One percent idling: A fleet success story

Chris Suttle is the transportation manager for the Cincinnati location of Xpedx, a division of International Paper. On any given day, about twenty trucks with day cabs are working out of his facility, including three inter-company shuttles. Just a few months ago, those trucks were idling about 20% of the time. Today, Suttle said idling has been reduced to about 1.5%, comfortably below the corporate goal of 2% average idle time --- without any idle reduction system at all, onboard or off.

Chris Suttle is the transportation manager for the Cincinnati location of Xpedx, a division of International Paper. On any given day, about twenty trucks with day cabs are working out of his facility, including three inter-company shuttles. Just a few months ago, those trucks were idling about 20% of the time. Today, Suttle said idling has been reduced to about 1.5%, comfortably below the corporate goal of 2% average idle time --- without any idle reduction system at all, onboard or off.

“We have nothing like an idle reduction system onboard our trucks,” Suttle explained. “We are just managing idling with Xatanet from Xata Corp. When we first installed the Xata system in October of 2006, our idle time was about 20%. We were down to 0.4% when the weather was warmer. We are just over 1.5% now.”

According to Suttle, the fleet management software enables Xpedx to set idling parameters and receive instant alerts anytime a driver is exceeding those limits. “We have the idle time limits set and I can get an instant alert right over my cell phone if someone is exceeding that,” he said. “Our corporate goal is 2% idling and we have been able to stay well below that. There are a few issues, of course. Drivers have to be able to idle if it is very cold, or if the starter goes out or something like that, and that is fine.

“We kicked around the idea of an automatic engine shut-off system, but it was hard for us to pull the trigger when we weren’t sure how much we were idling. Now Xatanet works so well that we don’t have to go to that effort and expense,” Suttle added. “We are fortunate to have a fairly senior group of drivers who want to do a good job. It took us a couple of months to get from 20% to about 5% and another while to reach about 1% where we are now.

“The thing about Xatanet is that we could see exactly where our idling problems were. Right here in the yard, for instance, turned out to be one place were we had the most opportunity to improve,” he recalled. “Drivers were idling in the morning while they got their paperwork for the day and again in the evening.”
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