Construction World

By Paul Crankshaw

Alrode-based specialist transport firm Jacobs Transport has made Scania its supplier of choice for its core truck fleet, with both companies sharing a deep-seated commitment to quality and customer service.With its focus on crane trucks and all the applications they fulfil, Jacobs Transport was formed in 1999 by brothers Gys and Seun Jacobs. It has grown into a significant player in the field of machine-moving and rigging, and is a one-stop shop for abnormal loads.

Scania Birds of a featherJacobs Transport’s colourful livery on one of the company’s recently acquired Scania G410 units.

From their modest beginnings, when they started out with one second-hand crane truck, the company’s fleet now includes a range of crane trucks with lifting capacities from 3-ton to 36-ton, truck tractors with flat deck and dropsides (from 18 to 32 ton capacity), vehicle mounted cranes, dangerous goods vehicles and abnormal load vehicles.

Their first Scania – a G420 – was acquired in 2010, and this was the start of a firm relationship; in fact, since 2014, they have bought no other brand for their core functions. Little wonder, as Scania prides itself on trucks that deliver productivity and reliability, along with class-leading fuel economy, excellent total operating economy and low emissions.

“Today, there are 13 Scania trucks in the fleet, and these help us to deliver on our promise to clients of reliability and affordability,” said co-founder Gys Jacobs.
“The Scania business philosophy also aligns well with the four pillars that we base our work on: best business practices, quality management, top-class service and personalised relationships with our clients.”

To support this drive, Jacobs Transport implemented the international quality management system ISO9001: 2015 in 2016, to streamline the business and manage both the internal and external environment to the mutual benefit of clients and the business

“Our commitment to clients – many of whom have been with us since we started 18 years ago – means that we maintain an average 97% service level,” said Jacobs, “and our quality systems help us maintain this high benchmark for our service.”

To ensure optimal reliability and minimal downtime, while working within a fixed budget, Jacobs Transport has acquired 11 of their Scania trucks with comprehensive repair and maintenance contracts. This gives them peace of mind at a budgeted cost, keeping the asset in good condition and lowering the risk of breakdowns.

“What this full repair and maintenance contract means is that the customer’s monthly costs for servicing a vehicle are fixed and predictable – allowing better budgeting,” said Scania sales executive in charge of the Jacobs account, Lance Strachan. “It will often also cover aspects that are not covered in the warranty period – so there are no surprises for the customer in terms of unexpected costs that could be disruptive.”

For Jacobs Transport workshop manager Dawie Coetzer, the experience of owning the first G420 model really “planted the seed” for the future Scania purchases. Coetzer said the choice of Scania made good sense in terms of a number of considerations. Fuel consumption is always a primary concern for any fleet operator. Scania’s modern engines achieve excellent fuel economy, and the trucks combine this with weight optimisation, aerodynamics and tyre pressure to optimise fuel consumption.

“Good fuel consumption translates into large savings when you consider the amounts over an expected 8-12 year life of a vehicle,” he said. “The fuel generally makes up about a third of the truck’s operating cost, alongside the driver and the maintenance, so it needs to be as low as possible.”

Since Jacobs Transport’s purchase of their first G420, Scania’s technology has continued to advance – with further improvements in fuel efficiency.
According to Strachan, the advance from a 12-litre to a 13-litre engine in the more recent G410 models acquired by Jacobs

Transport has brought lower revs and an even better fuel economy.

“Safety and durability are other vital factors in our choice of trucks, and Scania delivers on both,” said Coetzer. “A good example is the excellent retarder system in the Scania, which allows our drivers to stay safe on steep downhills by setting their speed without having to rely on or over-use the brakes.”

He said that drivers appreciate the comfort of the vehicles, and this contributes to a safe journey.

“After the sale, the vehicle needs to be put to work and to create value for the owner,” said Coetzer. “This is where Scania’s performance as a service organisation is a big plus factor for us – as their service capacity helps us keep downtime to an absolute minimum. We often send a vehicle in for a service and have it back that same afternoon. Parts availability is also very good, which speeds up any repair or maintenance that must be done.”

The footprint of support that Scania is able to offer Jacobs Transport is across Southern Africa, right up to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The advantage of our dealership network is that they are all Scania-owned,” said Strachan. “So wherever a truck needs attention, that dealership will have access to all the customer information on our central database – and can attend to them without delay. Where there is no dealership in an area, we have a Scania approved service provider.”

Coetzer said this support network was an important benefit, as Jacobs Transport operates throughout a number of southern
African countries.

“We travel and work all over this region, so we need that assistance – we need that assurance that we are covered, to help manage the risks of our business,” he said.

The next important factor in the purchase decision is the durability of the truck; this is a function of its advanced design and manufacturing excellence, and makes for longer life and lower cost of ownership.

He highlighted how the quality of their trucks could be measured in the way they age. “When a truck ages well, this has a huge effect on our target of a minimum eight-year lifespan,” said Coetzer. “We find that they cost little more to maintain as they age; they are the kind of trucks that you want to keep for eight years, as they still deliver the same value and reliability.”

He said the durability of the Scania vehicles means that the value they add to the business every day remains more or less constant; they also still have a resale value when the business needs to rejuvenate the fleet.

Coetzer emphasised the importance of considering the overall life-cycle cost of truck ownership – the big picture. “The initial capital cost is not our main concern when selecting a vehicle,” he said. “We have decided on Scania trucks because of what they can offer, in terms of bringing value to our business.

“Take the turn-around time during servicing, for instance. The way
Scania manages their operation is important to us; it means that I can take a problem to their workshop manager, and I know there will be a quick decision, and action will follow. We don’t have lengthy procedures or processes that cost us money, while a truck stands idle.

“In this respect, nobody can beat Scania South Africa’s approach and efficiency; they outclass everybody.”

A factor of increasing importance to transport companies and their clients is the issue of exhaust emissions.

“For us, it is a selling point that our Scania trucks have low carbon-emissions ratings, especially for our larger corporate clients,” said Jacobs. “They want to know what our carbon footprint is, and it needs to contribute to their own sustainability targets. Our Scania trucks, with their advanced engineering and lower emissions, help us do that.”

Like Scania, its customer Jacobs Transport is finding success through quality, innovation and a never-ending quest to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.


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