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Farm Trans & Sustainability: Interview with Jan-Marijn Vink – Head Analyse and Control Department

“The power of curiosity”
23 | 08 | 2023

What is the Analyse and Control department’s role within Farm Trans?
‘Efficient transport is the essence of our business. We need to plan well, have a good overview of all our jobs and keep track of our trucks’ locations at all times. The Analyse and Control department helps Farm Trans gain insight into those processes. For instance, the on-board computers on our trucks collect every detail of our rides. They tell us what happened minute by minute. That data helps us identify where we’re performing well and where we can improve. Of course, this is just a simple example. Anyone in our company can ask us a question and we’ll collect the data to get them an answer. We also try to proactively provide useful information to departments. Sometimes a department might assume their performance is optimal, but our data will show there’s still significant room for improvement. That might not always be fun, but it’s definitely always helpful.’

What data is most useful in making transport more sustainable?
‘Ten years ago, sustainability would evoke an image of a truck emitting a big black smoke plume. But on its own, fuel consumption is not the most useful data to optimise sustainable performance. How much fuel a truck uses on a ride depends on many factors you have no influence over, such as the weather. It’s better to focus on things we can control. For example, our drivers can significantly reduce fuel usage through their driving behaviour, which we can both measure and improve. Load factor is another important aspect. You don’t want trucks to be driving around empty. You want them to be fully loaded and drive to their destination as efficiently as possible. If a truck drives from point A to point B, ideally you would want another client close to point B, allowing our truck to pick up its next shipment straight away. We have heat maps that show us where we deliver most often. If we focus on finding new clients in those areas, that helps both us and our clients to reduce carbon emissions.‘

Are there any pitfalls to be avoided in using data to improve sustainability?
‘Greater efficiency is beneficial for everyone, the environment included. But you have to be in it for the long haul. You have to be consistent, every single day. The more data we collect, the better we become at forecasting. Of course, unforeseen circumstances can always throw off even the best laid plans. But the more factors you take into account up front, the bigger your chance of success.’