Tough competition on the eastern seaboard
Until the mid-1990s the company he runs, Wenzhou Yuanda Logistics Co. Ltd, was using exclusively Chinese-made trucks, and Zhang’s focus was on keeping down his costs and his prices. As competition on the lucrative 1,250km Wenzhou-Guangdong route along China’s eastern seaboard intensified, Zhang realised that he needed something besides price to set the company apart. He saw that what he needed was speed. Zhang’s solution was a relatively expensive one, but one that soon paid for itself. He is now able to run his trucks 24 hours a day, the Wenzhou-Guangdong route only taking 16 hours to drive; his fuel costs are reduced substantially; and his trucks’ working lives are several times longer than they were before.
The result is that although Yuanda is today not the biggest logistics company on the route, or have the biggest fleet, the firm does have something to boast about that is arguably more important. “We have achieved the highest efficiency and utilisation rates on this route,” says Zhang.
Taking safety seriously
Yuanda today has 22 Volvo trucks operating on the Wenzhou-Guangzhou route. Each has a team of three drivers who take it in turns behind the wheel, allowing for round-the-clock operation. The company uses an advanced GPS system to manage the performance of the trucks on the road. For the safety of both road users and goods, the system automatically sounds an alarm if the driver exceeds the speed limit. If, on the other hand, there is a delay, head quarters can advise on an alternative route.
Zhang became a firm supporter of Volvo Trucks after comparing them with Chinese-brand trucks. Of the Volvos currently operated by Yuanda, eight have already covered one million kilometres without having to be overhauled. Indeed, some have gone 1.5 million kilometres without an overhaul. “Chinese-brand trucks probably have to be scrapped after covering 500,000 km,” he says. “By contrast, Volvo trucks are of excellent quality; their reliability is very high.”