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Mack Telematics: Hauling east to west

When you’re carrying 48 tonnes of machinery across the outback from Brisbane to Perth, it’s important to keep an eye on your truck and its performance with real-time monitoring.

Kennedy’s Brisbane is one of those family businesses that sit at the heart of the Australian transport industry: a husband and wife team with three sons all hard at it. In the case of the Kennedy family, they’re a major cog keeping the machine of the Australian mining industry turning.

“We carry big machinery and components to mine sites all over the country,” says general manager Damian Kennedy, “a typical journey might be from Brisbane across to the Pilbara or down to Perth, with a road train carrying 48 tonnes of machinery.”

With distances like that to cover, Kennedy has a lot of things to keep track of, and this is where he has found Mack Telematics to be invaluable.

“We’ve got a Super-Liner and a Trident with Mack Telematics installed,” says Kennedy, “and it’s absolutely brilliant.”

Mack Telematics gives Kennedy complete visibility of everything he needs to know about his trucks and his drivers: where they are, how much fuel they’re using, what the driver’s style of driving is like and much more. It took Damian a while to work out how to use all of this information, but now he swears by it.

“Just knowing all of this changes the whole way you plan and manage everything,” says Kennedy. “Take servicing, we’ve got a service agreement with Mack and the dealer can view the telematics information on my trucks. He calls me every Monday and says things like ‘You’ve got a truck due back tomorrow, can we bring it in a for a lube job on the way past?’ He can book the services based around our schedule and make sure the parts are available when we come in. It’s like having your own mechanic without all the hassle.”

The service agreement with Mack also simplifies things from the business perspective.

“We always know what our monthly service cost will be,” says Kennedy, “and because we’re doing small bits of preventative maintenance constantly, we’re avoiding breakdowns. More uptime means more profit, it’s a pretty simple equation!”

Kennedy’s son Phil drives the Super-Liner, and his dad says that the combination of the mDRIVE automated manual transmission and Mack Telematics has massively improved his driving.

“Phil came straight out of a Road Ranger into the Mack with mDRIVE,” says Kennedy, “and it’s made a huge difference to his driving. He used to be pretty hard on the pedal, but since he’s been in the Mack he’s been trying to beat his personal best and his fuel consumption is now the best in the fleet. We’re getting 2.2 kilometres to the litre and he’s regularly scoring 90+ out of 100 on the Mack Telematics fuel consumption score. He’s a real professional driver now, it’s incredible.”

When he bought the Super-Liner, Kennedy had a few extra safety features fitted, including Active Cruise Control, Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring.

“When I showed all of these features to the insurer, and demonstrated how much I knew about the truck’s operation using Mack Telematics, they were really impressed,” says Kennedy, “they came back and said ‘We’re going to give you 25 per cent off your premiums because you can prove that your drivers are looking after the equipment properly and driving safely.’ That saving alone will pay for those features within two years.”

The benefit to his customers is clear as well. They know that Kennedy has a bird’s eye view of his fleet, and can organise things in a way that was previously impossible.

“Our customers love it,” says Kennedy, “one called me the other day and asked whether the truck had gone past their depot yet. I checked where it was on Mack Telematics and it was about half an hour out, so the driver was able to stop in and pick up two more components. Customers are really impressed that we know where the truck is and they love the flexibility that gives us.”

Another aspect Kennedy appreciates is the impact on the drivers.

“Scheduling things using this information helps with fatigue management. We can arrange a pickup and have the goods and cranes ready to go when the truck gets there, so there’s no waiting around. And if we know the driver pulled over to sleep at 3am we won’t call him at 6am to ask him where he is.”

The drivers also appreciate the security of having someone keeping an eye on them, especially when they’re out in the middle of nowhere in the Outback.

“There are plenty of places where they’re out of phone range,” says Kennedy, “and we have a rule that if the truck doesn’t move for 24 hours we know there’s a problem and we’ll send someone to come and get them. It’s these little things that make all the difference.

“Until you actually use Mack Telematics it’s hard to understand just how brilliant it is,” says Kennedy, “I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that they should use it, and I won’t buy another truck without it. Having all these products together on the truck makes it easier to manage the business, it’s cool.”

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