A partnership between the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) and Spar Supermarket Group Western Cape to encourage slower driving has enabled the company to save 20% on its fuel bill over the last eight years. This initiative has also enabled the company to boast a record of approximately 15 million kilometres over the period without a single major crash.
The partnership was strengthened on Saturday, 6 August 2016, when Spar Western Cape and the DTPW Directorate: Road Safety Management jointly staged Spar’s provincial leg of the group’s Driver of the Year (DOTY) competition in Brackenfell. Donovan Wilson and Headman Tukela won the Articulated and the Rigged categories respectively. They will represent Spar Western Cape at the National Championship in KwaZulu-Natal later this year.
Solly Engelbrecht, Distribution Director of Spar Western Cape, said drivers had been convinced that, by driving more slowly they were able to reduce the per kilometre cost of operating a vehicle from 44 cents to 32. This helped the company to reduce its fuel bill by 20%. As an incentive to keep it up, Spar drivers are paid 30% of the cost of the fuel saved by driving more slowly.
“Through this approach we are saving fuel and have reduced major crashes and the costs associated with them significantly over the last eight years. This approach of responsible and slower driving has also resulted in a huge saving on maintenance and at the same time improved our public image. Our drivers are the company’s frontline ambassadors,” Engelbrecht said.
Colm Kenny of Spar Ireland attended the competition as part of a “look and learn” exchange. Spar South Africa recently acquired Spar Ireland and Spar Switzerland. Kenny said the slower driving approach is one thing that will definitely be introduced in Ireland once he gets back home.
DTPW Head of Department Jacqueline Gooch said she was pleased with the partnership and the Department would encourage others to learn from Spar’s experience. She said knowledge management and sharing information were important when it came to innovations at the Department.
Gooch said DTPW manages a provincial government fleet of 5 500 vehicles and that the safer, slower and responsible approach is something that the Department would keep encouraging all provincial government employees to do. “It is important to spread this message to all companies and to drivers of private vehicles too,” she said.
“Through this approach we as government, together with the private sector and public, can make our road safer, better together.”