Fuel Smarts

Huttig Building Products Is Seeing Green

August 2010, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Diana Britton, Managing Editor

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"Go Green" is a program Huttig Building Products uses to motivate its drivers to improve performance and increase fuel efficiency.
Huttig monitors drivers' mpg, idling and rpm using the PacTrac telematics system, available on the Peterbilt trucks it leases. (Photo by Huttig)
Huttig monitors drivers' mpg, idling and rpm using the PacTrac telematics system, available on the Peterbilt trucks it leases. (Photo by Huttig)
Every month, Erik Nagli, general manager at the company's Phoenix distribution center, posts a spreadsheet, showing the performance of its nine drivers in a color-coded matrix. Drivers are in the green if they get their fuel economy above 6 mpg. Yellow indicates mpg between 5.5 and 5.9, while red shows anything below 5.5 mpg.

If you look at the matrix from January 2010, there are almost no fields that aren't green. Drivers can earn a bonus for good performance, based on a points system. Green, for example, is worth two points, while yellow gets a driver one point. Drivers get paid an additional $100 for every 16 points they earn.

Huttig is able to keep on top of drivers' mpg, idling and rpm through the PacTrac system, a telematics system powered by PeopleNet. The Phoenix center leases eight Class 8 Peterbilts and one straight truck through a local PacLease franchise, Rush Enterprises. PacTrac is the unit inside the truck, which sends data to the PeopleNet system so the company can create these reports.

Before, the company was achieving 4.89 mpg; now the fleet averages 6.2 mpg. In January, the company saved 1,457 gallons of fuel. When the company was running 18 trucks before, the fleet was using 400 gallons of "long-idle" fuel in one month. In January, the fleet of nine trucks used 0.16 gallons of fuel from long idling (any idling longer than five minutes).

Switching over to the new system weeded out the bad drivers and reduced the center's operating expenses by 20 percent. "The savings are staggering," Nagli says. "It is such a no-brainer."

Nagli says the report helps drivers recognize how their driving habits compare to company expectations. It offers him a way to reward drivers who achieve the best results and to encourage improvement from drivers who don't perform as well.

"You have to engage your drivers to be part of the solution."

From the August 2010 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.

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