DCLI Chassis Fleet Upgrades Driven by a Focus on Sustainability
In today’s business climate, one theme that seems to be pervasive across industries is that businesses are beginning to focus more and more on sustainability. As an example, in a recent survey conducted on behalf of DCLI, 52% of motor carrier respondents said that sustainability issues are a focus of their companies and the presence of sustainability programs are part of their and/or their customers’ consideration set when selecting a vendor or service provider.
DCLI has a strong focus on sustainability initiatives. This sustainability focus is one of the drivers behind DCLI’s radial tire and LED light conversion programs. While chassis upgrade programs are oftentimes presented as improving equipment performance, reliability, and driver safety – all of which are welcome outcomes of DCLI’s program – such program’s sustainability benefits have been overlooked by many IEPs. “Thinking and acting in a sustainable manner means that one has to appreciate being on a continuous journey,” said Lee Newitt, president and CFO of DCLI. “Converting our fleet to radial tires and LED lights is an important and ongoing part of our journey.”
Viewed through a sustainability lens, DCLI’s radial tire conversion program had produced several environmental benefits. Since the program began in 2014, DCLI has converted over 14,000 existing chassis to radials and has purchased over 7,200 new pieces of equipment outfitted with radials. According to DCLI’s M&R records, using radial tires on a chassis produces two fewer tire changes per chassis per year. This means that DCLI is positioned to save over 60,000 tires per year – a significant reduction in waste. In addition, driving on radial tires helps truckers save on fuel and, thus, cuts down on emissions. Better fuel efficiency attributable to radial tires has been a benefit touted since their introduction in the automotive industry back in the 1970s. Research from that period provided estimates ranging from a 7-10% reduction in fuel consumption to an improvement of 1-2 miles per gallon, depending on the weight and speed of the vehicle.
DCLI’s conversion program from incandescent to longer-lasting LED lights, which began two years ago, is also showing sustainability benefits. DCLI’s average fleet chassis has three markers and two tail lights replaced annually. That translates to an average of a two-year lifespan for incandescent markers and 1.5-year lifespan for incandescent tail lights. Barring breakage and theft, LED lights are rated for a 100,000-hour life expectancy. That translates to roughly 11.5 years of usage or approx. 5-7 times the life expectancy of an incandescent lamp. Multiplying that longer life-expectancy across DCLI’s fleet will have a significant impact on waste reduction.
“Our goal is to convert our entire fleet to radial tires and LED lights not only to capture the sustainability benefits but also to offer truckers a more reliable and safer piece of equipment,” said Ron Joseph, senior vice president and COO of DCLI. “These programs increase our customers efficiency and help them better satisfy their customers’ demands – the impact is compounded all along the supply chain.”