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Lightening the load of logistics: part 2

World Cement,

Read part 1 here.

Non-tipping trucks – a revolution in efficiency

When restructuring its logistics strategy, Aggregate Industries had to review the use of certain vehicles and found that there was a need for a more efficient, smaller and more functional way to deliver materials. Power lines, safety concerns and the practicalities of unloading in certain areas meant that the usual fleet was not meeting the mark and it was taking a long time for loads to be distributed, especially when certain vehicles could only transport over short distances or struggled in rural or remote areas.

NTT being used in the Kingsway Tunnel.

The company sought a truck that was smaller but no less efficient, and the non-tipping truck (NNT) has been a revelation. Capable of carrying 28 t, 26 units have currently been embedded within the fleet, with six further trucks on order. As the initiative moves forward, the company will replace older trucks with the NTTs. They have been successful in differentiating Aggregate Industries’ logistics capability by offering an environmentally friendly option and improving worker safety.

Utilising a unique walking floor discharge system, the NTTs offer greater flexibility and efficiency for construction projects of all sizes. Additionally, the NTTs require less manpower to manoeuvre due to lowered risk during load discharge, against the backdrop of reduced delivery time and other cost savings. Introduced in 2013, the NTTs were developed with an objective to continue Aggregate Industries’ commitment to deliver a zero-harm rate onsite and on-plant. CO2 reduction is achieved throughout the life cycle of the NTTs via a significant saving in vehicle movements, thanks to increased load capacity versus conventional tippers.

The NTTs have helped Aggregate Industries deliver key performance results for both safety and maintenance, changing the way that work is completed on construction projects. Through the greater levels of accessibility NTTs provide, risks have been significantly reduced when tackling obstacles, such as from overhead electric and telephone cables and bridges. The introduction of the NTTs has also led to the company’s Logistics division celebrating success at the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards 2014, winning the Highways Industry Product of the Year for the NTTs.

Highways Industry Product of the Year award for the NTT.

The company is committed to bringing unique and innovative solutions to construction projects and the NTTs fit its remit. Not only do they contribute to Aggregate Industries’ mission to reduce its carbon footprint, they are also extremely efficient, save time and are cost effective. In terms of being ‘in the field’, the company has been able to use them in many projects, including resurfacing 70 000 m² of carriageway for the Tour de France. Aggregate Industries’ Contracting and Asphalt divisions managed to resurface the carriageway over a two-month period, which equated to more than six miles of local roads, to complete work by May in preparation for the July event. The surfacing teams tackled the logistics of the power cables through the use of NTTs to ensure a speedy and safe delivery of material. Work was able to commence quickly and efficiently through the controlled unloading of aggregate and asphalt. The non-tipping truck is also completely stable on uneven surfaces and the risk of contamination to the load is significantly reduced.

Tackling other concerns

As well as looking at the technology and the fleet, Aggregate Industries also has to take great care when it comes to meeting government guidelines and new European legislation, which directly affects how it operates its logistics strategy. The new Euro 6 Emissions Legislation makes it more important than ever for businesses within the construction industry to consider the environmental impact of their fleet.

The European Union (EU) aims to introduce stricter limits on pollutant emissions from light road vehicles, particularly for emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulates. This is having a direct impact on how vehicles are being manufactured, which in turn will affect the way a vehicle is maintained. The biggest challenge construction businesses will need to overcome as part of these changes is how this will affect their fleet functionality. In order to become more fuel efficient, manufacturers are adapting vehicles. These adaptations will result in additional maintenance considerations for businesses operating a fleet – presenting both practical and logistical challenges.

In short, businesses looking to be on the front foot with their fleet need to consider three key points: the maintenance support of these new vehicles; the acquisition methods and resulting costs involved in incorporating Euro 6 Emissions vehicles into their fleet; and finally the expertise required to service these vehicles.

Aggregate Industries has already made a significant investment in addressing this issue, especially as the Euro 6 implications mean that vehicles are heavier and every kilogram really does count. Costs have also gone up around 15% for its operators and ongoing investment into a new fleet of vehicles means that the company is seeking ways to comply with the regulations and make it easy and efficient for operators to continue. Alternative logistics solutions include rail freight and barge transportation. Although Aggregate Industries has significant capability in these sectors, they are seen by contractors as a premium service, and along with obvious geographical limitations, an efficient road transport offering has a vital role to play.

In terms of logistics for the future, legislation is a big consideration for all within construction. However, new technology, greater investment and better visibility have all contributed to a streamlined and standardised supply chain at Aggregate Industries that is now being replicated by competitors. The company welcomes this change as it can only benefit the industry as a whole, strengthening customer relations and those businesses within construction.

Written by Jeff Stobbart, National Logistics Manager UK, Aggregate Industries. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the March 2015 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can read the full article by logging in. They can also read the magazine on smart phones and tablets by downloading World Cement’s app.

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