“CYY”, pronounced “SUU” in Mongolian, means “Milk”. And milk is a product that needs careful handling when transported as it could spoil when not kept right. Chief Exectutive Officer of “Milk” Joint Stock Company, Gantulga Bulgan, trusts FUSO trucks to handle his liquid products right. Since 1958 the company has been established under the then Russian rule. Today, some 70 milk products and milk powder are the main products of the company with cheeses as a potential next venture. Milk Joint Stock Company collects, processes and re-distributes their products all over Mongolia.
Some 3 000 distribution points, with 70 of them being own franchises, need to be re-supplied on a regular basis. Some of these are 1 000 Kilometres away from the factory in Ulaanbaatar and such a trip would take over a day. “Our product is a very sensitive one. In the past, we would purchase used trucks. However, we realised that there are a lot of problems with the storage and transportation as the cooling systems would not always work,” Bulgan says. In addition, when choosing a second-hand truck, there was no possibility to select a specific brand. One had to take what was offered. Eventually, the company ended up with a mix of about seven to eight different brands. “Obviously, this also meant that service and maintenance was very expensive as we would have to stock part for each of the brands.” In 2013, this situation lead to the decision to opt for new trucks from one brand instead of continuing with a truck lottery.
At that time, 28 Mitsubishi – Fuso trucks were acquired to service the distribution network. With the trucks came the service and maintenance package, which MSM Group also handled. “Our decision was based on the history of MSM Group. They have been the distributor for a long time. Other brands were not present here for as long as MSM Group has been.” Following additional research into the quality of the trucks, the decision was made for FUSO trucks. Since then, there have been no incidents that would have resulted in the loss of products. Bulgan is proud to report that following the purchase of the new trucks, not only breakdowns have been reduced, but sales has increased. With the new trucks, reliability went up and distribution partners have more confidence in the partner. “For dairy products, it is not just about transportation, for us it is about controlling the quality from the start of the process all the way to the delivery to the end customer,” he explains. Without reliable trucks, there will be a lot of losses during the operation.
Bulgan also reports that finding truck drivers at the moment is a challenge as many are flocking to the mining industry. The company is compensating this pull to a certain degree with the new trucks. In his view, the cabin of a truck is the workplace of the trucker and it has to be as comfortable and safe as possible. When asked about safety on the road, Bulgan points out that safety is a very important issue for truck drivers. “It is their life and they are very aware of that and as such, the drivers are very safety conscious.” In his opinion, business leaders should consider this aspect for their workers. Legislation stems from the Russian rule and is therefore very much influenced by western thinking. Through fleet management system, Milk Joint Company monitors the drivers in terms of speeding, fuel consumption and locations. Job satisfaction does not just derive from the increase in sales, but the fact that the trucks could well be the nicest looking trucks in town and distribution partners are looking forward to receiving their goods every morning.
Besides a driver shortage, bad road conditions pose a challenge for the operation. In some areas where the distribution takes place, there are no proper roads and upon return to the factory, the trucks might need a thorough check and some repairs. During winter time, cars may get stuck and truckers will lend a hand to make them mobile again. Fuel quality is another issue as the Russian supplied fuels are not of high quality. While available, Euro 5 engines are not used often as the fuel is not suitable to be used with these high-spec power plants.
Following the successful deployment of the first batch of new FUSO trucks, the company has set out to purchase another ten trucks this year. In 2019, one can expect another purchase as the company is expanding. This expansion takes place in both, the distribution of products as well as collection of raw products from the dairy farms. Some 2 500 farmers supply to the company with farms being 200 kilometres away from the city. Truckers servicing these farms are highly experienced with some being third generation drivers that have 40 years of experience.
Although there were few milk-based drinks served during the 20th Anniversary party, Bulgan had a great time, knowing that in the morning his distribution partners would be welcoming another delivery of Mongolian Milk, brought to them on FUSO Trucks.