with UD Trucks over the years, West says, “Without being too gracious, I think they’re a very, very special company. They’ve got a great product. And moreover, they’ve got great people. They look after you from an aftersales service point of view … they are absolutely the truck people!”


Cu s to m e r s to r y - Au s tralia around the country – a staggering figure when you compare it to the 6,000 they could handle at the beginning of the millennium. And a company that started with not a single truck boasts an impressive fleet of over 300, with around 150 prime movers and 150 body vehicles in 2014. Servicing those warehouse and fleet operations is an employee base of 450 between Australia and New Zealand.

Culture of care DGL is one of the few companies who say that if they damage the goods or lose them, they pay for them. It’s a philosophy that exists for both the warehousing and transport businesses, and a risk that – surprisingly – the company carries itself, rather than relying on an insurance company. “If we lose or damage it and we’re negligent, we pay,” he continues. “But that’s a good incentive to get it right, every time.” Stramit, one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of roll-formed steel building products for commercial and residential markets, is one of DGL’s biggest clients. Their products are often easily dented or scratched, so the company places great value on DGL’s high-care approach. “The aesthetics of our product are very important,” Harry Harisiou, the regional manager at Stramit says over the phone from Melbourne. “They need to make sure they handle it with care and they always do.”



Gi v in g Ba c k to S o cie t y

Cu s to m e r s to r y - Au s tralia They consistently achieve over 99 percent DIFOT (Delivered In Full On Time) for their clients. “We occasionally make bugger-ups,” West continues, “Mistakes occur because people don’t exactly follow processes and procedures. That’s why we pay so much attention to training people. We have very good processes and procedures.”

A habit, to be innovative “My passion has always been doing something different and doing it better than someone else,” West says of himself. “We innovate a lot. We look at a company or a business and ask, ‘How can we do it smarter?’ We innovate by creating equipment that has never been designed before.”

Here with driver Clint Sheppard, John West pays particular attention to human qualities when hiring new employees at DGL.

DGL designed a trailer that has basically removed any loss or damage at all while transiting stacked, fragile empty glass bottles for major breweries. This trailer later became a standard requirement stipulated in the client’s tenders. In the warehouses, a special pod was designed to improve the productivity and reduce the handling of the product by up to four times. There is no charge extra on any innovations to the clients. West explains, “It gives us the ability to improve the costs of moving the freight, in a lot of cases it improves the damage rate, and then it improves the productivity. Everyone wins. Customers win, their customers win, we win.”

People, the engine of the business “Everyone’s got a truck; everyone’s got a

warehouse. The only difference you have is the service and the people you have. If you train your people well and develop your people well, then you will have a good business. DGL is very lucky to have some great people.” West started out unloading containers himself; he is a great believer in developing from within. In DGL, many members of the management team started at the bottom, unloading or driving a forklift. When he does go outside to recruit, he only picks those he has already worked with or who have a good reputation among their peers. “I suppose at the end of the day, it depends on experience. You pick people. Sometimes you make mistakes, you’ve got to react and move on. I’m fortunate to have an incredibly loyal team. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. It’s easy for me to steer it, when there is a good engine there to make it work, as you know,” West says. As for himself, West doesn’t count how many hours he works a day, and didn’t shy away from admitting he’s a workaholic. “I accept that because I love what I do. You only get out of life what you put into it. It’s as simple as that.” Now into his seventh decade, you wonder how long West – despite his presence and obvious health – can keep pace with this growing business. “In ten years I hope I’m still putting one foot after the other,” he laughs. “But the last ten years have been incredibly fun and I hope the next ten will be just as fun.”

On the Road At 6’4” Clint Sheppard is a giant of a man; he looks younger than his 34 years. His high-vis workwear is impeccably clean, his Quon prime mover as immaculate as the day he took stewardship over the vehicle just a year ago. Tagging along with Sheppard around the undulating inner suburbs of Brisbane, it’s plain to see the power and maneuverability of his Quon. We rumble past Brisbane’s


iconic brewery. Sheppard later tells us that the brewery highlights one of his 470’s handiest attributes: its turning circle in and out of the tight, heritage-listed dock. “Loading docks such as those at the brewery, you need to really jack-knife this truck. It’s not an easy space to get into …” “And there’s plenty of room in here,” he says, as we head back to the depot. “Driver comfort is now such a big thing, with

fatigue and the busier roads. A bloke puts in a 12.5-hour day behind the wheel, and then another 12.5-hour day. By the end of the week, if he’s not refreshed, that’s when things start to get dangerous.” It’s a telling response, Sheppard discussing his own comfort only as a factor of other people’s safety. But then that social responsibility is typical of West, DGL and the people they choose to hire.


I n co nve r s a tio n w i th

Age: 56 Nationality: Australian Location: UD Australia HQ in Brisbane Title: Vice President of Sales in Australia Work experience: 39 years in the truck industry Education: mechanic apprenticeship, MBA Hobbies: road trips, camping, fishing


hat to any UD Australia customer about what makes the company special and it will inevitably boil down to just one word: people. It’s in the technical knowledge. The pre-sale consultation. The aftersales support. UD are – as the saying goes – “truck people”.

Jon McLean Vice President of Sales in Australia Text: Matt Shea Photos: Tammy Law

“At UD, it is the customer at the end who drives the decision back to the company. “


Follow the breadcrumbs of this philosophy and you’ll likely wind up outside the Brisbane office of UD’s Vice President of Sales, Jon McLean. Originally trained as a mechanic, McLean’s expertise in sales is renowned, “I love dealing with people, I have all my life,” McLean says. “I love to understand what they need, and how we can best serve them”. In person, the Brisbane-born and bred McLean is a bear of a man with an open countenance. He absent-mindedly flicks a Dolly Parton desk spinner to help jog his memory. “I’ve found over the years, mechanics can be the best salesmen,” he says. “You understand exactly what you’re saying and what the repercussions of telling a lie, which means you can’t lie. ” In the late 1980s he was based in Brisbane as an on-call mechanic looking after PNG, Brunei, and Indonesia. “The phone would ring, “and away I’d go, I was a jet-setting truck fixer!” he laughs. A formative stint working for a bus brand

led him to a national service manager role. Then, the real change: a seven year stretch providing McLean with the retail experience he needed to take up a dealer principal role in Brisbane, before some hard-earned tertiary qualifications facilitated a shift to Vice President of Aftersales and Services and subsequently VP of Sales for UD Trucks Australia. Through it all, the 56-year-old appreciates all the experience he has acquired, “Every role I’ve had has been so different so you never stop learning. Each day is a different thing for us.” Going back to study for his MBA, he says, was hard but worth all the struggle. “An MBA gives you such a good understanding from all angles. I know what it takes to make money in business, whether that’s running a retail shop or running a transport company. You can see it day-in, day-out. When you sit in front of the customer, you know you have a solution to help their bottom line – you have to believe that. You’ve gotta be 110 percent with that.”

Jon’s office at UD headquarters is located above a dealership workshop – one where he was the manager in the past

Looking ahead, UD’s 75-year history weighs heavily on McLean’s shoulders. “We’re caretakers. This is one of the greatest truck brands in the world,” he says, “and we’re responsible for this segment to leave it in better shape when we move on. That’s all we are: caretakers.”


I n co nve r s a tio n w i th

U D co m p e ti tio n

We have great trucks to sell. I love technical and I love sales and I love problem solving. I just love my job.

What makes the UD brand special to you?

UD was always there as a good, reliable truck in the market place. I’ve only been in the chair for two years now; when I go to see customers, you might talk for a couple of minutes about

a technical problem, but the rest of the time you’re talking about life and the positives. That’s how reliable the product is.

Is a mechanic’s background a plus in sales?

Yes. We know what the product can do, and when we sit in front of the customer we can detail from the tech base. Mechanics say things the way they are, and our clients value that. I have a policy of bringing through cadets from

the workshop into sales. When I look at the people we have brought through, several have become platinum award winners in the brands or very successful sales guys. They’re all from the workshop.

How do you train young mechanics to understand clients’needs?

At UD it’s all about the clients. One of the best things we did with a previous brand was called “It starts With Us” – is taking mechanics, sales and parts guys to a client’s, spending time there to understand their business. “If I don’t

get a part to them in time, what does it do to their business? If I don’t fix a truck on time, how does it affect them?” At UD, it is the customer at the end who drives the decision back to the company.

How much of a mechanic is left in you?

Every now and then there are customers who love to talk the technical. And it’s great for me because I still have a toolbox in my shed that’s

very rusty (laughs). I can walk the talk with tech no problem at all, even with the latest advancements.

Did your career ascension need you to complete your educational background?

Yes, from apprentice, I had to pick the books back up along the way. I completed a Graduate Certificate in Management, and then an MBA. The academic times were hard, weekends and night times, working full days and going home

to do assignments. I thought about giving up a couple of times. Anyone I meet who does something like that, I take my hat off because I know what is involved now.

What advice would you give to the young people starting their career?

Empathy. I always come back to that because I try to get a balanced view on things. Which can be hard to do on a day-to-day basis. Use empathy and be fair. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated yourself.

I really love mentoring the young people coming through, just as I was helped. Just to see the successes of young people entering the business, because they’re the future.

With your busy schedule, do you have time left for family life?

Absolutely. We love taking the 4x4 into the bush. We go to Fraser Island – it’s only three hours away. The kids love it, because you have to rough it a bit. It gets them back to

appreciate life. As for my wife Debbie, who I’ve been married to for 33 years, she loves my work, because she sees so little of me. She reckons that’s how we’ve survived! (Laughs)


Jun. 5, 2014

Nov. 17-19, 2014

Indonesia hosted its first GEMBA Challenge, a worldwide competition among UD technicians.

Held in most countries where UD is operating, the winning GEMBA Challenge teams from each country will compete at the international finals in Tokyo this fall.

Launched to encourage the development of competencies and knowledge-sharing between teams around the world, the challenge rewards the most competent and efficient teams for providing the best services to our clients. Through demanding rounds of theoretical questions and practical exercises, 31 teams from dealerships across Indonesia competed for the top slot. Faced with a broken-down truck, they battled it out to see which team was the fastest to identify the problem, resolve it, and get the truck back on the road in record time. UD’s promise to clients to maximize uptime hinges on the quality of its

trucks, distance between maintenance intervals and low consumption of usables. UD service plays a major part in meeting this promise by running preventive maintenance, and being able to identify and quickly fix a problem in case of breakdown or damage to the truck. The teams approached the first part of the competition with a spirit of enthusiasm and intense studiousness. With so much UD knowledge concentrated in one place, there was plenty of healthy exchange between teams and the UD culture of focusing on uptime and hands-on problem solving was evident for all to see – this is true Gemba spirit in action.

The challenge is a fantastic opportunity for every team to learn, share, and return to their home country with even broader knowledge, benefitting their technicians and UD clients around the world. Well done to the winning teams of each country – we’ll see you in Tokyo for the finals. The battle is not over yet!


Servicing clients to the best of our ability is an everyday competition


Hi s to r y

The popular 6TW was presented in 1957 as a new type of truck boasting a 10-ton capacity, a first in Japan, and a maximum speed of 90km/hr. The tough, rearwheel drive 6TW was put to use in tough conditions such as dam construction sites in addition to long-distance transportation Bottom image: 6TW was also used to transport Shinkansen locomotives and wagons

six-cylinder, 230-horsepower diesel UD6 engine. The UD6 engine had been developed a year earlier, packing 230 horsepower at a weight 40% lower than conventional models. This made it one of the world’s lightest engines per horsepower. For truck owners, this translated into lower vehicle weight and in turn less fuel consumption for a given distance and payload. To capitalize on the strength of that engine, UD engineers took to the drawing boards. After five prototypes the 6TW was ready. It was a formidable beast, with a load capacity of more than 10 tons and the ability to travel up to 90km an hour. The 6TW was a new type of truck featuring two propeller shafts. Splitting the torque of the powerful UD6 engine between two shafts reduced the burden on the driving force transmission mechanism and heightened its durability, while extending the life of the tires. It hit the market in February 1958, and newspaper headlines hailed it as “The Birth of a Groundbreaking Large Truck Befitting the Expressway Era.”

Moving into the expressway era

You would never get away with a clumsy headline like that today, but it’s interesting to realize that this period saw the birth of the high-speed roads that we now take entirely for granted. Soon after its launch, the 6TW was upgraded to an 11-ton payload and sent to work in tough conditions such as dam construction sites. It proved invaluable in contributing to the development of Japan’s infrastructure by helping to deliver all the materials needed for the country’s modernization in a fast and reliable manner. Over the years the truck gained a reputation for its outstanding performance as a long-distance heavyduty delivery vehicle running on Japan’s main arterial highways. Local companies weren’t the only ones to notice the rugged capabilities being built in Japan. The truck quickly began to find solid support in overseas markets, with exports extending to Brazil, Spain, the Philippines and many other countries. The 6TW was soon contributing to the development of infrastructure and improving the logistics of other companies around the world.

Text: Lesley Stones


you think back to 1958, what do you imagine? Maybe an era when women sported strange hairstyles, men dressed in sharp suits, and TV only came in black and white? If you think of the transport from that time, maybe you picture steamboats, quaint doubledecker buses or elegant cars with far more style than power. Japan in 1958 was still largely rural and nothing like the highly developed nation it is today. But the country was preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, which would act as a catalyst for an

26 26

infrastructure boom. UD Trucks was already ahead of the development curve, perfecting a truck that was a pioneer of its era. Years earlier, the vision of developing groundbreaking vehicles had been defined by Kenzo Adachi, the founder of UD Trucks. He set himself the ambitious goal of creating a series of vehicles based on the mantra of Ultimate Dependability. Their focus in 1958 was the 6TW truck, a large 10.5-ton payload truck using the

Japan’s industrial revolution The UD Trucks crew was very much in the right place at the right time. Economists have hailed Japan of the 1950s as an exception to the general rule that economies thrive more readily when governments are not heavily involved. But Japan’s government played an important role in rebuilding the country after the Second

World War, by keeping the tax rate low to encourage entrepreneurial ventures. It also allowed competition in the sectors where it held state-owned enterprises, rather than enforcing a monopoly. The government prioritized spending on national infrastructure such as roads, flood control projects, harbors, airports and hydroelectric power plants to promote industrial development. It also cooperated closely with private companies to boost specific industries where Japan could develop high-quality goods at competitive prices to gain an international advantage. An example is

the camera industry, dominated by Japan since the 1960s. The period after the war is known as the “Miracle Growth” years. Thanks to a large and highly educated work force and the focus on key industries, Japan recovered from the war to achieve industrialization during the 1950s and 1960s.

Tokyo undertook a major building program to transform its infrastructure ahead of the Olympics. One project was the Shinkansen bullet train linking Osaka to Tokyo, which opened nine days before the games began on October 10, a day that is now a national holiday. Haneda Airport was modernized and numerous highways and subway lines were built.

That buoyancy was enhanced when Japan hosted the Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo. That was a hugely significant step, bringing Japan back onto the global stage as a peaceful and economically successful nation.

The 1964 Olympics were a sporting success for Japan as well as an industrial triumph. The nation won 16 gold medals, five silver and eight bronze, coming third overall behind the US and the Soviet Union.


Te c hn olo g y

Protective cell Text: Jeremy Gnych

A first priority of any UD engineer when designing a truck is safety: safety of its driver, and safety of other road users. This sense of responsibility and care has led them to develop and install state of the art security equipment in the UD range of trucks.

To prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, Lane Departure Warning System alerts the driver if he changes lane without reason

Traffic Eye permanently scans road ahead and acts on the brake in case of risk of collison


ut first, let’s break safety down into active safety and passive safety.

Active safety can be defined as all the means implemented to AVOID an accident, while passive safety will encompass all the efforts deployed to protect driver and passengers and other roads users IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT.

Active safety Active safety, as any vehicle engineer will tell you, lies primarily in providing excellent handling characteristics. UD trucks are unanimously acknowledged as easy and safe to drive. This is the result of carefully developed and rigorously tested chassis characteristics, geometry of suspension, steering, damping setup, and tires. Tires are tested virtually first on test tracks, then on hundreds of thousands of kilometers of the most demanding roads worldwide. This meticulous development delivers excellent handling, whether empty or loaded, and results in a truck, which is at the same time stable, maneuverable,


and predictable in any situation, even an unplanned one.

Electronics help With an excellent chassis in place, UD Trucks has added some extra electronic support to come to the driver’s rescue in case of an emergency or ‘panic’ situation. The trucks are fitted with an electronic stability control system (ESP), preventing them from skidding and overturning, by acting independently on brakes and power. Trucks with the ESCOT-V automated mechanical transmission are equipped with an Electronic Brake System (EBS), which shortens the distance required for braking and enhances the braking sensation. An Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) prevents the wheels from locking up even when braking suddenly on slippery roads in the rain or snow. Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) features a computer for optimal control of driving force to suit the road conditions thereby preventing the wheels from slipping. This gives the truck greater maneuverability, while providing the extra benefit of lengthening a tire’s life.

Anticipate danger Recent developments in active safety have led to the design of a new generation anti-collision system, relying on an optical system to control distance with other vehicles, and potentially anticipate braking in case of danger. UD Trucks seeks to develop and equip its trucks with a variety of systems that analyze all conditions and lead to safe driving. UD Trucks was the first in the world to succeed with the practical application of Traffic Eye (forward vehicle collision warning system) in 1990. The latest version of Traffic Eye uses a high-precision millimeter-wave radar to measure distance from the vehicle in front and a warning light and sound urges driver caution when the distance is too close. If the system determines a high risk of collision, an automatic brake is activated to limit damage in the event of a crash. The new Quon is now offered with a new Advanced Electronic Braking System, and a lane departure warning system, which alerts the driver when he changes lane without using his indicator.

Passive safety Passive safety aims to minimize

damage and injury, when the accident could not be avoided. Structure of the cabin: resistance to shock, progressive deformation in case of shock to diminish deceleration to protect the driver’s internal organs; and planned deformation to prevent intrusion of mechanical pieces in the cabin. Engineers at UD Trucks used 3D CAD collision simulation and

implemented extreme crash tests in the development of the highly robust SAFEST CABIN. Side door beams, an impact-absorbing steering wheel, seat belts with pre-tensioners and other features enhance safety in a collision. Airbag systems: since the revamped Big Thumb series in 1997, UD Trucks has installed SRS airbags on domestic

models. In 2010, the Quon introduced an SRS knee airbag for the driver’s seat, a world’s first for trucks. Protection of other road users: trucks have also been equipped with Front Underrun Protective Devices (FUPD) to stop the front of any car being buried underneath the truck in the event of a collision.

Comfort is also a parameter of safety Despite all their efforts to develop the safest trucks, UD engineers never forget that the first factor of safety is the person behind the wheel. To ensure drivers are comfortable and focused on the roads, they invest countless hours in making the cabin as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. UD Trucks sends its developers and designers to ride in the trucks of customers to check

first-hand on driving conditions and feed opinions back into the design and development process. This has enabled the conception of ingenious ways to increase comfort and safety on long-haul trips. For example, UD Trucks envisioned different driving positions to provide better visibility, enhanced maneuverability through a cockpit design based on human ergonomics and developed a passenger seat and seat back that can be used in multiple ways

for added convenience, in addition to enhancing the comfort of the driver’s seat. For the same purpose, the commands (steering, pedals, gearbox) are designed to be easy and precise to make the driving effortless and stress free, and allow the driver to entirely focus his attention on the road and its potential dangers. An efficient way to make the journey enjoyable, while at the same time safe for the driver and other road users.

Safety is the responsibility of each road user, and particularly of mid- and heavy-duty trucks. This is a major concern at UD Trucks, one we integrate into our designs from the first line we draw, a concern we share with each client and UD driver on the road every day around the world!



U D s to r y

last thumbs up

On the evening of March 27, the last-ever Big Thumb, a UD Trucks heavyduty truck, rolled off the production line. The first one went into service in 1990, and now, 24 years down the road, the last Big Thumb was shipped to Bolivia. It’s the end of an era for the Big Thumb, but the beginning of the journey for this final model.


he 1990s, when the Big Thumb was first sold, were a difficult time. The Japanese economy was in a slowmoving state following the bursting of the Bubble Economy, and automakers faced a series of increasingly tough regulations on vehicle exhaust emissions. There was a growing need to develop a truck with the improved basic power functions and superior environmental credentials to reflect the needs of the times. This heavy-duty truck, the Big Thumb, was developed over a period of five years

based on the concept of “Kind to people, gentle on the community” in order to meet these increasingly severe demands. During its life, earning a solid reputation for performance, the Big Thumb continued to evolve. New technology was added over the years, including electronically controlled automatic transmission in 1991 and the GE13 engine in 1998, making the Big Thumb the first truck produced in Japan to adopt an engine that used a unit injector system.

Mr. Yoshio Kawai Manager Product Management UD Trucks Global Brand

Life Path of the Big Thumb >> A total of approximately



GE13 engine onboard


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ar h e e ke arly 90s ts


Electronically controlled automatic transmission added


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Responsible for the development of the Big Thumb

Big Thumbs were manufactured




Around Big Thumbs, including KDs, were produced for export markets

Mar. 24, 2014 End

Mr. Masami Oozono Manager Product Management UD Trucks Global Brand Member of the development team which worked on the PF6T engine

Mr. Tetsuo Yamazaki Manager, VPS, GTO Member of the development team which worked on the PF6T engine

“We really worked hard on the development, including carrying out all kinds of endurance tests in Japan and Australia in order to really boost the truck’s level of quality and get it up to the ‘One million kilometers without overhauling’ level.”

“It is thanks to the hard work from everyone involved with this truck’s development, manufacturing and sales that we have been able to produce the Big Thumb for so long. I am deeply grateful to all of them.”

“I do feel sad to see it go, but as this is a truck we have all worked so hard to create, we hope to send it on its way on a positive note.”

Tra di tio n

Total Quality Management

Jorge Barrientos Commercial Manager UD Trucks in Nibol “We are going to miss it for its quality, low maintenance costs and efficient work,” says Barrientos in response to news that the last Big Thumb has rolled off the production line. His sentiment echoes that of his customers – public entities and private companies alike – that the Big Thumb is an excellent truck thanks to its high quality, low maintenance costs and just for getting the job done well.

Total Quality Management (TQM) is an approach to quality management whose objective is to obtain a broad mobilization and involvement of the entire company in order to achieve perfect quality by reducing waste and continuously improving processes. It was in Japan, in 1949, that a concept known as Total Quality Management was born. After its World War II defeat, the Japanese economy faced many social difficulties. Japan, threatened by famine, was intensely aware of the necessity of diminishing waste, while environmental concerns were also growing widely in the population.

Jorge, an official representative of UD Trucks, and CWB450 marketer from 1998 to 2014 has sold over 400 units of this model, with a bumper year in 2008 when 110 units were sold. After 24 years of production, the last units of the legendry CWB450 have left a positive impact on Bolivia – a country which has always heralded this truck as its trusty development partner.

Thumbing a ride to Bolivia Alfredo Rojas Gutierrez

The Big Thumb has long held the number one spot in the new vehicle market in Bolivia, based on its good durability, high reliability, ease of maintenance as well as low maintenance costs.

CEO of Bolco Construction Company “Over the last few years, Bolco Construction Company has acquired twelve CBW450 units despite their high price compared to European competitors and others from China,” explains Gutierrez. “Thankfully though, the decision to acquire the CWB 450 trucks was a good one as they continue to work as they did on their first day of service - high performing to the benefit of Bolco Company and our clients.”


Text: Matt Campbell Illustration: Lingxi

The geography of Bolivia varies hugely, and with parts of the Andes mountain range in the country, there are enormous variations in altitude. For instance, the capital La Paz is nestled at 4,058m above sea level and other main cities such as Cochambamba, Uyuni Salt Lake and Potosi are all above 2,000m. A truck that could work in such special conditions was essential for the development of the region. Until the Big Thumb came onto the Bolivian market, no other manufacturer was able to provide a robust enough vehicle. Nowadays, trucks with highland specifications can be found with certain manufacturers, but back then, the Big Thumb was the only one able to take on the high-altitude challenge.

Pioneering the way, the Japanese car industry wanted to move away from the Fordism model – largely dominant in that era – and develop a model more adapted to the socio-economic constraints of the time. Japanese engineers then imagined and developed an organizational structure, whose fundamental principle was to minimize losses by reaching absolute quality. By involving each person in the company, by leaving no potential risk of defect unattended, and by rigorously documenting, implementing and continuously improving, the TQM system produced tremendous results, allowing the production of cheaper and better quality products. The whole system was widely implemented in Japan, and considerably contributed to the success of Japanese exports, whose products quickly gained a reputation for superior quality among consumers overseas. The western manufacturing world of the 1980s, aware they were lagging behind in this domain, started to transform their processes by introducing Japanese quality management techniques.


Tr u c ke r tip s an d tri c k s

Tr u c ke r tip s an d tri c k s

Trucker tips and tricks

TRIMMING YOUR SPEED • Keep your eyes on the speedometer and your foot off the gas • Drive at a constant speed to minimize fuel consumption • Stay within the speed limit • But please keep in mind, the posted speed limit is not always safe

Did you know there are certain techniques you can adopt very easily that – when added together – could help you economize up to 30% in fuel consumption?


Did you know?

UD Trucks is currently developing driver-training courses in order to improve your fuel economy - Until then, try to follow these few simple steps.

For every 5km/h increase in speed, your fuel efficiency decreases by around 3 to 5%

Keep your eyes on Roads for more information.

KEEP MOVING How much fuel does it take to move a loaded truck from a standstill to cruising speed?


So if safe, try to keep the mass rolling

0-65km/h = 0.54 liter 25-65km/h = 0.42 liter

Remember, the shortest route is not necessarily the most fuel efficient! Fewer stops Fewer towns Flatter route




• How much more fuel do you consume when your tires are underinflated?




• A driver who keeps his/her eyes continuously moving will anticipate danger much earlier! • Look ahead as far as possible, see where the truck will be in 45 seconds • Keep your eyes on the move • Check your mirrors often



• Tire pressure has the greatest effect on rolling resistance • So check your tire pressure regularly and always with a pressure gauge

A few tips from the UD team (with much more to come) – What’s yours? The Roads team would like to hear from UD Truckers around the world! Send us your tips from your roads! Write to us at:



Reduce your ownership cost, every step of the way

The Quester is made to maximize your transport efficiency, while minimizing your total cost of ownership. Securing a reliable and sustainable operation is about making the right choice to secure fuel efficiency, uptime, longer service intervals and making sure your truck always runs in optimum condition. Ensuring that you get true value every step of the way. Quester. Made to go the extra mile.

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Roads #2, 2014  

In this issue, we traveled to Namibia where we highlight VZ Trucking, which distributes supplies to the far reaches of the country. We jumpe...

Roads #2, 2014  

In this issue, we traveled to Namibia where we highlight VZ Trucking, which distributes supplies to the far reaches of the country. We jumpe...

Profile for ud-trucks