Being the home carrier for DuPont and ConocoPhillips, safety, efficiency and customer service are the cornerstones of Sentinel Transportation’s business philosophy. “We are specialized in hauling hazardous materials, where any incident is one too many,” says Sentinel Vice President Orville White, responsible for fleet maintenance management and safety. “Sentinel therefore makes use of the best available equipment, skilled and regularly trained drivers and mechanics, as well as the most modern safety systems and devices, including for instance, in cab monitoring systems,” White underlines. Recently the company purchased the first Greensight acoustic active reverse warning and backup camera systems from the Dutch Groeneveld Group. Sentinel already purchases automatic greasing systems for its fleet, which currently is comprised of 430 trucks and tractors and 1,200 trailers of various types.
‘Safety first’ is not a buzz word for Sentinel. On the contrary, the company is obsessed by safety and does everything possible to avoid accidents. As a result Sentinel Transportation has one of the lowest crash rates in the number of crashes per million miles in the FMCSA statistics; despite covering 33 million miles per year and employing 700 people, of which 630 are drivers. Based on the philosophy that you have to do whatever is possible to reduce risk and avoid accidents, the 100% Kenworth fleet is equipped with the latest safety devises. The latest safety devices being installed are Groeneveld Greensight systems, providing an ultrasonic acoustic alarm in the cab when the vehicle is approaching an object or person while in reverse. The system is enhanced with camera’s. The combination of the acoustic system with the camera at the back of the trailer and a display in the cab, offers Sentinel’s drivers maximum safety when manoeuvring backwards.
Efficiency and uptime
In addition to safety performance, customer service and cost effectiveness and efficiency are critical success factors for Sentinel as well. Uptime is key, as is vehicle availability. White knows the cost of operating the fleet, and that uptime in units expected to operate every day is critical to managing those costs. “Our vision is to be preferred by our customers, valued by our employees and respected by the trucking industry; but it all has to go hand in hand with safety, service and cost performance,” says White. This is where Groeneveld comes in. The company is specialized in active safety systems, Oilmaster oil management systems and automatic greasing systems. White is a true fan of the latter: “With over 400 trucks and 1,200 trailers spread out over 70 + locations, consistent service is a challenge. If you do not grease properly, it breaks down. Whether it is the king-pins, leaf spring pins or the steering mechanisms, if you don’t grease it, sooner or later it breaks down prematurely. Don’t count on the drivers getting into the shop regularly for regular PM and greasing of their equipment every two weeks or other scheduled PM. Not to mention the time it takes to grease a complete combination every 2,500 to 3,000 miles in off road service. And we haven’t replaced a single king pin from premature failure since 2005 as result of Groeneveld’s automatic greasing system.”
Sentinel was also one of the forerunners in North America applying Groeneveld’s Oilmaster oil management system. The Oilmaster, of which Sentinel has installed more than a hundred, automatically tops off the engine oil when needed. “We started to install Oilmasters two years ago and I can only be positive about the system,” White declares.
“Many large US fleets are using Groeneveld Automatic Greasing systems for the same reasons as Sentinel: enhancing uptime and reducing operational costs. And that’s what it is all about in todays’ transportation business,“ says Kees Wapenaar, Fleet Sales Manager for Groeneveld in the United States for more than twenty years and a well-known senior advisor for lubrication solutions throughout the States. “With over 30 lube points on the tractor and 12 or more on the trailer as well, American trucks still require a lot of greasing. When doing that manually, it simply costs a lot of time, while it is also no real fun to do. It is amazing that there are still so many trucks and trailers being greased manually, whilst there is a state-of-the-art solution for doing it automatically,” concludes Wapenaar, while White can only agree.