FSGB chief cautions against an ‘electric revolution’ for fleets in 2020

Pundits across the global motor industry are championing electric vehicles claiming that 2020 will be a watershed year for plug-in technology.

But, Geoffrey Bray, executive chairman of Fleet Service Great Britain, believes that amid continuing political and economic uncertainty, fleets will be reluctant to ditch established petrol and diesel powertrains.

Below, he outlines his 2020 thoughts on the internal combustion engine versus plug-in vehicle debate. 

“Fleet operations are invariably the second largest figure in the expenditure column – after employees – for many business.

“What’s more in times of uncertainty – and that will continue in 2020 as the issues surrounding the country, notably Brexit, will not be resolved overnight by the newly elected Government – boards of directors invariably maintain the status quo.

“Pundits across the UK fleet market are championing 2020 as a potential watershed for plug-in vehicles with demand soaring, particularly due to company car benefit-in-kind tax rates on 100% zero emission models falling from 16% to 0% in 2020/21 and then rising to just 1% and 2% respectively in the following two financial years.

“However, despite politicians talking about a ‘climate emergency’, the challenges facing the UK are so enormous that it would take a brave fleet decision-maker and board of directors to plunge headlong into embracing plug-in vehicles.

“The electric vehicle market is embryonic. That is, in part, due to limited model ranges and lengthy manufacturer lead times for those that are available. However, it is often forgotten that electric vehicle battery technology is continuing to evolve and that means vehicle range is improving all the time.

“When businesses make significant investments they do so having, invariably, undertaken a root and branch review and concluded any risk is extremely limited and outweighed by the benefits. This is what pundits are forgetting in their rush to encourage fleets to embrace the electric vehicle revolution.

“The ‘big issue’ for me is residual value uncertainty. In recent years we have seen prices for used electric cars improve. But as new and facelifted models with enhanced batteries and therefore a higher mileage range are launched, residual values on ‘old’ models will plummet.

“In turn that means outright purchase fleets are exposed to a lower than forecast return on their investment. Similarly, contract hire and leasing companies will be just as exposed but are likely to turn to so-called ‘rate creep’ over a period of time in respect of monthly rentals to reduce their cash losses.

“As a businessman of almost 60 years standing – and still learning – the natural inclination amid times of uncertainty is caution.

“There remains other unanswered questions around electric vehicles – chargepoint infrastructure and multiple payment methods are two – so with residual values and therefore whole life cost uncertainty those chasing the electric dream in 2020 are likely to be disappointed.

“Conventional petrol and diesel vehicles will still enjoy dominance in 2020 compared to electric vehicles, in my opinion.”

Predictive vehicle maintenance solutions business-critical in 2020 to maintain ‘acceptable’ fleet downtime

Fleet chiefs have been warned that maintaining vehicle downtime at ‘acceptable levels’ will be a major challenge in 2020 with workshop capacity under pressure and increasing vehicle complexity proving to be a challenge for technicians.

The warning comes from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) in its ‘Industry Outlook 2020’ report, which outlines how the fleet industry will be “rewired” over the next 12 months with ‘connected, electrified and digitised’ summing up the transitioning of the sector.

As new technologies revolutionise the fleet industry, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney concluded: “Our sector is in for a bumpy ride in 2020.”

Conversely the importance of managing vehicle downtime would, suggested the report, drive demand for predictive fleet maintenance solutions, which is one of the major reasons why Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) has developed its range of web-enabled, client-bespoke dashboards under its “inspire fleets to Achieve better” strapline.

The dashboards include Achieve Maintenance Management, which enables fleet decision-makers to drill down into the minutiae of vehicle pence per mile costs and vehicle servicing and maintenance data providing in-depth trend and predictive analysis and aiding compliance.

The BVRLA report said that the aftermarket was already “struggling” to keep pace with new technology including software driven parts and sensors meaning that workshops were having to spend more investment on equipment and technician training.

The report continued: “Manufacturers are not helping the situation because many of the latest vehicle repair methods are developed digitally rather than physically. What works on CAD (computer aided design) doesn’t always translate to the repair bay.”

As well as tooling up, the number of technicians trained to work with the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and on electric and hybrid powertrains was limited.

The report, compiled based on the views of 20 industry leaders, said: “Most of our respondents said that repair and maintenance networks were keeping on top of the situation for the moment, but that the strain could grow as the new technology becomes the norm.”

Furthermore, said the report, the transition could not be happening at a “worse” time with dealerships closing and workshop capacity continuing to shrink as fleet vehicle contract extensions remained high meaning cars and vans required more maintenance and consequently spent additional time in garages.

Therefore, the report concludes: “Maintaining fleet downtime at acceptable levels, particularly during seasonal peaks for crashes and breakdowns, will be a major challenge in 2020.”

The report is available at: https://www.bvrla.co.uk/uploads/assets/7cfa334c-9ea2-4073-8464d2131df2070f/BVRLA-Industry-Outlook-2020-Report.pdf

Stop press… Stop press… Stop press: Visit Fleet Service GB stand at Fleet Live

Fleet Service GB is exhibiting at Fleet Live taking place on October 8 and 9 at the NEC, Birmingham.

The company will be at stand H16 in the show’s Commercial Fleet Zone where Geoffrey Bray (executive chairman), Marcus Bray (head of sales) and the team will be on hand to talk to customers and prospects.

To register to attend the event, organised by trade publication Fleet News, go to: https://www.fleet-live.co.uk/online-registration.

Visit us at Fleet Live this October!

Fleet Service GB will be exhibiting at Fleet Live, in Birmingham at the NEC.

Join Marcus, Geoffrey and members of our team on October 8th and 9th, at stand H16 in the Commercial Fleet Zone.

We will be showcasing our family of Achieve driver and vehicle management services, so come along, discuss your fleet needs and discover what Fleet Service GB has to offer you.

Fleet Live is a free event, just register your attendance here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Employee communication allied to the use of technology is at the heart of driver management best practice, says Fleet Service GB

Poor employee communication equals poor policy equals poor outcomes is the verdict of Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) executive chairman Geoffrey Bray (pictured).

It’s a view shared by the Chartered Institute of Personal and Development (CIPD), which says in a paper published earlier this year: “Employee communication is an essential part of business.

“Effective internal communication is important for developing trust within an organisation and is shown to have significant impact on employee engagement, organisational culture and, ultimately, productivity.”

Yet CIPD research suggests that many employees feel they receive limited or very little information.

Managing the vehicle, driver and journey is the raison d’etre of Fleet Service GB through its suite of industry-leading Achieve-branded solutions: Maintenance Management, Crash Management, Driver Management, Management Services, Fleet Manager and Fleet Service Partnership.

Achieve Driver Management is at the core of the technology-based menu of programmes as it pro-actively measures individual driver performance awarding points based on a raft of measures including motoring offences and number and type of crashes.

Simultaneously, drivers can improve their record through a range of best practice parameters including completing online ‘how to’ e-learning programmes

The Achieve Driver Management dashboard identifies which employees have authority to drive, driver-influenced vehicle costs – including maintenance bills and tyre usage – and a company’s best and worst drivers using a number of key intelligent parameters including: points.

Meanwhile, the closely-related driver app embraces a wide range of features including notifications, prompts, reminders and alerts; the ability to arrange bookings for servicing, maintenance and repairs, including tyres; a facility to report an incident or breakdown; a facility to upload images, capturing incident and/or vehicle condition; and the ability to update vehicle mileage in real-time.

The driver app provides employees with the facility to communicate with Fleet Service GB by phone, email and text.

Mr Bray said: “Driver influenced costs are the single biggest drain on fleet budgets. Effective communication underpinned by technology has a critical role to play in reducing those costs with drivers a key part of the solution.

“Additionally, disciplined driver performance is crucial to managing work-related road risk and ensuring compliance. The uniqueness of Achieve is that it continuously records and measures both individual driver compliance and performance via a points process to compile a real-time driver history taking into account all key data to produce a ‘drive safe, stay safe’ employee mentality.”

He continued: “Driver engagement, in my experience, is one of the biggest issues faced by companies. Too often there is an assumption that all an organisation has to do is issue a company car or van handbook and drivers’ will read it and know exactly what they should be doing.

“That is simply not the case. Over a 50-year career in fleet I’ve seen, and continue to see, how vehicle-related problems have occurred simply because fleet decision-makers have failed to communicate properly with drivers. That then has a direct impact on business efficiency and fleet costs.

“In today’s hi-tech age there is no excuse not to have an interactive driver communications strategy that will enhance the efficiency of the fleet. I’m aware, for example of one major fleet that records its own one minute videos on key fleet issues and sends them to all drivers.

“Additionally, drivers are a fleet manager’s eyes and ears on the road. In terms of the choice of vehicles and their features, the way a vehicle performs in-life and interaction with frontline suppliers such as fleet management companies and garages, drivers’ views should be actively obtained and taken into consideration when reviewing and potential changing policies.

“Too often fleet decision-makers sit in their own bubble and fail to embrace drivers’ views. Fleet decision-makers that fail to involve drivers in the decision-making process cannot possibly know what the day-to-day operational impact of any decisions may be.

“In a large organisation it may not be possible to engage individually with every single driver. However, drivers’ representative groups can be formed and all employees should feel that they can at least communicate by telephone or email with the fleet manager and their views will at the very least be listened to.

“For example, the driver handbook may recommend that vehicle tyres are checked monthly. But having conveyed that policy, how does a fleet manager know that checks are being undertaken as required? There may be a requirement, for example, to circulate video reminders or introduce a third party to undertake checks. Simply to communicate a policy once via handbook and expect it to be religiously carried out is a far too simplistic approach.”

The CIPD says: “Effective communication is a vital part of developing transparency in organisations. Clear and consistent internal messaging is also needed as the nature of organisations and their workforces continues to change, driven by factors including technology.

“Good employee communication will help people to understand their organisation’s purpose and strategy, identify with the organisation’s values, and develop a sense of belonging by understanding how their role contributes to the wider purpose. Workers are more likely to contribute more and feel committed if there’s a culture of open communication.”

Importantly, adds the CIPD: “Rather than being a ‘top down’ exercise, there needs to be two-way and multi-directional dialogue, so that people have meaningful opportunities to feed their views upwards and discuss them with colleagues. This is central to developing more effective and agile organisations, through innovation and responding to operational issues.”

The CIPD’s ‘Employee Communication’ factsheet can be viewed at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/communication/factsheet#15763

New case study published: Sleepless nights put to bed as LiveWest utilises integrated Fleet Service GB technology

“I now have fewer sleepless nights than I did six months ago”. So says Paul Ayris, fleet manager at LiveWest, following implementation of Fleet Service Great Britain’s (Fleet Service GB) Achieve-branded programme of services.

Critically that includes Achieve Driver Management, a comprehensive online real-time and fully integrated safe driving programme that measures driver performance, and the closely related driver app.

LiveWest’s business partnership with Fleet Service GB began in August 2018 with a pilot programme, but in April 2019 the housing association outsourced the management of its entire fleet of 317 light commercial vehicles to the organisation, which has now published a case study on the actions implemented and the results. The case study can be read here.

Getting the van drivers ‘on side’ was a key issue for LiveWest and their willingness to respond was underpinned by a record four-week sign-up to the Achieve Driver Management initiative.

Mr Ayris said: “I have been impressed by Fleet Service GB’s ability to listen to what we required and deliver solutions. One of the key reasons for engaging with the company was asking myself the question ‘what keeps me awake at night’?

“I now have considerable fewer sleepless night than I did before partnering with Fleet Service GB.

“When I switch my laptop on and open my Fleet Service GB portal I am effectively opening my fleet office. A snap shot overview is accessible 24/7 meaning that I can see the picture of the fleet spread across six counties at any moment in time.

“LiveWest now has a fully auditable vehicle and driver management system and we are doing as much as we can in terms of managing those assets and the business-related journeys they make. We are on top of managing the fleet.”

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “Fleet management is all about continuous improvement and that is what LiveWest is focused on. The task does not standstill and is never complete, but having implemented a robust strategy it requires constant review and change for many reasons, not least due to business change and legislation.”

Fleet Service GB case studies on clients National Milk Records Group, Stannah and VPS Group are also available.

Fleet Service GB achieves 325-vehicle LIVEWEST outsourcing contract win

Pro-active fleet and driver management embracing industry-leading online technology analysing data that measures the performance of both in real-time has enabled Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) to win a sole supply outsourcing contract with LiveWest, the largest provider of affordable homes in the south west of England.

The fast-growing housing association, based in Exeter, has around 36,000 homes and operates a fleet of 325 outright purchase diesel vans on a five-year/100,000-mile replacement cycle. Vauxhall dominated, the workhorse of the fleet is the Vivaro with the Combo also present alongside around 40 Ford Transit models.

The fleet, which is set to expand as LiveWest aims to develop more than 16,000 new homes over the next 10 years, includes 50 car-derived vans driven by supervisors, surveyors and housing officers with the remainder driven by a wide range of skilled tradesmen including carpenters, electricians, plumbers and plasterers.

The fleet management contract that embraces Fleet Service GB’s Achieve-branded programme of services including Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as its garage network, Achieve Fleet Service Partnership, was awarded following a nine-month pilot scheme involving 40 vans located at LiveWest’s Taunton depot.

Paul Ayris, LiveWest’s fleet manager, said: “During the pilot we were very impressed with Fleet Service GB’s performance and the company’s ‘can do’ attitude. The company and its staff were a breath of fresh air.”

LiveWest went out to tender with Fleet Service GB winning a two-year contract plus a one-year option against three more shortlisted suppliers.

Intelligent integrated solutions using a combination of online dashboards and a driver app delivering real-time critical headline data on vehicles and drivers to the fingertips of fleet managers providing the ability to drill down into the minutiae of operations is at the heart of Fleet Service GB’s service solution.

Within an unprecedented four weeks of the contract going live, all drivers – the housing association operates on a ‘one van, one employee’ basis – had enrolled on the Achieve Driver Management programme that pro-actively measures a driver’s performance and awards points against a wide range of parameters including points on driving licences and number and type of crashes.

The driver app was pre-loaded on to each drivers’ tablet to make enrolment straightforward. It embraces a wide range of features including notifications, prompts, reminders and alerts; the ability to arrange bookings for servicing, maintenance and repairs, including tyres; a facility to report an incident or breakdown; a facility to upload images, capturing incident and/or vehicle condition; and the ability to update vehicle mileage in real-time. Additionally, LiveWest’s bespoke check sheet for vehicle condition reporting was uploaded.

Mr Ayris said: “During the pilot employees were very receptive to the driver app and everything that we were doing around fleet and accident management. Having awarded the contract the first thing I wanted to do was to roll out the Achieve Driver Management programme across all drivers.

“LiveWest holds monthly ‘toolbox talks’ for all teams and I attended each one to tell drivers about Fleet Service GB and the initiatives the business was taking with regards to compliance and their safety.

“The transparency of the Achieve Driver Management programme means that points gained by a driver for a misdemeanour can be removed by completing e-learner programmes. Drivers are rewarded for good performance under the initiative, which is very well accepted by drivers.”

He added: “Some of our employees spend up to 25% of their working day driving because of the size of the area that LiveWest covers, but they are not professional drivers. However, they now recognise that driving is a major and potentially risky part of their job and accept that it is important for the business to implement processes to manage that risk.”

All LiveWest vans are equipped with telematics and the next stage of the programme will see data collected via the in-vehicle devices fed into the Achieve Driver Management programme to further improve vehicle and driver performance management.

Mr Ayris said: “The business partnership between LiveWest and Fleet Service GB has started very well and builds on a successful pilot. The new initiatives that have been introduced have been well received across the business – by management and drivers.”

Marcus Bray, Fleet Service GB’s head of sales, said: “We work closely with individual clients to understand their requirement and to tailor the service ultimately delivered. Technology is important, but so is personal service to deliver a first class experience and ensuring customer parameter compliance.

“We tracked LiveWest for a long-time prior to contract win. With our industry-leading online dashboards delivering real-time critical headline data on vehicles and drivers in addition to the driver app we believed that the performance management tools could be a deal-winning game-changer and so it has proved. Fleet Service GB is using technology allied to personal service to take fleet and driver management expertise to a new level to the benefit of customers.”

FSGB delivers fleet maintenance cost budget stability for NMR

National Milk Records (NMR) has benefited from a near 10% cut in fleet maintenance costs in the past three-and-a-half-years after outsourcing management responsibility.

Chippenham-headquartered NMR became one of the first customers of Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) and consistent and robust management of maintenance costs across the fleet have ensured operating budgets have been kept in check.

Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) cost analysis of the NMR fleet in the 43 months to the end of January 2019 under Fleet Service GB’s management reveal that the annual cost of keeping vehicles on the road reduced by £4,544 (9.4%) to £43,480.50.

Over the period under review SMR costs, despite the impact of inflation, have remained remarkably static with a £5.93 pound per saving per vehicle (1%) with the cost per annum per vehicle reducing from £585.67 to £579.74. Over the period key pence per mile costs have reduced from 2.86p to 2.76p (3.5%), reflecting a “well established travel working pattern”.

The average age of vehicles was maintained at 31 months in the months bookending the review period – although it peaked at an average 40 months in December 2016. Additionally, the average age of vehicles in miles was little changed – 53,015 miles in July 2015 and 52,569 miles in January 2019 – although it did peak at more than 65,500 miles in January 2017.

NMR is the leading supplier of dairy and livestock services to the UK dairy supply chain and Tracey Firth, senior administrator (pictured) who is in charge of the fleet, which currently numbers 75 company cars and vans and has reduced from 82 units in 2015 when Fleet Service GB took on management responsibility, said: “It is very gratifying to know that fleet operating costs are so stable.

“As a business we have been hugely focused over many years on ensuring the safety of our drivers and limiting their exposure to risk when on the road. That focus has translated into SMR cost savings and the excellent pence per mile figures that NMR is consistently achieving.”

NMR leases its vehicles – the majority being diesel with a handful of petrol models – on individual replacement cycles up to a maximum of five years/120,000 miles.

The fleet comprises: 38 company cars of which 13 are user-chooser management cars with the remainder mostly Skoda Octavia Estates driven by field-based area account managers; and 37 Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo vans driven by field-based area co-ordinators making farm visits.

Senior management at Fleet Service GB, headquartered at nearby Corsham, were known to Mrs Firth, who said: “We knew that Fleet Service GB was firmly focused on risk and driver management, and NMR shared the view that managing work-related road safety was critical not only to compliance, but also keeping fleet operating costs in check. As a result of the launch of Fleet Service GB we decided to partner with the company.”

Under the fast-growing technology-led co-ownership company’s umbrella brand, Achieve, it operates an array of solutions: Maintenance Management, Crash Management, Driver Management, Management Services, Fleet Manager and Fleet Service Partnership.

Utilising the strapline “inspire fleets to Achieve better”, Fleet Service GB delivers all critical management information across all key operations via intelligent integrated online dashboards that deliver real-time headline data on vehicles and drivers to the fingertips of fleet managers and the ability to drill down into the minutiae of operations. The easy to understand numerical and graphic formats, simultaneously highlight action areas.

Additionally, Fleet Service GB provides customers with access to a driver app that offers a wealth of sophisticated cutting-edge features delivering 24/7 support to employees at the wheel of company vehicles.

Mrs Firth, who has been responsible for the NMR fleet for more than 15 years, said: “We understand the importance of data and expect Fleet Service GB as our fleet management partner to continue to enhance existing solutions and be fully focused on supporting our vehicle operation and our drivers.”

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “The data reflects a well-managed fleet working within an environment where miles travelled by each vehicle to carry out work requirements is constant.

“Costs are influenced by a number of areas, not least drivers. But the results clearly indicate that NMR management has excellent control over all areas of cost, all of which is reflected in the achieved result.”

He added: “Fleet Service GB’s pro-active focus under its Achieve Maintenance Management programme underline that significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be a major area of fleet expenditure, can be delivered.

“Both Fleet Service GB and NMR understand the objective and importantly work together delivering results by adopting an open and transparent partnership approach.”

‘Many companies view road risk as managing compliance and not managing the risk itself’, health and safety lawyer tells fleet chiefs

Many companies are compliant with work-related road safety legislation, but those same employers fail to effectively manage vehicles, drivers and journeys on a day-to-day basis thus risking potential criminal prosecutions and/or civil actions in the event of a crash.

That was the message from health and safety lawyer Michael Appleby, of London-based law firm Fisher Scoggins Waters, to fleet decision-makers at the inaugural meeting of Fleet Service Great Britain’s Achieve Driver Management User Group (pictured).

Achieve is the company’s umbrella brand with a range of components – Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as Achieve Fleet Service Partnership.

Fleet decision-makers are able to ‘pick ‘n’ mix the tools in the Achieve box to provide their businesses with a single silo of live and dynamic online data to further improve vehicle, driver and journey management.

The Driver Management User Group is focused on providing support advice and mentoring on all aspects of managing drivers, vehicles and journeys, by sharing knowledge and best practice to influence behind-the-wheel behaviour and performance thus ensuring a safe working environment. Furthermore, fleet decision-makers in the User Group will provide input into the future development of new Achieve Driver Management features.

Mr Appleby, highlighted that many organisations went through the compliance ‘tick box procedure’ of, for example, checking the validity of employees’ driving licences and perhaps encouraging defect checks to be undertaken, but failed to translate the information gathered into practical management.

“There is a correlation between ‘bent metal’ crashes and proper management,” he said, with data collected via the Achieve Driver Management programme able to provide fleet decision-makers with detailed insight into the driving performance and behaviour of individual employees so remedial action can be taken. “Companies may have really good health and safety management across their core business, but when it comes to vehicles and drivers it can be much weaker.

“Too many companies view road risk as managing compliance and not managing the risk itself. Employers should have the basic elements of managing safety in place, but frequently there is very little actual day-to-day management. When ‘things go wrong’ businesses could be massively exposed because they do not have the answers to questions posed by investigators.”

Business journey crashes – either in a company-provided vehicle or an employee’s own vehicle – could be investigated by the police or Health and Safety Executive while coroners, in the event of a fatality, may also be influential.

Mr Appleby highlighted how coroners now had a statutory duty to consider writing a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to any organisation or person where they believed action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

“Coroners have a wide discretion as to the scope of an inquest. I can foresee the situation where there is a fatality in a work-related road crash and a coroner wants to enquire how a business is managing its vehicles and how data is being used to manage the fleet and drivers,” he said.

Mr Appleby also warned that employers could find themselves “caught up” in a work-related road safety investigation as a consequence of an associated incident.

He explained: “Investigators will want to know how a business manages safety and may find weaknesses in respect of managing vehicles, drivers and journeys that were a contributory factor to any incident. When I interview company directors and other employees the speed at which requested documents are produced is a good indication as to how well safety is managed in the business.”

Highlighting that “a well-managed company manages safety well”, Mr Appleby told the User Group that while both criminal prosecution and/or civil action could result from a work-related car or commercial vehicle crash, the rise of social media meant the “court of public opinion” was also becoming increasingly influential.

Many companies have corporate social responsibility statements on their websites and in their annual reports but, said Mr Appleby: “People can become particularly vocal, particularly through social media, if there is an incident and a business is thought to be uncaring towards its workforce. I can see problems in that scenario.”

He suggested that the resulting “wrong type of publicity” could cause “tremendous damage” to a business, its reputation, profitability and share price.

FSGB delivers fleet maintenance cost savings of almost £280,000 for Stannah

Robust management of fleet maintenance costs across the car and van fleet operated by Stannah has delivered a saving of almost £280,000 despite a 19% increase in the number of vehicles operated.

Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, outsources the maintenance management of its now 423-strong van fleet and 285-strong company car fleet to Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB).

Key performance measures indicate that maintenance costs on the Stannah van fleet have reduced a staggering 31% between December 2010 and January 2019 delivering a cost reduction of £104,307 with the critical pence per mile figure reducing 41% from 4.51p to 2.68p in a period when overall fleet mileage increased by almost 1.3 million miles.

In the wake of the remarkable van fleet maintenance cost savings, Stannah turned to Fleet Service GB to take over similar responsibility for its company car fleet. Over an almost identical period of time, the headline pence per mile figure has reduced by 1.65p (37%) to 2.84p delivering a maintenance cost reduction of £174,321 (51%). Pence per mile is widely recognised as the most accurate measure of a vehicle’s maintenance expenditure.

Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs in December 2010 across Stannah’s then 310-strong van fleet totalled £341,620. In January 2019, despite the increase in fleet size and mileage, the total cost reduced to £237,303.

Analysis of Stannah’s company car fleet reveals SMR costs in October 2011 across its then 264 vehicles of £341,616. In January 2019, despite the fleet increasing to 285 cars and taking into account a mileage reduction of 338,088 miles, total maintenance costs reduced to £167,295 a staggering 51% saving.

Across both the company car and van fleets, Stannah has benefited from total maintenance cost savings of £278,628.

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “Fleet Service GB’s pro-active focus under its Achieve Maintenance Management programme underline that significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be a major area of fleet expenditure, can be delivered.

Underpinning Fleet Service GB’s Achieve Maintenance Management solution is a focus on maximising vehicle uptime by constantly challenging lead times and repair processes. Other feature of the programme include: SMR work undertaken through a national network of independent garages; a National Price Promise that offers fixed prices for the same job on the same vehicle throughout the UK for around 75% of all predicted service and maintenance requirements; and instant online access to all reporting and fleet performance evaluation through an industry-leading portal.

Critically, the effective management of SMR and thus the achievement of fleet maintenance cost savings can only be achieved by stamping out driver abuse of vehicles, according to Fleet Service GB, and Stannah uses a suite of fleet management tools to ensure vehicles are in tip-top condition.

Each vehicle is allocated to an individual driver with Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director, who is responsible for the fleet, explaining: “That means every vehicle is completely traceable and it makes a major difference compared with an employee who travels to work each day and collects a van from a depot before returning it at the end of their shift. At Stannah each driver effectively ‘owns’ their van, exactly the same as it is with company cars.”

Efficient fleet and driver management at Stannah starts with buying the ‘right van and car’ for the job required. Each vehicle is then equipped with telematics that records and delivers to Mr Carter a raft of data notably relating to driver behaviour and how a vehicle is driven. Additionally, any incident is reviewed in detail with, potentially, driver training the result.

Furthermore, with drivers logged on to the Fleet Service GB app that offers a wealth of sophisticated cutting-edge features delivering 24/7 support to employees it brings a significant element of self-management to both the company car and van fleet.

Mr Carter said: “Managing maintenance costs starts with vehicle selection and then we use a range of tools at our disposal to identify costs and we seek to manage those. It is all about marginal gains and we seek to make savings wherever we can.

“The cost of most products and services increase year-on-year but, remarkably, the pence per mile vehicle operating costs on the Stannah van fleet have reduced since Fleet Service GB took over management responsibility.”

In part, it has to be acknowledged, that cost reduction is due to improved vehicle manufacturer reliability, but, said Mr Bray, it was also a reflection of the overall management approach to identify and then manage maintenance expenditure.

Mr Bray added: “The maintenance management results are hugely positive which demonstrates, in my view, a good working partnership and also, very importantly, a Stannah policy which encourages ownership and responsibility from a driver perspective.”

Fleet Service GB was launched in spring 2015 led by Mr Bray, who following his decision to leave his former company, Fleet Support Group (FSG), was approached by a number of industry-experienced colleagues to form a unique co-ownership fleet management company.

When Fleet Service GB launched, Mr Carter decided to invest his trust in the new company’s ability to deliver having previously worked with FSG initially maintenance managing the van fleet and subsequently also the car fleet.