On the (crystal) ball
Hellberg Transport Management (HTM), through its founder Fritz Hellberg, has been involved in truck testing from as early as 1991 and with transport in general from as far back as 1970. FOCUS discovers that the old adage “transport is in our blood” very aptly applies to the company.
“Early in HTM’s existence,” says Hellberg, “the need was identified for a software tool that could accurately predict total cost of ownership for vehicles over varying topographies and under different conditions of loading.” He adds that from primitive beginnings in the pre-PC era, this idea eventually evolved into what is today known as TransSolve – HTM’s transport planning software.
“TransSolve was originally conceived as a marketing tool for vehicle manufacturers to enable sales personnel to present their products professionally and unambiguously, to potential customers,” explains Hellberg.
This approach has empowered sales staff to fully exploit the modules within TransSolve to such an extent that it is now the industry standard software for vehicle selection in southern Africa. “Some manufacturers even go as far as making the use of TransSolve a condition of their dealers’ franchise contract,” Hellberg adds.
“The modules comprise load distribution, routing, vehicle performance, finance, maintenance, costing, as well as a static specification comparison section – all combined in a user-friendly interface.”
Taking all this into account, it’s no wonder that before Truck Test 2012 kicked off (which HTM was a co-organiser of), it was decided to predict the outcome using TransSolve. “When the final results were tallied, the overall difference between the simulated and actual results was four percent,” says Hellberg.
“This means that, as the TransSolve predictions were very meaningful in a set route like Truck Test 2012, such predictions could be made very accurately for any route in South Africa.” He adds that because of the routing module within TransSolve, which contains all topographies encountered worldwide, accurate predictions could also be made globally.
“Because Truck Test 2012 was so successful, and enjoyed the full support of the industry, it was decided to make it an annual event,” notes Hellberg. “Casting around for other options the obvious choice for the next test fell on the eight-tonne rigid trucks that are widely used in local urban deliveries of various types of merchandise.”
HTM is once again the co-organiser of Truck Test 2013, which starts on April 15 and spans over three days until April 17. “TransSolve will be used in the same manner for Truck Test 2013 as it was last year – and I am confident it will show the industry, both vehicle manufacturers and vehicle users, that it is a reliable tool for predicting total operating costs,” says Hellberg.
Hellberg adds that the results of Truck Test 2013 will be cross-referenced with TransSolve’s simulated results
to ensure the ongoing integrity of the software.