Vehicle distributor Hyundai Automotive South Africa (HASA) will launch a driver training programme this year to upskill commercial vehicle drivers, of which the courier sector forms a major part.
HASA commercial vehicles director Wade Griffin says the initiative is applicable to larger and heavier trucks.
“The driver training programme will focus on maintenance checks, driver techniques, road safety and driver health. “A fatigued driver on the road is very dangerous and we hope to find ways to combat this through the training programme. “Drivers are key in the commercial sector as well as within the courier industry and greater effort should be made to upskill them,” he says, noting that “drivers are responsible for the vehicles they operate and the cargo they are transporting, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of rands”.
“Therefore, their health and safety are important to us and to our customers.
“We will perform [what is] more a preventive maintenance check to cut costs and ensure the safety of our customers’ drivers on the road, as well as teach them safe driving techniques through the programme,” says Griffin.
Meanwhile, he points out that the company will also focus on skills development within its commercial division to offer customers superior service.
Griffin adds that downtime is the biggest enemy of the courier industry. “The customer wants the best of all worlds, which includes maximum payload at the lowest cost.”
Griffin states that the South African courier industry is healthy and operators are doing well, which is important, because South Africa is heavily reliant on road transportation.
He adds that a major challenge in the courier industry is operating costs.
“There is not much we can do about fuel prices, but we can maintain our customers’ vehicles to ensure lower operating costs. “In doing so, we hope to improve the performance of our commercial division in terms of market growth and competition,” he says.
“Usually, when the economy is weak, compa- nies tend to cut costs, which has a knock-on effect in the form of fewer regular maintenance checks on vehicles. “HASA recommends that regular maintenance checks are done on trucks to increase their life span and, subsequently, to provide the opportunity for our customers to effectively service their clients,” Griffin concludes.