Q: When you started work at Yorkshire Housing what changes did you implement to make cost savings and improve services?
A: One of the first changes I made was to introduce the Keyfuels fuel card switching from the previous supplier Arval. This provided significant reduction in fuel costs to the organisation. However, the biggest change was to moving away from the fleet management company who managed and supplied all our vehicles on three-year hire agreements.
We now procure our own fleet through a government framework and purchase outright. The benefits for Yorkshire Housing based on whole-life costings over the next five years will be a saving of 1.5 million pounds. We also brought the management of the fleet in-house this enabled much improved fleet control and utilisation.
Q: What are the biggest issues and challenges currently facing your department?
A: With the Government’s introduction of the Welfare Reform Bill we expect our budgets to be tightened further. If we are to continue to maintain the current levels of service with decreased funding, operational efficiencies need to be made.
Q: How much does technology affect your role and what initiatives have you rolled our recently – or plan to roll out – utilising new technology?
A: We have just upgraded our telematics’ system to improve our management reporting and to enable us to maximise the use of the fleet and ensure good driver behavior. This has been supplied by Quartix.
We are also investigating the use of forward-facing cameras in the vehicles with a view to getting a trial underway.
Q: Do you use any framework agreements when procuring vehicles?
A: Yes, we use the Government Procurement Service (GPS) and also Procurement for Housing. We find we benefit from some excellent discounts and it takes away the work involved with doing a big EU tender. We can do mini tenders in the framework which really suits our needs.
Q: What types of vehicles are you running on the fleet and why?
We in the main use SWB Transits,supplied by Ford Direct Sales, as this covers all our main operations and, as the operator works from home, he needs the space to carry significant stock. We also use caged tippers for caretakers and grounds Maintenance.
We try to keep the range to a minimum to enable us to move vehicles within the fleet as contracts change. We also use pre-owned vehicles for some contracts where mileage is not an issue.
Q: Are you looking to implement EVs or any other ‘green’ technologies?
A: Yorkshire Housing has been keeping a close watch on the various green technologies but at the moment we have no whole-life costing information to really compare differences. Also, at the moment, the infrastructure is not suitable. We will continue to monitor the cost benefits of the different options
Q: How you use services from other companies to help run a smooth fleet operation?
A: Although the management of the fleet is now in-house we maintained our accident management company, Incident Support Group, who are both local and efficient. The problem we faced was drivers having to contact too many different people depending on needs such as tyres, windscreens, breakdown, recovery, accident, theft etc so we got together with our accident management company and we can now give the driver one number to cover all eventualities 24/7, 365 days a year. The company has access to all our suppliers and they deal with it. This cuts down driver downtime and also has lead to reduced maintenance costs and vehicle downtime.
Q: Do you implement any schemes to improve driver habits?
A: With the reporting suite of the telematics system we produce driver league tables which provides healthy competition. We also deliver training as well as in-vehicle assessment’s. We deliver regular toolbox talks to the drivers on various issues and also include outside agencies such as Police, VOSA and ROSPA.
Q: What is the most rewarding element of your role?
A: Being able to deliver the services efficiently and achieving value for money for our customers every year. Seeing how the drivers have responded to the behaviors and care of the fleet.
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