Green Operations

Bringing Suppliers Together to Achieve Sustainability Goals

July 2012, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

Gregg Hodgdon, CAFM, director of fleet operations at Deli Express, is shown above left with Scott Bates, truck product manager for Thermo King, in front of the fleet’s new, fuel-efficient truck. 
Gregg Hodgdon, CAFM, director of fleet operations at Deli Express, is shown above left with Scott Bates, truck product manager for Thermo King, in front of the fleet’s new, fuel-efficient truck.

Using alternative fuels isn’t the only option for fleets seeking to go green. Minnesota-based Deli Express/E.A. Sween Company, a national food purveyor, chose to go a different route to achieve its goals of reduced fuel consumption and a smaller carbon footprint: improving on traditional fuel performance.

With the help of key suppliers, the company was able to develop a fuel-efficient, lightweight, and cost-effective truck without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

Tradition with a Twist
Deli Express boasts several Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX trucks in its fleet, with more on the way. The results of utilizing these new vehicles have exceeded the company’s highest expectations, according to Gregg Hodgdon, CAFM, director of fleet operations for Deli Express.

“These vehicles are demonstrating nearly 50-percent better fuel economy than the rest of our fleet and are emitting about 700 lbs. less carbon dioxide every month,” Hodgdon said. Over a 12-month period, the NPR ECO-MAX trucks will emit 4.2-tons less carbon dioxide.

Hodgdon has led E.A. Sween’s Deli Express fleet for the past 11 years, first as the fleet manager, and now as director of fleet operations. In this role, he oversees nationwide fleet operations for Deli Express’ private business distribution, as well as the consolidated 7-Eleven business.

“These results are proof that it is possible to improve a fleet’s carbon footprint through weight reduction and efficient technologies while still utilizing a traditional fuel source,” Hodgdon said.

An additional benefit: Deli Express drivers prefer the new trucks to their predecessors. “Our drivers love the NPR ECO-MAX,” Hodgdon said. “It’s closer to the ground, so they don’t have to stretch to get in and out. We love the design of the whole truck.”

Searching for a Solution
Hodgdon and Deli Express began their quest for a greener, more fuel-efficient truck that would not sacrifice performance, durability, or ergonomics more than two years ago. With the assistance of the company’s fleet management partner, ARI - Automotive Resources International, Hodgdon explored a variety of alternative technologies to determine which fuel type could work best for Deli Express.

“We realized that it was indeed possible to make a positive, sustainable change with traditional fuels,” according to Hodgdon. “But, it would require an innovative truck design that could significantly improve fuel economy without compromising the power, reliability, and convenience that Deli Express drivers demand.”

Introduced for 2011, the 12,000-lb. GVWR NPR ECO-MAX features Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC 3.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that generates 150 hp and 282 lb.-ft. of torque, more than enough, Hodgdon noted, “to move the driver, the daily cargo load, and the lightweight body without breaking a sweat.”

Like all current Isuzu trucks, the NPR ECO-MAX boasts a B-10 engine life rating of 310,000 miles, meaning that 90 percent of 4JJ1-TC engines will reach that mileage before requiring an overhaul.

As with the entire Isuzu truck lineup, the NPR ECO-MAX meets EPA 2010 and California Air Resources Board (CARB) HD-OBD emissions standards and is clean-idle certified in all 50 states. Isuzu medium-duty trucks also offer selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injection to reduce NOx emissions by 85 percent.

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