A line in the sand
Nick Webb is fleet manager at bakery and catering equipment specialist Miller’s Vanguard. He tells us why the first thing he did was to implement Van Excellence as a benchmark for operational standards.
Miller’s Vanguard specialises in bakery and catering equipment for supermarkets. It supplies, installs, repairs and maintains a full range of equipment within the canteens, cafés, food-to-go counters and bakeries within stores, throughout the UK.
My background is in HGV fleet management so when I came to Miller’s Vanguard I wanted to see the existing professionalism become more consistent and standardised across the 240-strong van fleet. Many of our vehicles are out with engineers across the UK and this remote management makes ensuring compliance and best practice even trickier than usual.
For me, therefore, Van Excellence was a useful tool to ensure a basic consistent approach across the fleet. A line in the sand where we could say: standards never fall below this. It’s an achievable and measurable goal as your starting point.
We implemented various solutions to achieve our end goals, such as ensuring daily walk round checks or the cleanliness of vehicles, continually refining and improving our process until they were fast to implement from a driver’s point of view and easily monitored and managed for the fleet management team.
Van Excellence is a worthwhile process because it is the only tool available to smaller fleets which asserts your professionalism as equal to that of the major players in transport. Being able to demonstrate your dedication to proper fleet management is almost as important as implementing it, both from a compliance and a customer perspective.
To hear Nick Webb’s full journey to Van Excellence accreditation, come to the Van Excellence Operational Briefings 2015, held on 24 March in Weybridge and 27 March in Birmingham.
Goodyear Commercial Director UK & Ireland Marc Preedy (pictured) reflects on the changing landscape of the logistics industry.
The road freight industry has historically operated on low profit margins. In some cases that can make fleets unsustainable.
Operators looking to make profits in the longer-term are necessarily investing in order to do so. The evolution of the Euro VI engine is one example of this, and the life cycle for vehicles is shrinking. For fleets with less capacity to invest this presents a challenge. Market analysis suggests that while the industry will continue to grow in the medium-term, consolidation may be necessary if profitability is to improve.
Consolidation could take a range of forms. In some cases operators may formally merge their functions. In others, greater co-operation between fleets will reduce unnecessary costs, in particular in relation to reducing journeys without a payload.
Beyond Europe there is evidence that international players are entering markets that have traditionally been dominated by local operators. For example, Kuwaiti-based Agility Logistics has an increasingly visible presence in the Australian market.
Fuel costs are consistently the principal concern of fleet managers and regardless of the recent price decreases will still remain a cost that needs to be closely managed in 2015.
The improvements in fuel efficiency and the consequent reductions in carbon emissions are testament to the
industry’s efforts in this direction: a modern long-haul truck today is 30 per cent more fuel-efficient than 30 years ago. This is a marked improvement, undoubtedly technology’s influence has helped the industry deliver this percentage and will continue to have a positive impact. Tyre technology is one area that has seen substantial developments over the last 30 years. Goodyear’s latest tyre the FuelMax is a great example of this, derived from extensive R&D it is packed full of innovative tyre technology to support fleets in their on-going battle to lower their total cost of ownership.
The outlook for the commercial market is optimistic, and the medium levels of growth predicted will ensure a very competitive 2015.
For further information on Goodyear products please visit www.goodyear.co.uk