Martin Cook, operations director of Horeca Trade, reveals the challenges of operating a multi temperature fleet across the Middle East.
The biggest challenge facing fleet managers is ensuring vehicles are well maintained and fit for the road. Any vehicle out of operation means costs can rise uncontrollably, making regular servicing and cleaning schedules on a daily basis of paramount importance. Operating a multi temperature fleet in the Middle East requires additional time and effort, as maintenance is not applicable solely to the vehicles, but also to the chillers and freezer units inside. The units need regular servicing, which is why we have teamed up with one of the top thermo king agents in Dubai.
Horeca Trade also believes it is essential to optimise planning of daily routes to ensure the vehicles' cumulative travel distance is kept to a minimum, something that also benefits the environment. Even cutting down on one or two kilometres a day can contribute to a safer environment by using less fuel.
As fleet manager, my primary duties are to ensure the safe working condition of the vehicles, ultimately ensuring that customer expectation is not just matched but exceeded.
I monitor the Customer Service Representatives (CSR) who must be completely focused on the condition of the roads, especially when entering prestigious five star hotels. These often constitute our delivery locations, many of which have very tight entrances and exits for our vehicles.
Whilst road conditions in the UAE have significantly improved, in particular through new highways that ease traffic flow, the amount of debris sprawled on roads has remained. Vehicles with inadequately secured loads are a problem that need to be addressed, namely through regular stops and checks from the appropriate authorities. Road safety needs to be brought more into the public eye, perhaps through a campaign on television and radio that both educates and raises awareness of the dangers on the open roads.