More than a thousand trucks carrying products of cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines,Inc. are out on the country’s roads every day. This makes logistics a key part of the company’s business impacting its ability to provide reliable supply to customers and manage costs.
Holcim Philippines has implemented a number of improvement initiatives for logistics operations. Among the most successful is a program designed to strengthen safety in logistics.
Edwin Villas, Holcim Philippines Senior Vice President for Logistics said the company’s focus on road safety is part of an overall effort to have excellent logistics operations.
"Improving safety in logistics also leads to better business results as we reduce the risk of delivery delays due to poorly maintained vehicles or accidents with our transportation partners," Villas added.
The comprehensive program requires transporters to meet strict standards for roadworthiness and maintenance for trucks. Holcim Philippines also conducts route assessments to identify hazards and advises drivers on precautionary measures. A debriefing and coaching session is held after each trip. Safe drivers are rewarded, while unsafe ones are helped to improve. The company holds monthly meeting with its transport partners to discuss safety performance.
In addition, Holcim Philippines, with the support of the LafargeHolcim Group, has introduced digitalization to drive improvements. The performance of fleets and drivers are tracked through In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS), a device which measures driving behavior such as speeding, harsh braking, and fatigue. Information from IVMS is fed into the company’s Transport Analytics Centre (TAC), which crunches the numbers to optimize routes for improvements in safety, customer service, and efficiency.
Another important component of Holcim Philippines’ logistics safety efforts is a driver training program launched five years ago, when the company became the anchor client of the country’s first truck driver academy operated by TDC-Uyeno, a joint venture between logistics companies Transnational Diversified Group and Japan’s Uyeno Yuso Ltd.
Since then, 907 drivers of transporters working with Holcim Philippines have completed the four-day driving course. The company did not let the pandemic stop the trainings with 257 people completing the course virtually last year.
The company’s focus on driver trainings is meant to address the lack of formal training for most drivers in the country, where it is common for trucks to be operated by former helpers who shifted to driving to earn more.
One such driver is Alex Villasfir, who learned about driving while working as a helper for his father. He has driven professionally for 14 years, but it was only in Holcim Philippines that he had a formal training.
“Malaki ang naitulong lalo na sa pagiging defensive at responsableng driver. Mas naintindihan ko yung mga sa safety rules sa kalsada. Yung mga maliliit na sasakyan na singit ng singit pinapabayaan ko na. Mas doble ingat na kasi malaki yung dala namin (The trainings have been a big help in becoming a defensive and responsible driver. I understood better the safety rules on the road. Now I give way to smaller vehicles that want to pass me. I have to be more careful because I’m driving a bigger vehicle),” he said.
The increased focus on logistical excellence has led to positive results. In 2020, road transport incidents decreased by 60% compared to 2017. During the same period, the company's trucks covered nearly 18 million kilometers - the equivalent of traveling from the Philippines to the U.S. 1,369 times - without a single fatality. The company has also significantly reduced its logistics costs.
Richard Cruz, Holcim Philippines Vice President for Health, Safety, and Security said the company’s progress in improving logistics safety has been recognized by the LafargeHolcim Group. More importantly, it is helping make the country’s roads safer.
“Road accidents remain one of the leading causes of death in the country. We are proud to help address this challenge by following the best practices for transporting our goods and improving the skills of Filipino truck drivers,” he said.
Cruz added that there are plans to further improve logistics safety through enhancements to the driver rewards program and a mobile app to monitor driving performance.
“This is part of our overall commitment to health and safety in the company. We want to ensure that everyone involved in our business is able to go home safely after work. Logistics is a key part of our business and it is only right that we ensure our partners are fully equipped to do their work safely,” he said.