Based on its recent analysis of the commercial vehicle driver safety and convenience market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Hadley with the 2013 North America Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Leadership. Hadley's SmartValve offers unrivaled value to fleets by significantly increasing driver safety and comfort, reducing the time needed for drop-and-hook operations and improving fleet fuel economy. Using this innovative system, fleets can also limit driver shortages, enhance driver job satisfaction, and reduce injuries, therefore lowering insurance claims.
SmartValve is built upon the same platform as Hadley's well-established Smart Air Management System. Traditionally, electronic height control systems have had a separate sensor, electronic control unit (ECU) and valve manifold, and have required considerable space and labor for installation. SmartValve eliminates the need for either by integrating the sensor, electronics, and valve in a compact single device. It is also versatile, offering multiple lever lengths and orientations to cater to a wide range of tractor-trailer combinations.
"SmartValve can raise the tractor frame over ride height, reducing the effort needed by drivers to couple the trailers at many different ride heights," said Frost & Sullivan Analyst Saideep Sudhakar. "New hours-of-service regulations place a premium on drivers' time, so the product provides key value to fleets through superior utilization of time and effort."
SmartValve also makes more efficient use of the air supply, which decreases compressor run time. It provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) scope to design more aerodynamic tractors, which automatically lower vehicle ride heights at highway speeds. Hadley validated this technology with extensive SAE J1321 Type II Fuel Economy Testing. The results show a 0.7 percent improvement over the specific tractor model tested at low ride height. With new tractor designs, this can translate to an annual savings of $700 or more for every tractor in the fleet.
The raising and lowering of landing gear is one of the top reasons for injuries in trucking. Non-fatal injuries from this operation cost employers, on average, $11,880 per incident. With mechanical valves, the weight of the trailer fully rests on the landing gear, creating a need for strenuous cranking, which can ultimately result in back strains for the driver. It also leads to fatigue, as the driver has to frequently get in and out of the cab to set the coupling.
Hadley's SmartValve product is not only ergonomically designed, but also prevents damage to the landing gear by simply raising or lowering the tractor over the ride height when coupling the tractor and trailer. This eliminates repairs in the range of $850-875 per set. With SmartValve, drivers no longer have to struggle against the weight of the trailer, even if it is fully loaded.
"Given that driver shortages and injuries are the major challenges facing fleets, any product that improves driver productivity and reduces driver fatigue will be well received by the market," noted Sudhakar. "SmartValve brings additional value to the table by improving fuel efficiency and, thereby, offering an added advantage to fleets in today's volatile fuel environment."
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers. The award recognizes the company's focus on enhancing the value that its customers receive, beyond simply good customer service, leading to improved customer retention and, ultimately, customer base expansion.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
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