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Transport Sonotra Optimizes Tanker Truck Management with Trimble On-board Computers

Transport Sonotra, who specializes in hydrocarbon transport, saves time and money using Trimble’s CarCube on-board computer to manage the company’s tanker trucks.

Along the Atlantic coast, the 25 tanker trucks from Transport Sonotra (Vienne Departement, France) travel across the French Grand West for retailers and service station networks. Equipped with the CarCube on-board computer for a year, the SME implemented the fleet management solution for its flexibility. "I was already equipped with on-board computers, but I decided to choose Trimble to take advantage of an open system that can be interfaced with third-party software programs for driver’s working times and wage calculations management (Solid) and operations management (Infovisa),” explains Patrick Lorenzi, the company director. “The integration was carried out quickly and everything works perfectly."

Effective ROI

Fleet monitoring and management can provide a return on investment for both administrative and operational levels. "I see two major assets,” said Lorenzi. “On the administrative level, the electronic data interchange and automated communications have significantly reduced the quantity of paper documents that we handle. Today our office is run by two persons who direct 26 drivers. A year ago, we needed three and half full-time employees for the same task.”

“On the operational level, the real-time flow of social data from the vehicles to the office helps us measure the volume of daily activity and to assess the activity of our drivers at D+1 (from a given day to the next). This allows us to avoid large differences in schedule volumes at the end of the month, since we can continuously balance the number of working hours carried out by the drivers. Consequently, I can reduce overtime costs.”

Social Equity

Equality of pay is a sensitive issue in every transport company. "With Trimble, I was able to improve driver working time legislation and to avoid unwarranted conflicts, stress and loss of time because of disputes," said Lorenzi. "Every morning, the drivers' hours are updated in real-time. In addition, since the installation of the CarCube on-board computers, we hardly registered any violation, as the drivers can now follow their times and breaks to plan on their display.

I also use the CarCube to inform my drivers of different events: a change of route to plan because of a demonstration, weather alerts, etc. In two clicks, I can send an email to all drivers. It's a great communication tool! In addition, I can request a reading notification and keep track of it to justify my service quality to my clients.”

Fuel Saving: 10 to 12 Percent in One Year

"Every Monday morning, I receive by email a survey of my fleet's fuel consumption, which includes recorded data per driver for the previous week, as well as technical information related to driving behaviour,” says Lorenzi. “I transfer the data to the drivers' coach. This allows us to measure the driving quality of each driver and to conduct targeted training with those whose performance is low. I have already achieved significant results since I have reached a fleet average consumption of 31.8 liters of diesel, which means a decrease of 10 to 12 percent in the space of one year."

Customer Service and Safety

Another important benefit: the company provides geolocation to its customers. "For rental services including vehicle and driver, I can offer my client the ability to follow their load in real-time, and give them access to the person’s working time that is in charge of his load. This also allows customers to better control their cost in terms of parasite kilometers or overtime. Finally, in terms of safety, the monitoring of tankers is now a commercial obligation for the customers. Regulations on hazardous materials stipulate that it is our responsibility to take action in order to prevent trucks from being hijacked for inappropriate purposes."

About Sonotra Transport

Based in Vouneuil Sous Biard (Vienne Department) Transport Sonotra operates 25 tankers to carry hydrocarbon across the West of France. The family business employs 26 drivers.