Top-class safety – vital competitive weapon
With a fleet of 269 trucks, the Vuteq Lorry Corporation in Tokyo transports petrol and liquefied petroleum gas to filling stations and plants all over Japan. Fuel that is necessary in order for society to function.
“Top-class safety is one of our most important competitive weapons,” says Teiji Tokunaga, head of Vuteq’s transport company in Tokyo. “We’re working the whole time on safety and quality assurance when it comes to both our drivers and our vehicles.”
Vuteq Lorry in Tokyo is part of a worldwide group which manufactures and assembles interior and exterior automotive parts and various glass products. However, the Vuteq Lorry Corporation in Tokyo focuses on fuel transport.
“Once the crude oil has been imported and refined at Idemitsu and other petroleum companies on the other side of the Tokyo Bay, the refined products are brought to the terminal in eastern Japan by sea,” explains Teiji Tokunaga. “Our tank lorries are then dispatched to load petroleum products from these terminals for delivery.”
The company has a fleet of 269 trucks with 270 drivers. They distribute petrol and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to a large number of filling stations and plants, most of which are situated in densely populated areas.
“We have 135 trucks from UD Trucks. There are two ways in which we fit the tanks that are used for delivering petroleum products. One is the trailer type, the Quon tractor head hauls a trailer with a tank. The other is the rigid type, a tank mounted on the chassis of the Quon truck,” explains fleet manager, Naoto Hiraku.
The Japanese geography, with huge numbers of buildings tightly packed in small areas between mountainous regions, requires vehicle fleets to be lighter and more flexible than those in many other countries. This is why the trailer class is comprised of loading weights up to 21 tonnes, compared with the standard 40, while the rigid class stops at 13 tonnes.
“It is also possible to spend the night in our Quon trucks, but the beds are normally used for short rests,” says Teiji Tokunaga. “Our drivers generally make day trips of no more than 200 kilometres and they return in the evening.”
It takes an hour both to load and unload fuel and the process is semi-automatic. Some of the controls are operated on the roof of the tank, while other functions are controlled from a computerised control panel which the driver can reach while standing on the ground.
Eiji Michibayashi, operation co-ordinator, gives a demonstration and shows how the checklist is controlled by checking off the individual points. For every procedure that is critical to safety, Eiji Michibayashi stands and points at the equipment related to each operating procedure with the whole of his hand and shouts, “Checked – finished!”. He knows that, using his sight, hearing and body movement, he has remembered the correct routine. Three out of five senses should lay the foundations for a good memory.
Vuteq has been using vehicles from UD Trucks since 1999 and it is happy with the brand.
“Our first acquisition was a Nissan Diesel ‘Big Thumb’ in 1999 and we were so pleased that we continued with the brand,” says Jun Tazawa, managing director of the Vuteq Lorry Corporation.
Since then, the company has purchased a further 134 trucks from UD Trucks. The latest was a Quon 460, with the new 11-litre engine, purchased in December 2011.
“The market and the increasingly fierce competition are imposing more and more rigorous demands on us,” says Jun Tazawa. “In addition to the high safety level, we need to be faster, more flexible and always cost effective the whole time.
“This means that it is absolutely vital to have a good vehicle fleet, with trucks that function round the clock, are fuel efficient and comply with the emission standards. We think that we get all this from UD Trucks.”