Previously known as Kier Fleet and Passenger Services, Essential Fleet Services is a leading provider of a diverse range of specialist vehicle contract leasing, fleet management, and passenger services, to public and private sector clients across the UK. Newly appointed Commercial Director, Ed Hummel, talks to Utility Fleet about his role and the company’s diverse range of services...
Having joined Essential Fleet soon after the completion of the MBO, describe your role and vision of the future for the organisation?
Our vision is to offer customers a really professional “one-stop shop” solution for their specialist vehicle funding, maintenance and short term rental requirements. While the car and LCV markets are very mature and well developed, the specialist vehicle market remains under developed and very fragmented.
We have 17 in house workshops along with a network of third party service providers giving us nationwide coverage. With over 3,500 vehicles on fleet we can leverage our buying power and our infrastructure of regional technical managers allows us to optimise workshop times and scheduling.
My role as Commercial Director is to ensure we attract and retain the best people, maintain great customer relationships and deliver strong commercial results. There is plenty of scope to double our turnover to around £100m in the next three years which will keep me busy!
Many of your clients are responsible for maintaining and building the infrastructure. How do you help them manage their projects cost effectively, under an economic climate of great pressure?
In the private sector we use our infrastructure, scale and benchmarking across sites to find savings for customers. This experience has helped us develop strong ties with Utility companies and their associated contractors.
The government austerity programme is actually helping us unlock new opportunities to demonstrate to councils how we can save them money. Where councils have their own workshops we can offer an initial free 30 day consultation to understand the operation and benchmark things like supplier pricing, typical job times and vehicle utilisation rates with our experience elsewhere. It’s not unusual for us to unlock savings in the region of 10% while increasing service levels.
Although now independent, what benefits and expertise does Essential Fleet’s background as part of Kier offer the market?
We will be supplying Kier with specialist vehicles for their highways and utility contracts over the next five years. Our experience of delivering on this scale should reassure customers that we are capable of increasing the efficiency of their fleet regardless of it’s size. We have also developed a series of KPIs by working closely with Kier to give our customers transparency on key management information on their fleet.
What range of fleet services do you provide to clients?
Essential Fleet Services provides a full end-to-end Fleet Management solution. We can help clients specify the right vehicles, provide competitive funding, full maintenance, safety checks, accident management and we make the return process as simple as possible. We have had recent success in taking over existing private and public sector workshops, gaining significant cost savings and improved service levels.
How diverse is your fleet in terms of specialist vehicles?
Very diverse! We have over 3,500 vehicles from Refuse Collection Vehicles to Gritters, from LCV tippers to sweepers and gulley cleaners. Our consultancy service can help customers identify the best vehicles and terms for their needs – from spot hire to specifying a vehicles for a long-term contract.
What sort of technology does the fleet use to help it run effectively and safely?
We utilise telematics technology in the majority of our vehicles. We have a great solution from Omnia which we’ve had good feedback from clients on.
Telematics helps us to optimise the performance of our vehicles by proactively dealing with maintenance issues before they arise and identifying early which vehicles are for replacement due to high mileage.
Our customers enjoy a wealth of information on driver behaviour such as excessive braking, acceleration and idling allowing fuel costs to be managed down while maximising driver safety.
How does Essential Fleet work effectively with the Fleet management teams within its clients?
We have dedicated Client Relationship Managers looking after each client, giving a single point of contact. We also have an extensive Regional Operations Manager team managing our workshops and offering customers a source of technical support in the field. Our extensive customer support team in Lincoln also offers office-based contract support to Fleet Managers.
We have just launched our new website – www.essentialfleet.co.uk – which contains many case studies of customers we’ve recently worked with. We think its really important to share best practice frequently with clients through the internet and face-to-face meetings.
The second phase of our website launch (from March 2016) will allow customers to manage many of their day to day queries, including booking specialist vehicle rental, via our secure login area on the site.
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