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Tech adaptation vital in trucking industry

Ghaz Ghazali, reporters@theborneopost.com

(From left) TCIE executive director Tan Keng Meng speaks during a session at the UD Experience Centre near Tokyo, as Van den Heede and UD Trucks vice-president for brand and marketing communications Kenneth Hagås look on.

TOKYO: The global trucking industry needs to be readily open to changes in line with the fast-paced technology transforming the way of doing business for this heavy-duty sector.

For global player UD Trucks, its Telematics system emphasises this very aspect, which goes beyond mere delivery from one point to another.

UD Telematics is a high-technology wireless communications system, which is supported by the group’s network of dealers and specialists.

It was introduced in Malaysia in conjunction with the launch of UD Trucks’ all-new, medium-duty series, the Croner, in August this year.

“Through Telematics, our clients woud be able to monitor their trucks and locations, as well as address the maintenance needs as and when required.

“The system offers safety support for truck operations, fuel efficiency improvement, maximisation of uptime/downtime and reduction of operational cost,” said UD Trucks group trucks Asia sales-Malaysia managing director Filip Van den Heede ahead of the global finals of UD Trucks ‘Extra Mile Challenge (UDEMC) 2017’ at the UD Experience Centre in Ageo, Saitama on Tuesday.

He pointed out that although Malaysia is grouped under UD Trucks’ growth markets, this is merely categorisation.

The company’s presence in Malaysia has spanned nearly 40 years through the collaboration with distributor Tan Chong Industrial Equipment Sdn Bhd (TCIE).

Its market share for heavy-duty trucks segment in the country covers 10 to 15 per cent while for the medium-duty trucks, it is between 25 and 28 per cent.

Elaborating on technology, Van den Heede said the focus is also on the drivers.

“UD Trucks also emphasises on smart drivability, without sacrificing safety and efficiency. In fact, it underlines these two aspects. This is important because long-haul trucking can wear a driver out.

“Through this technology, the driver would be more alert and less stressed; thus reducing risks of accidents and ensuring client’s satisfacion,” he said.

UD Trucks benefits from TCIE’s extensive network of 43 service centres and dealerships across Malaysia — with four each in Sarawak and Sabah.

For next year, Van den Heede said the focus for UD Trucks in Malaysia would include coverage on general cargo and plantation, especially the oil palm sector.

“On this, our partner TCIE has been doing a tremendous job and in this regard, I believe that UD Trucks is able to expand its market share in Malaysia further.

“It is also noteworthy to mention that looking ahead, there is a plan through TCIE to set an assembly facility for UD Trucks’ Quester and Croner models in Segambut (near Kuala Lumpur) in April 2018.

“This would be our immediate target,” he said.

The UDEMC 2017 global finals entailed a series of examinations for UD Trucks’ Quester and Quon truck drivers who were winner of the regional competitions.

For the finals, they faced strict assessments, including those on vehicle inspection and manoeuvring, in which each finalist was given a ‘set revenue’ before the start of the competition.

During assessment, the examiners ‘deducted’ this revenue every time the trucker made errors. Those with the highest revenue balance would be declared the overall winner.

The Malaysian UDEMC 2017 champion Anuar Ahmad – a 45-year-old truck driver for Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd – was named winner of the ‘Inspection’ category of this year’s global challenge.

Van den Heede (left) wishes Anuar the best of luck for UDEMC 2017.

For next year, Van den Heede says the focus for UD Trucks in Malaysia would include coverage on general cargo and plantation, especially the oil palm sector.