With onboard technology, Xpedx cuts idling to nearly zero

In late 2006, Xpedx implemented an onboard computing and communications system, Xatanet from Xata Corp. The data coming from its fleet of vehicles revealed enormous potential for fuel savings: Engine idle percentage was 20 percent on average, says Chris Suttle, transportation manager.

Xpedx, a division of International Paper Co., has a 23-truck private fleet based in Cincinnati that serves 100 locations in hub-and-spoke operations. After one year of using the Xata system to monitor its vehicles and drivers, the fleet average for engine idle percentage has dropped to 0.8 percent.

“That’s a huge turnaround,” Suttle says. As a result of closely monitoring the performance of its vehicles and drivers and making improvements, the company expects to keep its idle percentage below 2 percent, he says.

One of the most useful tools for reducing the amount of idle time is real-time alerts, Suttle says. If vehicles idle more than a set number of minutes at each stop or facility, fleet managers receive immediate e-mail alerts. Managers are able to take immediate actions to rectify other items, including rapid acceleration, speeding, hard braking and engine fault codes.

“If a part is failing, we try to head that off and get it fixed so downtime is minimal at best,” Suttle says. Once the real-time exception alerts and scheduled reports – whether driver, organizational or customer based – are set up, they are e-mailed automatically. “It is not something you have to go back and manage,” he says.

Overall, Suttle says there is more information within the XataNet system than he will ever be able to fully utilize, but the company already has made great strides by narrowing in on idling and other variables that contribute to the bottom line and safety of its fleet.