New Management Tool launched by Fleet Service Great Britain Makes Vehicle Rental Booking Easy

A new customer vehicle rental management tool has been launched by Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB), the fast-growing technology-led co-ownership company.

Designed to assist customers in placing and managing car and light commercial vehicle rental bookings, the new rental management tool is now live on Fleet Service GB’s advanced online customer portal.

Via the portal, drivers, cost centre managers and fleet managers are able to make a request to book a rental vehicle through Fleet Service GB’s preferred network of suppliers.

The rental management tool enables a user to submit all the key details required in order to fulfill a booking requirement including on and off-hire dates, type of vehicle, reason for hire and name of the person who will be driving the vehicle; provides a quote based on the daily rate of the vehicle selected; and submits the vehicle rental request directly to the Fleet Service GB team.

The rule set deployed within the rental management tool ensures that a customer can set configuration of the vehicle request flow so that it receives line manager approval prior to the booking request being processed. The person responsible for rental authorisation will then receive an email with a website link to approve the request.

Once authorised the booking will be arranged by the Fleet Service GB team and a confirmation email will be sent to the requester.

In addition to the ability to book a new vehicle rental, the rental management tool also gives a fleet manager, or the nominated Fleet Service GB contact, the ability to view and manage any live rental.

The portal provides a view of all live requests pending approval as well as the ability to view and amend all open rental bookings. Users are able to set a termination date or extend a hire during life through the integrated customer portal management area.

Further development of the rental management tool is currently in progress. It will allow not only for a vehicle to be supplied according to the processed quote, but also, based on the daily rate of the vehicle selected and the duration of hire, provide recommendations on how to reduce the rental cost.

Sarah Clifford, head of service delivery, Fleet Service GB, said: “The new rental management tool was developed at the request of customers, is easy to use and can be bespoke to the requirements of individual clients. Previously, bookings were made via email or a telephone call, which was inefficient and administratively cumbersome.

“The new rental management tool is intuitive, avoids duplication of information during the vehicle booking process, reduces the risk of booking errors being made and provides customers with a comprehensive record on all vehicles on hire.”

Fleet Service GB is now managing more than 7,000 cars and commercial vehicles for a wide range of clients that include VPS Group, which specialise in securing, maintaining and managing vacant property across a wide range of customer and industry sectors.

Steve Mulvaney, head of fleet at VPS UK and in charge of 650 cars and light commercials, helped develop the rental management tool. He said: “It is a brilliant step forward, as the vehicle rental request is now just a ‘couple of clicks’ away whereas previously it was a manual labour-intensive process.”

Previously a VPS-devised rental request form would be completed by a driver or line manager and sent to Mr Mulvaney for checking and authorising before being processed and forwarded to Fleet Service GB.

Mr Mulvaney said: “The rental management tool enables the vehicle hire request to be completed online and I can authorise it via my tablet or mobile phone rather than having to be at my PC. It is a seamless and very efficient process.”

He added: “If a rental requires an extension or goes over the hire period I receive an immediate automated alert, which enables me to take prompt action. The whole process is seamless.”

Business booms for Fleet Service Great Britain as customer-centric, technology-led company enters fourth year of operation

Senior management team members (left to right): Pete Hitt (head of operations), Sarah Clifford (head of service delivery), Geoffrey Bray (executive chairman) and Marcus Bray (head of sales) with Fleet Service GB employees.

Business is booming for Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) as the co-ownership company moves into its fourth year of operation.

Fleet Service GB was launched in April 2015 by an experienced management team with a focus on delivering customer service excellence and a comprehensive range of fleet management solutions underpinned by industry-leading technology.

The company is now managing almost 7,000 cars and commercial vehicles for a wide range of clients that include Stannah and VPS Group; has relocated into new headquarters on a Corsham business park four times larger than its launch premises; and its growing customer base means that it now employs 22 people.

Fleet Service GB is led by head of sales Marcus Bray, who with his father and stepmother was instrumental in the growth of Fleet Support Group from a kitchen table concept to becoming the UK’s largest privately owned fleet management company managing 55,000 vehicles and drivers before the business was sold.

Mr Bray said: “Fleet Service GB is growing at a manageable pace based on a partnership approach with customers.

“Fleet Service GB is successful because as a fleet management company it truly understands the needs of each client and becomes a genuine extension of a customer’s management team. Hand-in-hand we identify and specify objectives and work together to find and deliver solutions utilising cutting-edge technology.

“Fleet Service GB continually strives to deliver fleet solutions that are the most cost-effective for customers, while always ensuring that vehicles, drivers and journeys are managed efficiently and effectively.

“Fleet Service GB through online solutions and technology such as its Driver App and Achieve Driver Management programme provides customers with all the necessary tools to manage vehicles, drivers and journeys with work-related road safety compliance to the fore.”

Fleet Service GB’s unique co-ownership company, in which members of the senior management team are all shareholders, meant that employees, said Mr Bray: “Would not simply go the extra mile, but the extra 10,000 miles to deliver world-class solutions.”

He continued: “We spend our customers’ money as if it was our own, but Fleet Service GB is not part of a giant corporation and does not have venture capitalists sitting on its back.

“Fleet Service GB is a profitable but cost-conscious company. As the customer base expands the business is investing in people and new fleet management solutions that deliver cost savings to clients.”

Services include in-life car and commercial vehicle fleet, maintenance, accident, risk and hire management; a range of other services that includes fines management; and a 24×7 service that includes an out-of-hours facility manned by expert staff and not outsourced to a third party as with most fleet management providers. Additionally, Fleet Service GB uses its expertise to assist customers with vehicle funding and disposal decisions.

Mr Bray said: “Through the technology already being utilised and that which continues to be developed by our own experts in partnership with customers, Fleet Service GB is on the road to delivering its vision of a totally integrated vehicle, driver and journey management solution that provides fleet decision-makers with all required information via a straight-forward dashboard to make critical decisions.”

Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, and VPS Group, which specialise in securing, maintaining and managing vacant property across a wide range of customer and industry sectors, are two of Fleet Service GB’s largest customers operating more than 700 and 650 cars and light commercials respectively.

Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director, who manages the company’s fleet, said: “Stannah is very open with Fleet Service GB about what it is trying to achieve. We want to maximise the use of technology to collect data so we can exactly identify what our costs are so we can effectively and efficiently manage the fleet.

“In Fleet Service GB, Stannah has a partner that understands what it is aiming to do and gets on and does it for us. Fleet Service GB understands the culture of the Stannah business, makes the right decisions on our behalf and is very good at doing so.”

Steve Mulvaney, head of fleet at VPS UK, said: “Fleet Service GB is responsible for the day-to-day management of the fleet. The Fleet Service GB team is hugely knowledgeable and experienced and through its skill VPS is benefiting from financial savings delivered across the fleet as well as ensuring compliance with best practice

“Fleet Service GB is going the extra mile in managing the VPS fleet and continues to deliver enhanced service, fleet efficiency and sustainable cost reduction and control through the data provided.”

FSGB delivers new market-leading IT solutions to save fleets time and money and aid compliance

FSGB delivers new market-leading IT solutions to save fleets time and money and aid compliance

A string of new technology-based features have been launched by Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB) designed to save customers time and money in managing their company car and commercial vehicle operations and ensure legislative compliance.

FSGB launched in spring 2015 and, offering a comprehensive range of in-life vehicle management services underpinned by cutting-edge IT solutions and with a customer-centric focus, has expanded to currently manage almost 7,000 cars and commercial vehicles.

The latest IT initiatives, developed at the request of and in partnership with customers include: Event Scheduler, Bespoke Categorisation, Proactive Service, Maintenance and Repair and Rental Check Sheets (see details of each below).

FSGB head of sales Marcus Bray said: “FSGB’s IT solutions come from working hand-in-hand with customers and listening to the issues and problems that they face on a daily basis. Using the experience and knowledge of our employees gained over many years of working in the fleet management sector we can identify, develop and deliver solutions.

“FSGB works on the frontline with customers – effectively as an extension of their own in-house fleet team. Very few companies listen to their customers and then deliver what is requested. FSGB is using technology to make life easier for clients.”

He continued: “Fleet management continues to evolve with technological advances for managing vehicles, drivers and journeys, but ultimately success continues to be built on listening to clients.

“Businesses that lose touch with their customers and become disconnected, very soon lose those clients and that attitude is reflected by the contracts that FSGB continues to win.”

While industry-leading technology is business-critical for FSGB, the unique co-ownership company also understands that it is simply a tool – the big ingredient being people.

Mr Bray concluded: “Companies that uncouple relationships and de-personalise service and rely on technology to do the fleet management job soon find out the error of their ways. FSGB will always be face-to-face and personal – but discussions with customers and the application of technology are powerful forces as demonstrated by FSGB’s business success to date.”

Event Scheduler provides customers with an online overview of ‘planned events’ – for example servicing and MoT scheduled dates, oil change and cam belt replacement – during the fleet life of any vehicle and associated spend. Developed in partnership with customer Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, the solution is designed to assist with reducing vehicle off-road time and aid vehicle disposal planning.

Vehicle off-road time is a huge cost burden for many fleets and Event Scheduler provides a graphic view of vehicles with intervals due by month and looks to forecast events based on time/mileage. When an event falls due within an agreed tolerance, future events are analysed to see if they can be merged into a single same-day ‘job’ based on the cost of work being undertaken early and a vehicle off road cost for customers.

The feature’s dashboard view provides fleet operators with a scheduled vehicle disposal date, according to company policy. Built-in rule sets allow Event Scheduler to base ‘planned events’ around that date, which, for example, could be brought forward to avoid additional service or MoT costs or see a vehicle moved to a company’s pool fleet replacing an existing vehicle on that fleet. The dashboard also highlights a summary of decisions made based on a disposal review and the system has the ability to reset a disposal date based on a review.

Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director, who manages the company’s fleet of more than 700 company cars and vans, said: “We were looking for something that worked along the line of a master production schedule that showed all activities over a planning horizon. With Event Scheduler we can now plan six months ahead for vehicle disposal and replacement rather than respond to events and can group demand to reduce off road time. As a graphical representation, it’s simple to use and we look forward to it developing further as we gain real world experience.”

Sarah Clifford, FSGB’s head of service delivery, said: “Event Scheduler is a great tool for customers to see at a glance an overview of their fleet’s position. Alongside each vehicle is highlighted spend to date and projected spend to point of disposal. Such data can influence both replacement cycles and future fleet acquisition strategies.”

FSGB is continuing to develop Event Scheduler with the addition of more known or projected events based on customer requirements analysis of fleet data, which, for example, include the regular collection of tyre tread depth readings to enable tyre replacement forecasts to be made.

Bespoke Categorisation enables FSGB customers to easily identify all vehicles that perform a certain operational function or have a customised feature. As a result, FSGB has created a series of standardised categories that are applied to every managed asset enabling customers to split out management information based on their own requirements. Current categories are: Body type, feature (e.g. 4×4 vehicle, vehicle with tail lift etc), fleet type (pool vehicle, hire vehicle, ‘grey fleet’ vehicle etc), number of seats and vehicle type (car derived van, pickup van, utility vehicle etc). Additionally, customers have the ability to create further categories bespoke to individual requirements. The feature is now being rolled out to each client with many already utilising the tool to personalise asset data.

Proactive Service, Maintenance and Repair (SMR) is designed to assist customers and their company car and commercial vehicle drivers in complying with critically important manufacturer service schedules and MoT demands. Proactive SMR is an enhancement that uses FSGB’s vehicle management system’s ‘due item’ data to alert drivers as early as possible. The feature identifies a forthcoming service, MoT or additional inspection based on time or mileage and starts the pre-booking set up. A job will be initiated and where FSGB records identify a vehicle’s driver – a separate tool assists clients in keeping vehicle/driver allocations accurate – an SMS, email and other notifications are sent via FSGB’s cutting-edge Driver App. A driver’s depot/line manager is also alerted to the requirement as a defined stage within the process.

Ms Clifford said: “FSGB has the capability to customise how far in advance the Proactive SMR process is started; how frequently reminders are sent; and if, and at what point, cost centre managers are involved not only customer-by-customer but item-by-item.

“Should we not receive contact from a driver within a defined period prior to due date FSGB’s system alerts the team and tasks us to make contact with the driver via telephone. The process assists both FSGB and customers in terms of compliance with legislation and with the correct preventative maintenance recommendations for their fleet.”

Rental Check Sheets is an enhancement to FSGB’s Driver App which will enable the completion of a check sheet for any vehicle hired to a driver. The key objectives are:

  • To alert a driver that a Rental Check Sheet requires completion at the start and end of a booking
  • The Rental Check Sheet to provide key information as well as querying vehicle condition
  • The Rental Check Sheet to be stored against the rental reservation – but also stored against the driver should a rental have been arranged outside of the FSGB system.

Ms Clifford said: “Vehicle damage charges at the end of a rental are often very contentious and many customers are on the receiving end at the conclusion of a rental period as well as facing costs related to refueling and other ad-hoc charges.

“The aim with the development of Rental Check Sheets is to alert a driver via the Driver App prior to the rental reservation to complete a vehicle check to identify any existing damage and note the vehicle condition on delivery or as soon as possible subsequently.

“Frequently drivers are not always available to walk around the vehicle at point of delivery and so the aim is to ensure that when they do pick up the keys that they record any damage, taking images using the built in image upload feature and check for any mechanical issues.

It is also an opportunity for FSGB to remind drivers to note the level of fuel that the vehicle was delivered with and draw their attention to key information relevant to the rental booking. That includes taking responsibility for the payment of any road and bridge tolls or London Congestion Charge and ensuring the vehicle is available for collection at an appropriate location.

“At the point of termination the Driver App will also alert drivers to complete an end of hire check. Capturing any change in vehicle condition and prompting them to ensure that the vehicle is refueled etc. will minimise fleets’ exposure to end of rental charges.”

COMPANY CAR DRIVERS POTENTIALLY FACE BACK TAX DEMAND CAUSED BY NEW OpRA RULES, FIAG WORKSHOP TOLD

COMPANY CAR DRIVERS POTENTIALLY FACE BACK TAX DEMAND CAUSED BY NEW OpRA RULES, FIAG WORKSHOP TOLD

  • Courts “get tough” on companies and individuals guilty of health and safety breaches
  • Employers urged to relieve driver stress to improve road safety performance
  • Businesses “nowhere near” maximising the potential of telematics technology

Company car-driving employees have been warned that they could be subjected to demands for back tax from HM Revenue and Customs following this year’s introduction of complex Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRA) rules.

The Fleet Industry Advisory Group’s (FIAG) autumn workshop, ‘Fleet Policy – Challenges and Influences’ heard Activa Contracts’ sales and marketing director Lisa Temperton highlight that understanding and correctly interpreting OpRA regulations was one of the “major challenges” currently facing businesses.

Essentially the new rules were introduced by government to mean employees opting for a salary sacrifice arrangement or taking a company car in lieu of a cash alternative paid tax on the higher of the existing company car benefit value and the salary sacrificed or cash allowance given up. However, car arrangements in place before April 6, 2017 are protected until April 2021 and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) – currently those with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less – are exempt from the regulation.

OpRA rules were rapidly introduced on April 6, following confirmation in last year’s autumn Budget and subsequent Finance Bill, but the impact of the changes are still coming to light. For example, it was recently revealed that the new OpRA rules should only take into account the amount of salary sacrificed for the car itself thereby excluding vehicle maintenance, insurance, new tyres and roadside breakdown and recovery for example. That means that the finance rental for a car and all other costs should be separated out making so-called “proportionality” now an issue for employers in respect of OpRA.

Ms Temperton told delegates at the workshop, which was sponsored by driver risk management specialist Automotional and held at the company’s Training Centre located within the Formula E Paddock at Donington Park Race Circuit, that when P46 (Car) forms were sent to HMRC by employers at the end of the 2017/18 tax year they could be incorrect.

“Some employees will have underpaid tax and that will cause pain as HMRC looks to recoup the tax they believe due,” said Ms Temperton, who highlighted that underpayment was likely to be caused because company payroll departments were not yet set up to handle the impact of OpRA rules on tax.

Ms Temperton took delegates on a whistle-stop tour through “50 years of political meddling with the company car” and concluded that other “current challenges” facing fleet decision-makers included:

  • The introduction of the new vehicle emissions and MPG test procedure, known as the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)
  • “Anti-diesel” vehicle legislation including the introduction of Clean Air Zones in towns and cities nationwide
  • The impact of the new lease accounting standard, known as IFRS 16, effective from January 1, 2019, which in the fleet operating and vehicle leasing sector is mainly focused on its requirement for assets financed via operating lease – contract hire – to be brought on-balance sheet
  • Increasing demand for personal contract hire affinity schemes
  • Getting to grips with a raft of issues surrounding ‘connected cars’ and autonomous vehicles
  • The fall-out from negotiations relating to the UK’s exit from the European Union.

However, Ms Temperton concluded: “Reports of the death of the company car are greatly exaggerated. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.”

That presentation introduced a roundtable debate among delegates on the future of the company car and fleet decision-makers agreed that there was perhaps “more uncertainty” than in living memory.

Some delegates concluded that growing company car benefit-in-kind tax complexity added to demands by employees “not to be dictated to in terms of vehicle choice” could prompt a move away from ‘perk’ company cars.

However, amid such a scenario some delegates warned that could trigger the increased use of privately-owned cars – the so-called ‘grey fleet’ – being driven on business journeys, which, in many cases, was already proving to be a corporate challenge in terms of managing vehicle documentation and driver licence validation to ensure duty of care compliance. An alternative, to growing ‘grey fleet’ use, it was suggested, was a greater use of hire cars and even pool vehicles.

Meanwhile, other workshop delegates suggested that company cars continued to deliver “value for money” to employees and there would be no shrinkage in demand.

Delegates also suggested that job-need cars remained business-critical and, against a background of year-on-year increases in company car benefit-in-kind tax, required “more government support”.

Courts “get tough” on companies and individuals guilty of health and safety breaches

Company directors and senior managers inside businesses with fleet responsibility are increasingly likely to be prosecuted with organisations potentially facing fines running into millions of pounds in the event of fatal and non-fatal crashes.

FIAG workshop delegates heard specialist health and safety lawyer Michael Appleby, partner at London-based Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP, highlight the impact that the 2016 sentencing guidelines for health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences were having on organisations, directors and senior managers.

The guidelines were introduced by the Sentencing Council last year and provide for a sliding scale of financial penalties linked to the turnover of a business and level of culpability.

For health and safety offences the scale of penalties is: large organisation with £50 million-plus turnover £3,000-£10 million; medium size organisations with £10-£50 million turnover £1,000-£4 million; small organisations with £2-10 million turnover £100-£1.6 million; micro companies with not more than £2 million turnover £50-£450,000. Convicted individuals face a maximum sentence of up to two years jail and an unlimited fine.

For companies convicted of corporate manslaughter the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine although the guidelines state a range of £180,000-£20 million depending on the size of the company.

Mr Appleby revealed that in 2015 just three companies were hit with fines of more than £1 million for breaching health and safety regulations, but that had risen to 19 in 2016 following introduction of the guidelines with two-thirds of cases being non-fatal. Historically, he highlighted, that fines above £1 million were reserved for companies prosecuted following fatalities.

He also highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of directors and senior managers being prosecuted – up from 15 in 2015 to 46 last year. What’s more, following introduction of the new guidelines, those found guilty were now likely to receive, as a minimum, a suspended prison sentence with directors also disqualified from holding office.

Mr Appleby told delegates: “There is an increasing interest by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in all area of occupational health including work-related road safety. Businesses should focus on reducing potential areas of harm across the workplace, which includes managing vehicle and driver safety. Inside many organisations there is scant attention being paid to fleet safety, which is a huge area of concern. Policies and procedures must be in place to reduce the risk of exposure to prosecution of directors and senior managers as well as organisations if a crash results in a fatality.”

Employers urged to relieve driver stress to improve road safety performance

Employees suffering from stress were 50% more likely to drive dangerously and thus be involved in crashes, according to John Sunderland Wright, training director at Performance on Demand.

Drivers’ health and well-being was critical to their behaviour on the road, Mr Sunderland Wright told FIAG workshop delegates highlighting that the heart and brain were the two key areas of the body “massively effected” by stress.

“Stress can inhibit personal performance,” said Mr Sunderland Wright. “High levels of stress causes the brain to do far too much and that causes problems, which for drivers manifests itself in road crashes.”

Employee surveys frequently highlighted that stress and tiredness were issues for them but, said Mr Sunderland Wright, sleeping for eight to nine hours per night was a solution. He also advised that continually hydrating the body with water was vital as dehydration reduced concentration and reaction levels by 20%.

With driver stress being a significant contributory factor to road crashes, Mr Appleby reminded delegates that it was a major focus for the HSE in improving work-related road safety.

He told delegates: “Are drivers so stressed that they cannot do their job properly? Employers must look at their work-related road safety policies and ensure that employees that drive on businesses have the opportunity to have their views on such issues heard.”

The FIAG workshop debate on the health and well-being of drivers concluded that it was “a hot topic” and it was important that “a massive knowledge gap” across employers was filled.

Delegates suggested that many employers were “reactive” and not “proactive” in managing employees and only reacted with new policies and procedures following an “incident”.

As a result, Geoffrey Bray, chairman of FIAG, which was launched four years ago to enable fleet decision-makers to share fleet industry best practice and knowledge, said: “It is vital that employees that drive on business are given advice and information on how to relieve stress and be less tired. Information should not just be written into a company car policy, but there should be conversations and drivers should be empowered to speak up. Drivers are part of the solution and not simply the problem.”

Businesses “nowhere near” maximising the potential of telematics technology

Nine in ten businesses that fit telematics to vehicles were “nowhere near” maximising the potential of the technology to obtain a full return on investment, Phil Powell, sales director at Matrix Telematics told the FIAG workshop.

However, companies that used telematics derived data to effectively manage driver behaviour and vehicle performance reaped significant financial benefits notably in terms of reduced fuel bills, lower maintenance costs due to employees’ adopting a smoother driving style, fewer road traffic crashes and reduced insurance premiums, he explained.

Highlighting that in-vehicle technology and ‘big data’ was the future, Mr Powell said: “Employers must harvest data from vehicles and use the information gathered to analyse both driver and vehicle performance.”

During a roundtable discussion, FIAG delegates agreed that telematic systems provided a wealth of data, but flagged up concerns that with the 25 May, 2018 introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) information collected must be used responsibly with drivers informed the use to which it was being put.

Delegates also agreed that fleet decision-makers could be swamped with the volume of data emerging from telematics system. As a result, it was critical to both centralise and compartmentalise information and focus on highlighted “errors and weaknesses” measured against established key performance indicators so drivers and vehicles were “managed by exception”.

FSGB’s partnership approach delivers £100,000 fleet maintenance cost saving to Stannah

Robust management of fleet maintenance costs across the van fleet operated by Stannah has delivered a saving of more than £100,000 despite a 32% 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 410-strong van fleet to Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB).

The headline figures, which reflects a pence per mile saving per van of 1.73p – down from 4.51p to 2.78p per mile – a reduction of 38% over a near seven-year period, proves that focused maintenance management can deliver significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be, a major area of fleet expenditure.

Critical to reducing service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs and ensuring vans are in tip-top condition has been driver discipline allied to Stannah using a suite of fleet management tools. They include FSGB’s driver app that has a wealth of cutting-edge features notably accident reporting and an SMR job booking facility used by the company.

SMR costs in December 2010 across Andover-headquartered Stannah’s then 310-strong van fleet totalled £341,620. In summer 2017, despite the fleet increasing to 410 vans and total fleet mileage extrapolated over 12 months rising 10% or 787,120 miles to 8.36 million miles the total cost reduced to £232,470 – a saving of £109,150 (32%). That equates to a cost per van per year reduction of 49% from £1,102 to £567.

The vast majority of Stannah’s purchased all-diesel van fleet are Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter and Volkswagen Caddy and Transport models operated over a five-year/120,000-mile replacement cycle with maintenance undertaken on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director who is in charge of the fleet, said: “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 FSGB took over management responsibility.

“Pence per mile is widely recognised as the most accurate measure of a vehicles maintenance expenditure. The fact that pence per mile costs have reduced 38% is very significant.”

In part, it has to be acknowledged, that is due to improved vehicle manufacturer reliability, but it is also a reflection on the overall approach to identify and then manage SMR costs.

During the last two years the age profile of the van fleet has reduced with Mr Carter explaining: “We are adhering much closer to our five-year/120,000-mile policy. We used to let some vans run on, but using FSGB’s data we looked at the pence per mile operating costs over a period of time and it was obvious that above 120,000 miles there was a clear increase in SMR expenditure.”

Furthermore, each Stannah van is allocated to an individual driver who works from home with Mr Carter 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.”

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.

What’s more, with Stannah’s van drivers logged on to the FSGB app it brings a significant element of self-management to the van fleet.

Mr Carter said: “We ask our drivers to provide information and we give them data and they react. The result is that the majority of our drivers do not have crashes and drive sympathetically, which all helps to deliver maintenance cost savings.

“The fleet management tools that we use generate cost reductions through savings in SMR and fuel and a reduced number of crashes.”

FSGB head of sales Marcus Bray said: “FSGB provides Stannah with a comprehensive fleet maintenance management solution and, importantly, ownership of every single service and repair issue is fully managed through to completion. FSGB operates as an extension of Stannah’s own fleet department.

“The maintenance management results are very 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.”

FSGB 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 FSGB launched, Mr Carter decided to invest his trust in the new company’s ability to deliver having previously relied on FSG to manage the Stannah van fleet.

VPS UK on the road to reducing fleet operating costs and boosting compliance with FSGB partnership

Major vehicle service, maintenance and repair (SMR) cost savings – which are expected to ramp up further following implementation of a robust driver compliance initiative – are being achieved by fast-expanding VPS UK in partnership with Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB).

Driver influenced costs are the single largest drain on a company’s in-life fleet vehicle expenditure, which is why, following a change in senior management, Manchester-headquartered VPS is working with FSGB to transform its fleet into ‘best in breed’.

Operating 488 light commercial vehicles, 79 company cars, four HGVs and 40 items of plant and machinery, including trailers, from 23 combined service centres across the UK and Ireland, VPS specialise in securing, maintaining and managing more than 50,000 vacant properties across a wide range of customer and industry sectors including retail, pubs, social housing, commercial property and construction sites.

Following a series of business acquisitions resulting in significant fleet expansion and a major restructuring that included the appointment of a new top management team, Steve Mulvaney was appointed VPS head of fleet from his previous role as network operations southern manager at Evander Glazing & Locks, one of the firm’s bought.

That triggered an in-depth fleet review and ultimately an expansion of the business partnership with FSGB with the delivery of a broader range of in-life fleet services that now includes accident and risk management as well as vehicle maintenance and rental management and management services related to vehicle taxation and fine payment.

The cost of most products and services increase year-on-year but, remarkably, the pence per mile vehicle operating costs on the VPS fleet have reduced since FSGB took over management responsibility when the fleet specialist was launched in 2015.

All VPS vehicles have SMR work undertaken through FSGB’s nationwide independent garage network. VPS has a track record of outright purchasing all vehicles, which are typically utilised over a five-year/150,000-mile operating cycle, although replacement is influenced by mileage and SMR costs.

When FSGB took over maintenance management of the fleet the pence per mile operating costs on a sample of 176 vans were 5.12p per vehicle. That figure has now reduced to 5p per vehicle per mile across a sample of 196 vans – a 2.3% cost reduction per vehicle per mile despite a 16% fleet size increase.

What’s more, FSGB’s data analysis highlights that the average age of vans in the sample has reduced by four months to 39 months (down 9.3%), while average annual mileage has increased 3,669 miles to 23,971 (up 18%) with average total mileage up 2,927 miles to 73,264 miles (up 4%).

What the figures reveal is that despite the fleet working harder with average mileage rising, average fleet costs per vehicle are reducing.

Mr Mulvaney said: “It was clear to me that previously VPS did not have a real grip on fleet costs. FSGB was providing data, but it was not being used.”

VPS now employs a data analyst within the company’s fleet department to study the information provided by FSGB.

Mr Mulvaney said: “The data we are provided with is extremely robust and it is highly probable that the cost savings are even higher because at the time FSGB took over maintenance management of the fleet costs were not being recorded as accurately as they are now.

“FSGB is responsible for the day-to-day management of the fleet and all remedial vehicle work is carried out through its own appointed garage network. With service centres nationwide it is important that we have reliable garages that are close to our vehicle locations.

“We are totally satisfied that FSGB is spending our money as though it was its money and is constantly monitoring every penny to ensure we receive value for money. Working with FSGB is great as the company acts as part of our fleet team.”

Meanwhile, Achieve Driver Management, FSGB’s industry-leading and unique ‘driver centric’ differentiator, is at the hub of VPS’s work-related road safety requirements with 100% driver compliance on both driver licence validation and vehicle checks. The programme has been developed to continually measure driver performance, while also ensuring compliance, and by acting on the data and management reports provided, vehicle-related costs will reduce.

The Achieve programme is continually evolving, but the ‘toolbox’ includes a driver app with a wealth of sophisticated cutting-edge features delivering 24/7 support to employees at the wheel of company vehicles including, for example, ensuring every driver undertakes a weekly check on their vehicle which is supported by monthly checks by service centre and depot managers; and driver performance with data fed into the online system from a variety of sources including telematics, details of any fines and crash history.

Mr Mulvaney said: “The driver app benefits VPS by allowing us to carry out full vehicle inspections both scheduled and ad hoc at the touch of a button. This information is seamlessly uploaded into the customer portal for immediate review. We now have a better view of the condition of our fleet at our fingertips. Additionally, drivers can now book service, tyres and glass requests direct on the app. It is excellent technology, seamlessly delivered.

“VPS is now able to manage its driver influenced costs through Achieve. We are receiving some excellent information on all aspects of the fleet. We are taking the raw data and using it in management reports that are sent to the board weekly and monthly.”

What’s more, VPS is using the data relating to cost-influencing factors such as fuel use, tyre wear, the replacement of friction parts and in numerous other areas as the basis for a driver reward scheme.

Mr Mulvaney said: “Improving the safety of all our drivers and the fleet is a key priority for VPS with driver education critical to safety and cost management. We use the data FSGB is generating to show drivers how they can improve and, potentially, introduce new initiatives and targeted interventions where an issue is highlighted.”

Not only that, but there are pockets in the VPS business where vehicle mileage is inconsistent with age. For example, some vans at three-years-old have clocked up 150,000 miles, while others at five-years-old have travelled just 60,000 miles.

Mr Mulvaney said: “The data will enable VPS to relocate vehicles so age and mileage on a per vehicle basis is more consistent. That, in turn, will also help to reduce fleet maintenance costs.”

FSGB head of sales Marcus Bray said: “There is no doubt that the current VPS management working closely with FSGB is continuing to drive out costs. As FSGB builds up its database on each vehicle, we are confident that significant further costs savings will accrue on a per vehicle basis.”

Building up a vehicle operating lifecycle report on every vehicle and the SMR spend associated with the van or car, while also closely managing vehicle mileage, enables FSGB to calculate the pence per mile data.

Mr Bray said: “In my experience companies that genuinely embrace a partnership philosophy will always succeed if they set out achievable objectives and then agree a delivery plan.”

FSGB Launches New Cutting-Edge Driver App

Fast-growing Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB) has launched a driver app with a wealth of sophisticated cutting-edge features delivering 24/7 support to employees at the wheel of company vehicles.

Launch of the app, which provides real-time communication between drivers and FSGB’s own Support Team operating 24/7, is the latest technology development from the company, which celebrates its second anniversary shortly.

Now with around 7,000 company cars, commercial vehicles and ancillary equipment under fleet management, maintenance management and accident management, the driver app has been rolled out to customers.

Features include:

  • Interactive 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, using GPS-enabled location services, which directly link to the FSGB Support Team
  • A facility to upload images, capturing incident and/or vehicle condition
  • The ability to update vehicle mileage in real-time
  • Multiple vehicle management options
  • A bespoke check sheet for vehicle condition reporting
  • The ability to view vehicle lifetime history.

Stannah, the Andover-based company best known for its stairlifts as well as the design and installation of passenger lifts, platform lifts, service and goods lifts, moving walkways and escalators, has more than 400 vehicles managed by FSGB. Martin Carter, group information systems director, who is in charge of the company’s fleet, said: “We have been trialling the app in readiness for driver adoption and recognise that it not only delivers a high level of convenience for the driver but is also reassuring for compliance.”

Vacant property management and maintenance specialists VPS UK, which is headquartered in Oldham with service centres across the UK, has more than 600 vehicles under management with FSGB.

Head of fleet Steve Mulvaney said: “Having worked with FSGB for some time, the company continues to be at the forefront of fleet management, in both customer service and technology. The new driver app benefits the business by allowing us to carry our full vehicle inspections both scheduled and ad hoc at the touch of a button, this information is seamlessly uploaded into the customer portal for immediate review. We now have a better view of the condition of our fleet at our fingertips. Additionally, drivers can now book service, tyres and glass requests direct on the app. It is excellent technology, seamlessly delivered.”

Marcus Bray, co-founder of FSGB and head of sales, said: “From launch, FSGB had a very clear plan to develop technology that would make a real difference in the delivery of driver and vehicle management services.

“Today’s fleet decision-makers are very focused on their suppliers delivering to company car and commercial vehicle drivers a self-help approach. That is exactly what FSGB’s new driver app provides.

“FSGB has an experienced and flexible management team and by adopting a blank sheet of paper, listening to our customers’ requirements and, by not being limited or influenced by old technology, we have responded with a driver app that delivers state-of-the-art solutions.”

FSGB’s business success during its almost 24-months of existence is built on the company embracing a unique co-ownership model and its senior management team having more than 100 years’ experience in all aspects of fleet operations with a clear focus on delivering innovative solutions to customers.

To that end, clients can expect further features to be added to the driver app as the FSGB IT team use technology to take vehicle and driver management solutions to new levels with in-depth analysis and access to a wealth of data and information.

The FSGB driver app is accessible for use on Android, Apple and Microsoft devices and available for customer download at http://www.fleetservicegb.co.uk/app/.

Highest Accolade for Cancer Charity Hope for Tomorrow

Winner of Queen’s Award for Enterprise – Innovation

Hope for Tomorrow Trustees Ted Langston, Pat Barnard, Phil Williams, Christine Mills, MBE (Founder), Lord MacLaurin (Chairman) and Dr Sean Elyan, Consultant Oncologist and Medical Director of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustCancer charity Hope for Tomorrow, which launched the world’s first Mobile  Chemotherapy Unit (MCU) in 2007, has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the Innovation category.

The Award, the UK’s highest accolade for business success, was made in recognition of Hope for Tomorrow’s achievements since its founder, Christine Mills, MBE, set up the charity with a single aim: to bring cancer care closer to patients. Today ten Units have been successfully launched and are in operation in partnership with NHS Trusts around the country. They bring vital cancer treatments to patients, reducing travel, waiting times and the stresses and strains of busy hospitals.

The Queen’s Awards are made annually by HM The Queen and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category.

Christine Mills said: “Without our very special team, including staff, supporters, patrons, trustees, the nursing teams and our partners in the NHS, we wouldn’t be here today. Our simple and innovative business model has enabled the public sector to adopt our Mobile Chemotherapy Units, easing pressure on Oncology Units, staff, and most importantly, patients.

“Hope for Tomorrow is delighted and honoured to have won the Queen’s Award and to be recognised for our work. We hope the Award will help us achieve our aim of having at least one Unit in every county, bringing cancer care closer to patients.”

Dr Sean Elyan, Consultant Oncologist and Medical Director of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was instrumental in helping Hope for Tomorrow set up the first MCU in Cheltenham in 2007. On hearing of the Award, he said: “I’m delighted to hear that Hope for Tomorrow has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, of which it is thoroughly deserving. The charity has achieved a huge amount through its dedication, efficiency and focus on patient centred care, increasing both capacity and flexibility of service for the NHS Trusts it partners. I look forward to seeing more Hope for Tomorrow Units reaching more cancer patients around the country.”

Briggsamasco Constructs New Fleet Management Solution with Fleet Service GB

BriggsAmasco vanPersonal service, communication clarity and up-front cost information to aid budget setting have been among the benefits for BriggsAmasco of appointing Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB) as its fleet management provider.

West Midlands-headquartered BriggsAmasco operates a near 80-strong fleet of company cars and light commercial vehicles and is the UK‘s leading national industrial and commercial roofing company.

BriggsAmasco, which has a network of branches nationwide, opted for a sole supply fleet management solution with FSGB.

Following a short pilot project with vehicles based at two branches, FSGB now delivers a range of services to BriggsAmasco across its 44-strong company car and 34-strong van fleets that includes: fleet management and maintenance, accident management, vehicle rental and vehicle licencing.

FSGB was launched by Marcus Bray, who with his father and stepmother was instrumental in the growth of Fleet Support Group (FSG) from a kitchen table concept to becoming the UK’s largest privately owned fleet management company managing 55,000 vehicles and drivers when it was sold in 2011. BriggsAmasco had previously been an FSG client.

Matt Jones, BriggsAmasco company accountant with fleet responsibility, said: “We want our fleet management provider to become a genuine extension of our internal fleet team taking total ownership of the function to enable our business to function at peak efficiency and focus on construction.

“The pilot was a success and, while the partnership is in its early days, we are delighted with the level of service we are receiving; nothing is too much trouble and all communication is very clear. We want a hassle-free business arrangement with our fleet management supplier that has the confidence to take decisions within the parameters we set.”

The all-diesel outright purchase fleet is focused around a sole-supply Vauxhall Insignia and Astra car fleet and predominantly Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter vans. The company currently operates a five-year/150,000-mile replacement policy but takes a discretionary view on new vehicles when either parameter is reached.

FSGB operates a National Price Promise maintenance programme that provides a genuine one price for the same job, on the same vehicle, anywhere in the UK.

Andy Smith, BriggsAmasco financial director, said: “We like the clarity of the National Price Promise as we have knowledge of costs up front and that greatly assists with our budgeting process.”

Marcus Bray, FSGB’s head of sales, said: “FSGB brings together an award-winning team with fleet management experience and industry-recognised reputations, embracing the very latest processing and information technology to deliver a personal exclusive experience that continually demonstrates exceptional value.

“Clarity and communication are fleet management critical along with personal service, but too often companies lose all that by implementing technology-based solutions without human intervention.

“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 already have a strong relationship with BriggsAmasco and it is progressing nicely. I first came into contact with the company about 10 years ago and we enjoyed a good partnership for a number of years. With FSGB winning the new fleet management contract it feels as though the business has come home.”

FSGB strengthens Senior Management Team as it gears up for further growth after successful first 12 months

Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB) has strengthened its senior management team with a number of new appointments as the company continues to further expand following a hugely successful debut year.

Photo caption (left to right) Stephen Williams, Dominic Shearn, Marcus Bray, Geoffrey Bray, Peter Hitt and Sarah Clifford.

From left to right: Stephen Williams, Dominic Shearn, Marcus Bray, Geoffrey Bray, Peter Hitt and Sarah Clifford

The company, which delivers a comprehensive range of fleet management services to companies collectively operating almost 2,000 company cars and commercial vehicles, launched in spring last year embracing a unique co-ownership business model.

FSGB was formed following discussions held by a number of industry experienced individuals including Marcus Bray, who identified an opportunity to provide a fleet management service that genuinely reflected a ‘partnership offering’ where ‘making service personal’ was a key delivery objective.

Mr Bray began his fleet management career by joining Fleet Support Group (FSG) at its inception in 1987. FSG was founded by his father Geoffrey and stepmother Ina Bray along with a number of other individuals. It grew from a kitchen table concept to become the UK’s largest privately owned fleet management company managing 55,000 vehicles and drivers when it was sold in 2011.

As FSGB nears the completion of its first year in business, where growth has exceeded expectations, a decision has been made to strengthen the management team to support the exciting future prospects for the company.

The following changes have come into effect: Geoffrey Bray steps up from FSGB non-executive to executive chairman; and Janet Atkins, also a founder of FSG in its early stages as accounts director, becomes FSGB finance director.

The supporting management heads of departments are: Marcus Bray, who is responsible for all sales and marketing; Peter Hitt, head of operations; Sarah Clifford, head of service delivery; and Dominic Shearn, head of communications. Also joining the team as head of IT is Stephen Williams, who has 15 years IT experience gathered at both the Audit Commission and running his own Blue Monkey Software business.

Marcus Bray, commenting on the changes, said: “To launch the business, the company assembled a team of highly skilled professionals to see it through its start-up period. The business has grown rapidly as a result of a highly motivated co-ownership team delivering a comprehensive range of vehicle and driver management services, providing an exceptional level of customer service all supported by a futuristic IT system developed and supported in-house.”

The range of services supplied by FSGB to clients includes: fleet management, maintenance management, vehicle rental, accident management and risk management. More recently the company has introduced: vehicle acquisition and disposal, vehicle re-allocation and a fleet manager administration service.

Executive chairman Geoffrey Bray said: “To become successful a fleet management company must truly understand the client needs and become a genuine extension of the client management team – by sharing goals and visions, trust develops which ultimately leads to a partnership that delivers a cost and operationally beneficial service.

“A fleet management company must never forget that it is the client who owns the asset and it is their money the management company is spending.

“That’s why the hallmarks of FSGB are personal service, partnership and innovation. Companies that uncouple relationships and de-personalise service and rely on technology to do the fleet management job soon find out the error of their ways. FSGB will always be personal and we have a team in place that delivers. I believe it makes the difference within the fleet management industry where managing the intangibles is so important.

“Almost 12 months ago FSGB was a new name in the UK fleet industry. In the company’s first year of trading it has proved there is a requirement for marketplace knowledge and experience delivering what is described as an ‘old fashioned level of service’. That embraces leading edge technology with full transparency for each and every transaction and last, but not least, the involvement of people who, as co-owners, are dedicated and committed to helping customers achieve their own specific objectives.

“As FSGB accelerates towards it second year of trading, the strengthening of the team allied to the ‘can do’ focus of the existing employees will further boost the confidence of fleets to do business with the company as it continues as a growing force in the UK fleet management industry.”

Photo caption (left to right): Stephen Williams, head of IT; Dominic Shearn, head of communications; Marcus Bray, head of sales and marketing; Geoffrey Bray, executive chairman; Peter Hitt, head of operations; and Sarah Clifford, head of service delivery.

For further information contact Marcus Bray, head of sales, Fleet Service Great Britain.

Telephone 03332 200508; email Marcus@fleetservicegb.co.uk