Perfecting the mobility pipeline
Engen Petroleum Limited is a leading force in the supply of diesel and lubricants to South Africa’s highly competitive commercial road transport sector and, having won several Focus on Excellence Awards – sponsored by Wesbank – in the past, is this year nominated for two more, in the Best Supplier of Diesel and Best Supplier of Lubricants categories. This winning track record can be largely attributed to the company’s ongoing commitment to enhancing service delivery and improving channels of communication between fleet customers and Engen to ensure the wheels of industry keep rolling.
Diesel is the very lifeblood of today’s heavy-duty transport fleet, a mission-critical component of its mobility infrastructure, accounting for approximately 40% of the enterprise’s operational expenditure. In short, an unreliable diesel supply chain in the commercial transport industry is simply not an option.
Customised fuel solutions
“Engen recognised a number of years ago that truck fleets need specialised services from diesel suppliers and thus established a dedicated Fleet Services division to meet the ever-changing demands and challenges facing commercial transport operators,” says Lindsay Bassett, Engen’s key accounts manager – commercial fuels.
“In times of crisis, our customers want problems to be solved immediately. Our communications pipeline is geared to do just this, with a single phone call from our customer to the relevant Engen executive,” Bassett explains.
Over the years, Engen’s Fleet Services division has evolved from an individual regionally based management structure to one where nationally Engen has direct contact with the end user, is constantly informed of account status via its regional offices, as well as electronic telecommunications platforms, which include an online ordering web portal and a dedicated customer-care call centre.
In an industry that insists on regular face-to-face contact with executive-level personnel from supplier organisations, Engen goes to great lengths to streamline its communications network, constantly improving and upgrading technology systems and empowering its personnel with ongoing product and customer-care training, allowing top management the time to conduct value add customer visits.
“Engen is a leader within the fleet market in South Africa because we make it our duty to really understand the unique requirements of each and every one of our customers. We conduct regular visits to their premises, host executive forums and essentially speak the language of the commercial transporter,” adds Bassett.
Caring for drivers
With the trucking industry as price sensitive as it is, Engen prides itself on its value-added services, rather than focussing only on preferential prices, says Bassett: “We strive to keep our fleet customers as cost-efficient as possible, which includes offering competitive prices, advice on asset management, assistance with vehicle warranty claims where necessary, providing on-road rest facilities for drivers and providing them with efficient and safe electronic payment options,” Bassett continues.
With 12 dedicated truck-stops nationwide, backed by a dedicated support department, Engen has the biggest and most user-friendly “driver hospitality” network in the country.
“Healthy, well-rested and happy drivers are the backbone of the commercial transport industry and Engen is constantly upgrading its truck-stop facilities to ensure drivers get the necessary nourishment and leisure while conducting long-haul duty. Our ablution facilities are top-notch and our restaurants and take-away kitchens provide meals that suit the requirements of our customers. Television sets and pool tables, along with secure and safe parking are standard features at all Engen truck-stops, helping drivers enjoy a true ‘home away from home’ experience,” says Bassett.
Promoting driver health is another important area where Engen leads the way, conducting regular programmes to educate drivers on HIV/Aids, as well as tests for vision impairment, high blood pressure and diabetes. “These interventions are helping raise levels of driver awareness and fitness in the trucking industry, making them safer on the road and helping curtail the impact of HIV on the national driver pool,” states Bassett.
The price of diesel and diesel theft/fraud are top-of-mind issues for most fleet operators and Engen has pioneered methods of controlling both fuel costs and its procurement for fleet customers.
“The Engen Diesel Club (EDC) was first launched in the 1980s, specifically designed to create a fuel management and control solution for fleet managers, combating fuel theft and fraud, supplying accurate and timely fleet reports and ultimately helping lower fuel costs,” Bassett says.
EDC provides its clients with two individual solutions, the EDC swipe card, which facilitates cashless refuelling, and eFuel, an electronic fuel dispensing system that combats fraud and offers fleet managers complete control over their vehicles. Both the EDC Mag stripe card and eFuel Tag provide a simple and secure cashless refuelling solution that is available 24/7, backed by comprehensive reporting functionality.
“EDC is also serviced by a toll-free number to handle customer and supplier queries and is equipped with a stolen card ‘hotlist’ which is effectively reducing fuel card fraud. It really is a proven ‘peace-of-mind’ solution to the ongoing problems facing diesel cost control,” explains Bassett.
The past year has seen Engen’s Fleet Services division grow its customer base to include leading corporate and private fleets: “We can afford to be selective when it comes to signing new contracts. We look for reputable, professional operations that are sustainable. Engen invests huge capital in its own resources and assists operations that do the same. Success breeds success,” concludes Bassett.