Diebel Spedition GmbH:
In time all of the time
The German firm Diebel works with the precision of a Swiss timepiece transporting swap body units and containers in the intermodal transportation sector. And given the tight turnaround times, reliable truck technology is an absolute must. Diebel has found exactly that in the DAF XF.
“I will only ever find good drivers if I have good trucks. And the XF is the best!”
Like a metronome, Michael Diebel has to be in time all of the time. He must keep the perfect tempo, the perfect rhythm, otherwise it will cost him dear. The director of Diebel Spedition runs a fleet of 300 trucks and 1,600 swap body containers. His biggest client is the package delivery company DPD, for whom Diebel has been looking after all long distance haulage since the company’s first years in business. This important position places a major burden of responsibility on Diebel in terms of quality, reliability and punctuality.
“We have 15-minute slots for our arrival times. If we don’t make a slot, the entire logistics process suffers delays. And that can result in hefty fines”, explains Diebel, who consequently has no room for unplanned downtime in his schedules. The precisely timed transport from hub to hub usually takes place at night to a myriad of destinations. The tempo is determined by the clients; they dictate when and which empty units or swap body containers must be delivered, when they need to be loaded, and when and to which depot the must then be transported. An extremely challenging logistical process that keeps 500 Diebel staff busy day and night at the head office in Kassel, and at the depots in Damme (Germany) and Vidreres (Spain).
Approx. 1,200 containers have to be transported from one location to another every single day. And not just in Germany but throughout Europe as well. A team of three planners is charged with the responsibility of coordinating everything from head office. “They’re a bit like the conductors of an orchestra”, says Susanne Hobert, workshop- and fleet manager, “except the instruments they get to work with are well-trained and highly motivated drivers and reliable trucks.” The first DAFs appeared at Diebel in 2014. After the introduction of the Euro 6 emissions regulations, the company went looking for vehicles with extremely reliable technology. It found them at DAF in the shape of the XF with its 11-litre 435 hp PACCAR MX-11 engines. This year will see the arrival of another one hundred trucks, fully fitted with a frame with twist locks and all the required electrics so that they can hit the road straight away. By the end of 2017 about half of the entire Diebel fleet will have the DAF badge on the grille.
The 6x2 trucks are fitted with everything a driver’s heart could desire. A fridge and stationary airco are standard and the list of comfort safety features and driver aids is impressive, to say the least: Predictive Cruise Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Control, Lane Departure Warning and AEBS – all are to be found in the trucks at Diebel. “I will only ever find good drivers if I have good trucks. And the XF is the best!” says Michael Diebel. The Super Space Cab cabins offer ample headroom, lots of comfort, a terrific bed with a sprung mattress and enough storage space for clothing and food for a seven-day journey.
As previously mentioned, the Diebel DAFs are fitted out in full at the factory, including frame, twistlocks and the entire electrical system. Diebel is particularly enthusiastic about the ECAS pneumatic suspension: “The increased pneumatic capacity means that the raising and lowering of the chassis goes a lot faster. And that is crucial, because our drivers often have to switch containers more than ten times a night.”
Michael Diebel was only 19 when he joined the management team at Diebel Spedition, a business started by his mother, Elke, in 1973 with a fleet consisting of one small delivery van. Today most of the vehicles in the fleet boast 400 to 450 hp. The 50-year-old Diebel is very fond of his DAFs: “On average, fuel consumption is around 30 litres per 100 kilometres at a GCW of 33 tons. Every tenth of a litre less fuel flows back in your wallet at the end of the day, given the millions of kilometres that we clock up each year.”
The DAFs at Diebel are also the most reliable trucks in the fleet. “On the road they are incredibly stable, they have the lowest rate of malfunction and they never suffer any unplanned downtime”, says fleet manager Susanne Hobert. And to keep things this smooth, the maintenance of the trucks is also carried out according to a steady rhythm: once every six months they are driven to the Diebel workshop in Kassel for the mandatory MOT and are fitted – if required – with new tyres and brakes. For the more complicated technical jobs, the trucks are sent to the DAF dealer in Kassel. “They are fast, flexible and professional, and able to find a solution to every problem”, says Hobert.
“And when they need more time I can always hire a truck from the PacLease fleet if needs be.”
The DAF importer also offers assistance when required. “When we were trying to decide on the best vehicle configuration they and the dealer were of enormous help thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the product”, says Diebel. In conclusion he adds: “If DAF are able to achieve the proposed 7% savings on fuel consumption at even higher power ratings with the new CF and XF, then the number of DAFs in our fleet is sure to rise.” ■
At Diebel, transport is all about people.