Nowadays, hauliers have to meet growing demands for greater safety, efficiency and profitability. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain experienced drivers. This is an equation that can be hard to solve, but a smart working environment can allow employers to kill two birds with one stone. But what does all this have to do with coupling systems? Come with us to Källeryd in the Swedish municipality of Herrljunga and we will explain.
On a cold but snow-free Thursday in January, we pay a visit to Sundbergs Åkeri, a haulage company in Källeryd. The mud squelches under our feet when we climb out of the car in the yard. We are met by Jan-Olof Sundberg, one of the company’s owners, who takes us into the main building. Inside the door is a long row of shoes and boots neatly arranged under a cloth and a friendly notice explaining that this is the start of the snow limit.
In our socks, we follow Jan-Olof into the staff room, where we meet a group of employees who are just buttering their breakfast rolls and talking about the day ahead. As a guest at the table, you notice the warm, caring atmosphere while the employees talk openly and joke together. We spend a really pleasant time there on a grey January morning enjoying the freshly brewed coffee and fresh bread.
Sundbergs is a family-owned haulage company which has a family feel that was very obvious during our visit. Among the company’s key concerns are retaining skilled drivers and making their day-to-day work easier and more efficient. Another major priority is constantly improving employee safety. The company took a step in this direction when it opted to install a VBG MFC , a fully automatic coupling, on the new hook loader it had bought just over six months before.
One of the reasons the company chose an MFC is that it reduces the time needed for coupling and uncoupling. The time that is saved can be used to transport an extra load of gravel. This reduces the truck’s downtime, which in turn leads to lower diesel costs and shorter driving hours. Ultimately it improves productivity and lowers the company’s overall costs. It also results in a reduced climate impact, which is a very positive consideration.
But another important reason why Sundbergs Åkeri chose the VBG MFC coupling was its driver Henrik Fredriksson. Henrik has a functional difference which makes it hard for him to constantly climb in and out of the cab. The MFC proved to be the ideal solution to retain an experienced driver and, at the same time, to make his job easier.
Henrik is interested in technology and knows a lot about the innovations that can simplify drivers’ daily work. He had seen other drivers on YouTube and Instagram using the fully automatic coupling and realised the direct advantages this would bring him in his job.
”It was the coupling that made my work difficult and took a lot of time. I was forced to climb in and out of the cab to make sure everything was closed, secured and locked,” said Henrik.
When Sundbergs ordered its new hook loader, the choice was an obvious one and a VBG MFC coupling was fitted to Henrik’s new truck.
Because Henrik can now monitor and control the entire coupling and uncoupling process using a button and a display inside the cab, the number of times he has to climb in and out of his truck each day is kept to a minimum. It is an obvious improvement in his working environment and also saves time and money.
“The MFC coupling makes my working environment safer. I don’t need to climb out of the cab in risky areas where space is limited, because I can control the entire process from inside,” said Henrik.
If hauliers can make their employees’ jobs easier and meet their specific needs, they will be able to recruit and retain committed and skilled drivers. There is a significant shortage of professional drivers, but if we make the job more accessible and attractive to a wider group of people by using technical solutions and taking a more open approach to people’s skills, the entire industry will benefit. Increased diversity can lead to more stimulating, profitable and enriching workplaces for everyone involved.
Would you like to find out more about how an automatic coupling and other innovative solutions can make your employees’ work easier and improve your profitability? Talk to one of our experts!