Following coverage of Skanska’s successful bid to become a Driving for Better Business “Business Champion” UCFM talks to head of fleet, Julie Madoui (left), about her fleet strategy and to the newly-appointed fleet road risk manager Alison Moriarty
Skanska is one of the UK’s leading contractors with world-class expertise in public private partnerships. Skanska’s UK business was formed in 2000 and now employs more than 5,000 people.
The company provides construction services across many sectors including commercial, custodial, data centres, defence, education, healthcare, highways, rail, residential, street lighting and utilities.
As a result of this, the demands put on to the company’s fleet are high and managing this effectively can be challenging.
Managing costs, risk, safety and reducing CO2 are, of course, a top priority for any fleet. However, the fleet team at Skanska, headed by Julie Madoui, has set up a robust risk management process that has enabled other things to fall into place so that they can really maximise service levels.
Managing vehicles that are fit for purpose and safety enabled is no mean feat on a fleet like this and it is essential that safe systems of work are in place including documented processes and procedures, realistic route planning, robust maintenance regimes and analysis of incident statistics.
Managing driver behaviour effectively is also a contributing factor to fleet safety and also keeping down emissions. Skanska is keen to instill a safe driving culture throughout the business and the appointment of Alison Moriaty (above right) has enabled the company to take this to the next level which ultimately will provide cost savings and enhance the company’s reputation.
INTERVIEW WITH HEAD OF FLEET, JULIE MADOUI
Describe your role as Head of Fleet at Skanska UK.
I am responsible for the development and delivery of the feet strategy for our business so that Skanska delivers innovative and cost-effective solutions to our operating units which continuously improve operational efficiency, health and safety, environment, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility.
This includes all procurement activities associated with the sourcing of vehicles (company cars and commercials) including supply chain development and management. I am responsible for the management and development of a central fleet team (supported by project based Transport Managers), who provide full management services to all of the company’s projects. Our key activities include the development of policies, handbooks and procedures, occupational road risk management, operator licence management and compliance, fuel and fines management, and the maintenance of a core fleet management system including reporting. I also am financially accountable for the costs of all activities, and their charge-out to the projects in line with vehicle allocations.
A key part of my role is to actively be involved in external forums (associations) where we can help support industry in improving the impact that vehicles have on the environment, both in terms of safety and sustainability, as well as engaging with the local community.
The rising cost of fuel is a major concern for fleet operators, what are you doing to combat this?
This is a major focus area for the business. We currently purchase our fuel based on Platts pricing, select vehicles based on whole life costing, and use telematics in some areas of our business to manage vehicle scheduling.
Going forward there will be a greater emphasis on the use of telematics within our fleet to enable us to continue to reduce the cost of fuel whilst at the same time as reducing our risks from driving activities.
What other issues and challenges are currently facing your fleet operation?
We need to continuously focus on occupational road risk, and the rising costs of vehicle insurance, as well as the cost of incidents. Over the past few years we have reduced our accident frequency rate and our insurance premiums, but there is still more to be done. With a large increase in the size of our commercial fleet and drivers last year, and our company’s growth plans, we decided now was the time to bring in the skills of a qualified Fleet Road Risk Manager to support our team and enhance upon our current performance in this area.
Is it possible to reduce costs and still offer an efficient service?
One of my key achievements this year is the delivery and implementation of a new Fleet Management system into our business in order to improve operational efficiency (Key 2 from Jaama). This enables us to hold all fleet data in one core system (both vehicle and driver related) allowing us an opportunity to streamline our processes and procedures, and use technology to improve upon data management and reporting.
The reporting and scheduling tools available within Key 2, will automate a number of our functions, allowing greater focus on other areas of spend and cost reduction.
Do Electric Vehicles have a presence on the fleet and are you running any other carbon-cutting initiatives to fit in with Skanska’s environmental ethos?
Skanska currently have a number of electric cars and vans on their fleet. The selection process for electric vehicles is driven around range, toll charges and carrying capacity, but there are definitely some projects where this is suitable i.e. working in London or where a vehicle is required purely to move around a site. We continue to trial other alternative fuel in order to meet our environmental targets. Our company car fleet currently includes a high percentage of hybrids.
How beneficial is the use of telematics on your fleet and what information can you obtain for the system you use, and what are the benefits and issues?
We have realised savings just in fuel consumption of between 10-13% based on the use of telematics. There are also additional safety benefits as well as vehicle optimisation improvements. Skanska is currently in the process of finalising a telematics procurement event in order to enter into an agreement with a telematic partner, as this is a key strategic objective for 2014 in order to further improve upon vehicle utilisation, fuel usage and driver risk management, as well as offering other operational enhancements around gritters, gulley emptiers etc..
What kind of specialist vehicles do you have on the fleet?
We operate a number of vacuum excavators on our joint venture project with National Grid, and winter maintenance vehicles on our Highways projects. Our procurement strategy includes looking at alternative vehicles, whereby one vehicle can provide multi-operational solutions i.e. unibodies.
Why is it important to gain accreditation?
The accreditation audits demonstrate that our processes and procedures are robust and are continually reviewed and improved upon. They also provide confidence to our clients that they are working with an organisation that has safety at the core of all of its activities.
I am part of the TfL CLOCS working group, and am actively involved in improving vehicle safety for vulnerable road users. All of our fleet, as well as supply chain vehicles delivering to our projects, have incorporated the TfL vehicle standard as part of our standard vehicle specifications.
INTERVIEW WITH FLEET ROAD RISK MANAGER, ALISON MORIATY
Describe your role as Skanska’s Fleet Road Risk Manager
My aims and objectives are to reduce the number of collisions in the fleet, reduce fuel consumption and instill a safe driving culture in all our drivers.
I manage the team that supports the business to ensure that we reduce the risk of running a large fleet of commercial vehicles and cars, to its lowest possible level.
We are responsible for organising driving licence checking, arranging driver risk assessments and associated training and for ensuring that the same rigorous checks are in place for people who choose to drive their own cars on business.
My role is to liaise with the contracts to identify issues and support them to continuously improve the driving behavior by raising awareness and training and to work with our clients to provide a joined up approach to improving fleet safety.
I also support in the investigation of incidents, to understand the root cause and to put measures in place to avoid reoccurrence.
Skanska has a very strong safety culture, driven by our Injury-Free Environment (IFE) programme. Its all about getting people home, safely, to their families at the end of the day.
What new measures have been brought into place since you started the role?
Since joining Skanska I have brought fleet safety into the larger safety arena and it is one of the high level IFE focuses for the next 12 months.
I have been working with contracts to deliver behavioural safety training to the drivers and help them to identify the risks involved with driving and to actively reduce them.
I have also brought a greater emphasis on investigating fleet related incidents to both avoid re-occurrence and to help drivers to understand how their behaviour may have contributed to the incident.
How important is it to take part in campaigns such as Driving for Better Business?
Any business that runs a fleet has a moral responsibility for trying to improve safety on our roads. It’s also very important to acknowledge that driving safely is also driving efficiently and there are many cost benefits to companies who improve their vehicle safety record.
Being a ‘Driving for Better Business’ champion allows us to share best practice and help other companies and organisations to start to focus on the issues at hand. Improving fleet safety is not a competitive sport, if other fleets are driving more safely then our drivers are safer, we all use the same roads.
Are you involved in any other road safety campaigns?
We are also very involved with the road safety charity Brake. Skanska is a corporate sponsor, and we already have a number of Brake Ambassadors and are looking at training more employees this year to have a network of Ambassadors who can take the message both into the business and out into the community. Last year we delivered the campaign aimed at young drivers into a local high school and are going to be extending this to other schools this year.
We are also very active in trying to minimise risk to vulnerable road users, such as cyclists. Julie Madoui (Head of Fleet) is on the construction logistics and cyclist safety (CLOCS) working group, which is run by Transport for London (TfL)
What’s next for Skanska to further improve driving standards and accident rates?
We will continue to improve the safety culture of our driver’s by raising awareness and training and continually strive to raise the bar.
We will be working with a new telematics provider to aid us to identify issues in a timely manner and set a strategy to focus on improvement.
We are also reviewing policies and procedures to ensure that they are concise, clear and give a solid structure for keeping our fleet risk to a minimum.
Skanska recognises that driving for work is a high risk activity and that continuous improvement is an absolute necessity.