BP: Always thinking ahead

Investing in the future of the country’s commercial road transport industry is closely connected to investing in safe and reliable transport equipment. British multinational oil and gas company BP, for instance, has a strict renewal policy in place to ensure all prime movers in the company fleet are replaced after a maximum of five years, and all fuel barrels are younger than 10 years.

By BP’s own account, the local Australian division is the largest supplier of fuel to the continent’s mining and industrial sector. To ensure a gapless supply chain, therefore operates more than 260 company-owned trucks, backed by a 'rolling programme' of investment to continually upgrade the fuel fleet and ‘put its money where its mouth is’.

“In 2012, we spent $12 million in truck upgrades and on our replacement program, and we continue to be committed to keeping our drivers safe and getting to our customers on time,” says BP’s National Operations Manager, George Roberts.

This year, BP will spend a further $4.5 million to install the latest on-board vehicle computers (OVCs) across the fleet, according to George. The investment is supposed to help BP understand customer needs and manage incidents by offering a whole range of benefits, including safer and more reliable operations.

“The latest significant investment is further evidence that we are constantly looking for new ways to meet customer needs. With 700,000 deliveries each year, road transport is always top-of-mind for us at BP,” he adds.

Once the OVCs are installed, driver shifts won’t even be able to get started unless all assessment points pass acceptable standards to ensure maximum safety. If the vehicle is not up to scratch, the OVC will simply not download the delivery details for the shift – meaning that the driver will not be able to load the truck or start work.

“The new OVCs will also help capture safety critical information such as harsh breaking and engine use which will allow for better fleet maintenance,” says George.

Other features enable data to be entered, tracked and analysed. Additionally there will be a whole range of trip statistics, offering real-time feedback to assist with truck scheduling and planning. It will also help with anticipating incidents and better understanding incident root causes.

“Basically the OVC will allow us to have better visibility of our fleet, making sure our drivers are safe as we will know exactly where our trucks are. We will also be able to educate our teams to drive better and not push the trucks too much. Importantly, we will be taking much manual work out of the process, making the drivers more time efficient.  All this should help take our customer service to the next level,” George concludes.

According to an official BP statement, the 2013 investment in on-board vehicle computers is a ‘significant step forward’ as BP strives for an even better safety driving record in Australia. “A well-maintained fleet with the latest in safety technology means BP is protecting its people while also offering customers an even more dependable service.”

Each year the BP regional fleet covers some 23 million kilometres around Australia, which equates to some 575 runs around the earth. “BP has been a long haul player over many decades and there is no sign of that changing.”

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