For those in critical care, or those fighting blood diseases, life and death depends on access to blood products. In Canada, 100,000 new donors are needed each year to replace those who no longer donate. Canadian Blood Services is the sole provider of blood to those in need in nearly every province in Canada.
“We collect about 800,000 units of blood each year around all provinces of Canada, excluding Quebec,” said Jean Landreville, Canadian Blood Services manager of warehousing and logistics planning.
In order to collect blood, the company relies heavily on its mobile fleet, which is made up of cargo vans, buses and Kenworth T370s. The vehicles are used to transport staff, and equipment to and from fixed and mobile donor centres. Refrigerated vans are used to transport blood back to the company’s operations sites. Canadian Blood Services typically deploys 15 to 20 mobile teams a day to communities throughout Canada. All told, they have 36 permanent collection sites and 14,000 donor centres.
As a non-profit organization, it is crucial for Canadian Blood Services to keep its vehicle costs low without sacrificing quality and reliability. To increase efficiency, the switch was made from lighter duty trucks to Kenworth T370s. The company needed a heavier duty truck that would be reliable, hold a better resale value and attract drivers. The Kenworth T370 single-axle trucks are equipped with the PACCAR PX-7 engine rated at 260 horsepower and the Allison automatic transmission.
“A lot of factors went into us deciding on the T370. Our company is unique in that our drivers do a lot more than drive, and recruiting can be difficult. A lot of our drivers work for us part time. Since we started adding Kenworths, our drivers take great pride in driving,” Landreville said. “The drivers love the T370s, and they’ve been very reliable for us. We wanted a truck that we could depend on; one that would also hold its value. We haven’t sold any Kenworths yet, they’re performing great. But when it does come time to sell, I know we will do well on resale. Our light duty trucks were well used and did not bring a large return at trade-in time.”
The organization’s first Kenworth T370s were purchased through Kenworth Truck Centres – Toronto in 2011, and Canadian Blood Services has continued to add a few T370s to its fleet each year. The company currently has 24 T370s in its fleet, which are all fitted with 26-foot reefer van bodies, kept at 10 to 25 degrees Celsius. The refrigeration is needed to keep medical supplies and equipment at optimum temperatures.
“Our mobile teams set up mobile donor centres in towns all over Canada,” said Landreville. “At the donor centres, it’s all hands-on-deck. Everyone plays a role in the operation, including truck drivers, who load, unload medical supplies and equipment from the trucks and help with administrative work on-site. Once teams return to the operations sites, we can turn the blood into a variety of blood products, including, platelets, red blood cells and plasma.”
On any given day, the organization’s mobile teams will depart for a mobile donor centre from one of their operations sites, located in most major cities. Most centres are within an hour’s drive, but some require trips of up to 400 kilometers. Since blood has a short shelf-life, it needs to be processed quickly. For Canadian Blood Services, it’s key that the collection process goes smoothly.
“Once blood is collected, it needs to be delivered to one of our operations sites within 24 hours,” said Landreville. “Having vehicles in our fleet we can depend on is vital to our operation. If we miss the window, not only do we waste the donor’s time, we waste their blood which can’t be used to help those who depend on it.”
The Kenworth T370s typically average 35,000 kilometers a year, with most of the kilometers being spent driving through towns and cities. For Canadian Blood Services, it’s an opportunity to advertise their company’s mission and encourage people to donate blood.
“The wraps on our trucks provide a highly visible space for our brand,” said Landreville. “Like most companies, a good image and brand recognition is everything. We wanted a truck that would represent our company well. Kenworth is a well-established company and it certainly has the image we were looking for.
“We took a lot of time researching what trucks we wanted to add to our company,” concluded Landreville. “The Kenworth T370 is doing everything we expected and more. They have been a great addition to our company, and we will continue to add more T370s in the future.”
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