Two local UD Trucks fleet drivers proudly represented Southern Africa at the finals of the Extra Mile Challenge driver competition in Ageo, Japan. Tatiya Sisilia from Clover SA in Johannesburg was awarded Best Green Band driver in the UD Quon Truck category, while Sunildutt Chuttur from Mauritius walked away with the accolade for the Best Safety Mindset in the UD Quester Truck category.
“We are very proud of their achievements and are sure that this once-in-a-lifetime experience will be invaluable as they continue their journey as truck drivers,” said Gert Swanepoel, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa. “What the world needs today is smart logistics, and truck operators are key to achieving this objective through efficient, profitable, safe and sustainable driving.”
The local drivers were two of the nine finalists, selected from 300 initial participants who underwent local qualifying rounds held in nine countries. The countries represented at the finals were Japan, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar and Thailand.
UD Trucks’ Extra Mile Challenge is the company’s signature annual competition and is part of its commitment to driver education and motivation, while shining the light on the unsung heroes of smart logistics – the truck drivers.
The competition simulates an actual truck operation cycle, assessing drivers in the three key areas of pre-driving inspection, fuel efficiency and safe driving, as well as manoeuvring and parking.
Jacques Michel, president, Volvo Group Trucks Asia reflected on the achievements and determination of the drivers. “The performances of these ‘ultimate drivers’ reaffirmed our view that the role of a skillful driver is pivotal to better profitability for our customers’ businesses. We are not only celebrating the winners but also the positive impact we have made to the industry and society at large,” said Michel.
The aftermarket team from BB Truck & Truck Polokwane came second in the recent UD Trucks Gemba Challenge finals. Shorts Commercial were also one of the 12 teams who participated in the highlycontested final round in Ageo, Japan.
The UD Trucks Gemba Challenge is an international aftermarket competition held every other year to develop and demonstrate the service excellence of the frontline people in UD dealerships. This year, 347 teams from Japan, South Africa, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East and North Africa participated – a total of 1 300 people!
The teams are made up of technicians, parts specialists and customer facing personnel, and they had to complete several theoretical and practical rounds to qualify for the final as the top-performing teams from their region.
During the competition, the finalists were given real cases to solve – like shifting the fuel injectors of the engine – and the way the issue is solved from A to Z is evaluated and graded, including parts and customer communication.
“At UD we put emphasis on developing the gemba - there where the action takes place and the value is created at our dealerships. It is about excelling at the essentials to be able to provide our customers with he best quality service and support,” said Gert Swanepoel, Managing Director of UD Trucks Southern Africa. “We are very proud of the South African team’s results – proof of the high level of skill and knowledge present in the regional dealer network.”