A Brand Extension
The company’s commitment to sustainable business practices is perhaps most notable in its decision to operate a modern and clean fleet of vehicles. “Ensuring our product stays fresh, and to avoid breakdowns, we need to have state-of-the art equipment,” Evans says. “We are a part of our community and we want every part of our company to contribute positively—that is why we keep our trucks clean and invest in green technologies.
“We’re not bottom-line driven,” Evans points out. “We have a pay ratio of 4:1, top to bottom. What we’re looking to do is consider what is most beneficial in the long term. We have found that responsibility does yield savings over time, but it’s necessary to take a long view.
“Partially because of the pay scale, and partially due to the modern equipment, drivers tend to remain with Veritable Vegetable,” Evans says.
On the fleet itself, which travels more than 1.75 million miles annually, Veritable Vegetable is proof positive that size does not matter. The company operates a mix of vehicles, from Sprinter vans toM2s, 385, 386, and 378 models, T660s, and six Kenworth hybrids.
Fleet transportation systems manager Tom Howard and Adams are focused on the long term, seeking to maximize every tenth of a mile per gallon. According to Howard, a Kenworth T370 hybrid truck is saving the company about 215 gals. per month. “I figure that one truck is saving us $900 per month,” Howard says, when compared to a non-hybrid unit. Kenworth T270 hybrid straight trucks reduce fuel consumption by about 58 gals. per 1,000 mi. run with the average VV straight truck covering 60,000 mi./year. The T370 tractors save about 36 gals. per 1,000 mi., although they offer a slightly longer payback period as they travel about half the annual miles of the straight trucks.
“The 24-ft. straight trucks are getting much better mileage than their predecessors,” Howard notes, pointing out that the vehicles are achieving 9 mpg vs. just 7.2 mpg for their non-hybrid predecessors.
Howard says the average hybrid costs the fleet about $37,000 more than a traditional diesel-only vehicle, but between grants and tax credits that Veritable Vegetable has been awarded and out-of-pocket fuel savings, a return on investment could be realized just two years after the purchase of each vehicle.
“It’s gratifying to see such a well-run organization, dedicated to distributing organically grown food, being recognized for its commitment to an environmentally sustainable operation,” says Gary Moore, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president. “They practice what they preach and we’re proud of the role that the company’s Kenworth hybrids have played in their environmental stewardship.”