At the recently instituted Apollo Fleet of the Year awards ceremony, Satish Sharma, Chief, India Operations, Apollo Tyres Ltd., gave away the trophy for Apollo Fleet of the Year to VRL Logistics in Large Operator and Sangha Freight Carrier in Medium Operator category. For the 1st edition of Apollo Fleet of the Year awards, the organisation received an overwhelming response from over 5140 valid entries from fleet operators across India.
The awards are Apollo’s initiative to recognise, encourage and share best practices in the transportation sector and give importance to initiatives taken by fleet operators towards safety, technology, sustainability and customer service, unlike other awards in the genre, which place size and scale of operations above institutional leadership factors.
VRL Logistics based out of Hubli, Karnataka in the southern part of the country, with a fleet size of 3000+ vehicles, has a record 98pc customer complaint resolution. It has conducted around 550 safety trainings resulting in lower accidents per truck. These proved to be the critical deciding factors for the judges and validating agency in awarding VRL as India’s Fleet of the Year. What also went in VRL’s favour was the level of radialisation, a high 60pc, in comparison to 20pc in commercial vehicles in India.
Speaking on the occasion, Sharma remarked, “These awards are Apollo’s recognition of the best practices that exist within the Indian commercial transportation segment. It is a much more progressive and modern sector of the economy than it gets recognition for. We have found that a vast majority of the operators conduct safety trainings for their drivers, fitters, mechanics and employees, resulting in lesser road accidents. The other surprising area was the high value put on GPS usage, technology deployment and fuel saving. I think we are literally witnessing a silent revolution in this segment, and fleet operators -- large or small -- should be lauded for it.”
Leadership in Safety has been evaluated on the basis of the number of safety training programmes conducted, along with the rate of accident per vehicle and the insurance claimed. M M Roadways from Chennai, Tamil Nadu won the Leadership in Safety award in the large fleet operator category for having conducted more than 200 safety trainings, as a result of which there were only 0.10 accident/truck. Similarly, Sri Balaji Transport from Chennai won the award in the medium category for having a 0.04 accident/truck in the past 12 months.
Leadership in Technology and Sustainability takes into account the level of radialisation and the fleet age -- both translate into lower spends on fuel and maintenance; along with investments in technology deployment in vehicle tracking to improve on customer service, cost and safety parameters. All of these elements are critical in the long-term success of operators, in an increasingly technological world. ABT Ltd from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, with 100pc of its fleet connected with GPS, received the honour in the large category of fleets; while Madanshree Bulk Carrier, from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, with 80pc radialisation and 43pc of its vehicles connected with GPS, received it in the medium fleet category.
In Leadership in Customer Service, the number of customer complaints resolved was tracked along with growth in the customer base, the number of offices and non-vehicular staff, all of which help an operator provide better service to customers. DARCL Logistics based out of Gurgaon, Haryana with a 100pc complaint resolution record won the Leadership in Customer Service award in the large operator category, and New Raipur Roadways, Bilaspur, with large and growing customer base and having resolved 78pc of the customer complaints successfully, won in the medium category.
Leadership in Operations was evaluated on the basis of growth in fleet size in the last year and the compounded revenue growth in last 2 years. So, VRL Logistics, Gurgaon, in the large fleet operator category, R R Logistics, Indore, in the medium and SRS Travels in the passenger carrier category won, based on the growth in their fleet size in last 2 years. The 3 witnessed growth ranging from 12 to 28pc between 2010 and 11.
Sharma further added, “Seventy per cent of the goods transported in India are by road, making it the lifeline of the economy where millions of people and businesses rely on these fleets, and the quality of the nominations and the enthusiasm shown by the nominees show that the sector is truly in good hands. We are in the process of collating and creating small, and easy to understand, case studies of some of the best fleet operators. We intend to share these with the industry at large to enable others to follow some of the best practices already in place.”
An independent jury from the commercial vehicle industry with a cumulative experience of nearly 100 years -- across planning, operations and customer service -- screened and judged the winners based on the quantitative and qualitative evaluation done by Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd.
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