By working with EROAD, Downer New Zealand was able to move from a manual, reactive approach to fleet management to one that was proactive, strategic, and streamlined.
Downer New Zealand is one of the biggest civil companies in New Zealand and the largest provider of services to asset owners in New Zealand across 120 locations from Kaitaia to Invercargill.
With over 6000 assets in their fleet, it’s vital for Downer to have reliable, accurate, user-friendly data available to allow for efficient monitoring and management of vehicle operations.
Downer has had a strong partnership with EROAD since 2016, with around 5700 of their assets, including both light and heavy vehicles and trailers, now having EROAD telematic devices installed.
National Fleet Operations Manager Hayden Abraham oversees the team that collectively manages Downer’s national fleet. He explains that when he took over the role at Downer five years ago, there was minimal information available on what was happening within the fleet. "Without access to good quality data, the ability to be strategic around fleet utilisation, efficiency, productivity, and driver training was limited."
Since integrating EROAD telematics into its operations, Downer has transformed the way they do business – from a manually operated, reactive approach, to one that allows fleet managers to have their finger on the pulse of every vehicle in the fleet, and to make decisions based on up-to-the-minute, high-value data.
Downer New Zealand National Fleet Manager Josh Hedley says installing EROAD into the heavy vehicle fleet of around 1500 trucks was the initial ‘proving ground’ for testing how EROAD would work for Downer. “We immediately recognised that EROAD was going to be transformative,” he says.
“Soon after, we moved EROAD into the light vehicle fleet, and we transitioned a lot of our mobile assets as well.
Josh explains that one of the big benefits of working with a responsive business like EROAD is the ability to work with their product development and client support team to help evolve their products in response to Downer’s needs.
Downer has worked with EROAD to develop and enhance their products. EROAD Proof of Service is a good example of that.
EROAD’s Proof of Service simplifies contract reporting by delivering a verifiable, comprehensive description of civil contracting activity at street level detail.
“Initially, Proof of Service had really good potential, but we couldn’t quite harness it because of its generic nature. It needed a few more tools to make it something we could embed into our business,” says Hayden.
Over time, the Downer team worked with EROAD’s software designers to talk through what they needed to be changed and updated.
“We now have a product that is a great fit for our business. Just being able to have those conversations with the developers while they’re sitting across the table from you and working in a collaborative sense has made a massive difference to the product usability when it gets to us”.
Hayden explains that having access to quality data has changed the role of fleet managers within the business significantly. "The role was once a very transactional one where we were spending a lot of time in the workshops, being hands on with the trucks, and always being caught up in the details".
“Any data we were able to capture was reliant on people transcribing information through a manual process which took a significant amount of time. Fundamentally, everything we were doing was in retrospect, we were never in a position to proactively influence where the business was heading,” says Josh.
“We now have the ability to be more strategic and customer focussed with the capacity to focus on things like driver coaching, sustainability, improved health and safety, and improved utilisation.
“Utilisation is one of the core functions we manage as a business,” says Josh. “We’re constantly looking at ways to ensure we’re getting the best out of our assets. And with so many of them, it’s not an easy task. This is where we look at how we can use the data from EROAD to ensure we’re getting the maximum efficiencies – are we backtracking on ourselves? Are we dispatching the right people to the right place? EROAD gives us those answers.”
One of the biggest cost and time savings for Downer, directly related to EROAD, was to transition from having external fleet management to being 100 percent internal.
“MyEROAD Fleet Maintenance provided us with a considerable cost saving through not paying a third party to do things for us that we now do ourselves. In our light vehicle fleet, we’ve made changes to our leasing structure which has provided a considerable cost saving,” says Josh.
MyEROAD Fleet Maintenance simplifies vehicle maintenance with automated service scheduling. It provides the tools needed to operate a compliant fleet, including the ability to reduce fleet downtime and operating costs, and the capability to drive vehicle health insights.
“By using MyEROAD Fleet Maintenance, our people are able deliver the same functions – arguably better – than what we were getting by using an external party and without all the hassle of trying to keep them up to date and providing them with an understanding of what's happening within our fleet,” says Josh
Another tool that has helped streamline systems and reduce costs is EROAD’s Automated Off-Road Claims tool. This web-based application automatically generates accurate off-road reports and allows Downer to electronically verify and submit claims to NZTA, avoiding paper hassle and postage.
With access to better data from tools like EROAD’s Electronic Logbook, Driver Vehicle Inspection Checklist and Service module, Downer has been able to focus on improving its health and safety-focused culture. “We’ve always had a strong culture around health and safety, but with EROAD on board our improved ability to track and report means we are much better equipped to proactively manage, lead, and reward the right behaviours, and to address any issues faster,” says Josh.
Since first partnering with EROAD, Downer NZ’s events per km (EPK) has improved by 93.8%. “I think in the health and safety space, Downer would be a leader in terms of the improvements we've seen in driver behaviour and also the ability to track who's driving vehicles and an awareness of what's going on.”
EROAD has become more than just a service provider for Downer. “EROAD is integral to our business and how we manage the fleet and the health and safety of our people, they’re more than just a telematics provider,” says Josh. “They work with us in a partnership, they understand our business, and they’re genuinely interested in how they can ensure their product works in the best way possible for us. I believe their product suite is one of the best available.”
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