EROAD eRUC allows this log cartage operator to save tens of thousands on road user charges every month.
Williams & Wilshier Transport is a Rotorua-based trucking company that deals solely in log cartage. With a fleet of 60 trucks and 25 light vehicles, Williams & Wilshier operate as far north as Te Puke and as far south as Te Kaha. Over the nine years they’ve had EROAD telematics installed, general manager Jason Williams says it’s been invaluable in helping their dispatch team track vehicles in the field – particularly when they’re off road, as logging truckers often are.
Other fleet management tools they’ve found useful over the years include EROAD’s overspeed and idling reporting; the built-in service module, which automatically alerts you when maintenance is due; and the electronic logbook. But the biggest boost to Williams & Wilshier’s bottom line has been around road user charges (RUC).
To remain compliant, transport service licence holders must keep extensive records for each RUC vehicle, including logbook entries, permits, maintenance records, fuel and maintenance invoices, and vehicle use dating back six years. As you might imagine, staying on top of this mountain of compliance paperwork to avoid fines of up $100,000 requires a significant investment in administration – money that could be better spent elsewhere.
With EROAD installed, operators can get that time and money back, thanks to sophisticated GPS, accurate maps, and a day logbook that can automatically track and record real-time vehicle use by user. Meanwhile, MyEROAD Fleet Maintenance logs service records and invoices so you don’t have to.
But the most innovative feature that saves W&W significant sums every month is EROAD automated off-road claims: “Before we had EROAD, one of our three office admins would manually process our RUC off-road claims,” says Jason. “It took her seven to eight working days every month, as she had to manually check off-road lead distances against forest-map entry and exit points to calculate the number of off-road Ks a truck had done on each trip.”
This tedious and time-consuming process involved checking the register of loads per day, per truck, then making an Excel spreadsheet, putting in the destination and trip distance, and estimating of how much of that was on road and how much was off. “Say a truck has done 60Ks, but 15Ks of that were off highway or on forestry roads.”
Next, the data and calculations were subject to final checks by accounts, upper management, and the NZTA, to whom off-road reimbursement claims are submitted. Now, with EROAD, these final checks are all that remains of the original labourious process.
Choosing to go with EROAD was an easy decision: “When EROAD first came out, we liked the idea of buying RUC electronically,” says Jason. “It was kind of a no-brainer. As our fleet started to move away from our base, we had so many trucks out of the area that buying RUC online just made sense. And being able to claim off-road RUC electronically definitely had its appeal; EROAD was the first one to come on with both – there was no one else at the time.”
EROAD has also been useful for managing driver compliance: “Drivers actually have to get a medical each time they get their class licence reissued. You can put their licence info [into the system], so you pick up that someone’s licence is due to expire in 30 days. It’s a small thing but it’s very handy.”
Of course, the biggest benefit has been the automatic logging of off-road vehicle use – and faster, paperless refunds. “Probably one of our biggest months last year was July 2020: We did 105,000Ks off road and the rebate was $60,700!” And that’s just one of many months where their rebates were in the vicinity of $50K.
Not only that, but since using EROAD to process off-road claims, Williams & Wilshier have been able to claim back more mileage – due to more inclusive, more accurate GPS tracking.
“You’re picking up areas you don’t see when doing manual refunds, and that’s been a real bonus.”
The moral of the story: There’s more to claim than most people document or even realise, particularly in industries like forestry. It’s easy to overlook hidden “micro distances” like multiple pickups and trips between private sites.
“In bigger yards, ports, or places like that, you might have to go backwards and forwards, up and down, inside their port for maybe two or three Ks, which adds up per vehicle by the end of the year.”
Jason heartily agrees that EROAD more than pays for itself. “it’s so simple for me to do it, it takes me five minutes to do all those trucks – at the end of the month!”