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Australian food distribution company switches entire fleet to Allison fully automatic transmissions

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, September 2015. PFD Food Services, Australia’s largest privately-owned food distribution company, has decided to switch its entire fleet of distribution trucks from manual and automated manual (AMT) gearboxes to Allison fully automatic transmissions.

According to Steve Wright, national fleet manager for PFD, the move to Allison Automatics came after he drove an Allison-equipped truck at a customer drive event at the Australian Automotive Research Centre's Anglesea Proving Ground, the largest privately owned and independently operated automotive testing facility in Australia.

“I have to say I came away impressed with the new generation of Allison transmissions and realized they were a much better option for our operations than manuals or AMTs,” said Wright.

Wright’s hands-on experience convinced him that Allison fully automatic-equipped vehicles were easier to operate and required less training, a huge advantage given the increasing demand for drivers.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit skilled drivers,” said Wright. “So by providing Allison Automatics we do recruit with a truck that is easier to drive and requires less training is important.”
PFD operates a fleet of more than 650 trucks, mostly Isuzu, which handles distribution to more than 40,000 outlets across the country. PFD has recently ordered 20 new Isuzu FVD 1000s equipped with Allison 3000 SeriesTM fully automatic transmissions, some of which have already entered service.

Wright admits that his opinion of automatic trucks was colored by experiences with older automatics operating more than a decade ago. Since driving the latest Allison-equipped trucks, his opinion has changed. He believes the latest generation of Allison Automatics performs better than manuals and AMTs.

“I believe automatics are the way of the future in distribution work, not only because of the ease of use, but also because of the efficiency and safety advantages they deliver,” said Wright. “They are simply a smarter choice.”

PFD stands apart from many of its competitors because of its ability to develop and embrace new technologies. Not only does the company utilize the latest automatics and truck specifications, but also electronic trading systems for interfacing with food retailers and manufacturers.

Tracing its roots back to the 1860s when J. Hill and Son established the company as a fresh fish merchant, PFD has one of the largest privately-owned food service fleets in Australia. Each day trucks deliver between two and 10 tons of fresh, frozen and dry goods from a network of 61 branches. The company has aligned itself with many leaders in the food industry including Kraft, Nestle, d’Oro, Peters, McCains and Inghams Chickens.

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