Neptune Food Service
Neptune Food Services provides a full range of food products, supplies and equipment to restaurants and institutions throughout BC. After 40 years in the business, Neptune continues to evolve and innovate. The improvements are all centered on the areas core to their success: exceptional service and on-time deliveries.
Part of that innovation includes an anti-idling strategy. The Neptune Food Services fleet consists of 81 tractors and 17 straight trucks making 100 runs a day, the majority of which are on a full maintenance lease. Neptune had CADEC on-board computers installed in all 98 of their vehicles to monitor deliveries and found that reducing idling was a very simple way they could save on fuel costs.
Sixty percent of their vehicles were idling unnecessarily, on average for 10 minutes per day. It became clear that to prevent operational costs from going up in smoke, they needed to educate their drivers. Brian Horel, Neptune's Fleet Maintenance Supervisor explains that "there was an 'old-school' philosophy that turning off your engine put more wear and tear on the vehicle and used more fuel to start up again. I had to educate these guys because it is no harder on your engine to turn it off for a short time; and even if it was, the cost of replacing a starter compared to the ongoing fuel costs is just a drop in the bucket."
Idling Reduction Program
Neptune employed a full suite of driver education programs, and took a direct approach to change attitudes about idling, including:
In communicating with the drivers, there was an emphasis on the fact that idling wastes money and does nothing to extend the life of the engine. Personal voice-mail messages were used to inform drivers of the company's decision to go Idle Free. Team leaders then followed-up with each driver, discussing idling statistics from the on-board computers. They let the drivers know that savings could be put back into their pockets through bonuses.
As the person responsible for the mechanical well-being of the fleet, Brian is very practical about the matter. He says, "We were just trying to save on fuel costs". And Neptune has been successful in increasing efficiency; "fuel usage has decreased by 16%, 7% was achieved by mechanical improvements and 9% comes from idling knowledge alone". But he also recognizes another benefit, "I tell my guys to think about the environment and what this means to their kids or grandkids at home".
Acknowledgements: We would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by the City of Vancouver and Better Environmentally Sound Transportation in preparing this case study.
Download your free E3 Fleet idling reduction calculator.
Find more idling reduction case studies and resources at Idle Free BC.