Gary White talks about his role as Fleet Management Team Leader at North Yorkshire County Council and the benefits of utilising framework agreements
Name: Gary White
Job Title: Team Leader Fleet Management
Organisation: North Yorkshire County Council
Time in role: 7 years
Previous job: Vehicle Controller – Nissan Manufacturing UK
Plant/Specials: 65 Trailer gritters
What is your remit as Fleet Management Team Leader at North Yorkshire County Council?
In the main I provide support to a number of fleet user departments in the authority, the day to day Management is delegated to the specific department managers; my role is much broader and focuses on the longer term strategic issues such as procurement, compliance and system management.
That’s not to say I don’t have a hand on the day to day running, I take a special interest in the HGV fleet, and work more closely with the counties flagship operation, its fleet of minibuses.
What geographical challenges face your council fleet and what types of vehicle are deployed in order to deliver front line services?
Ours is a large, rural county and the distances can be an issue, however our vehicles are well placed around the county to provide the maximum effectiveness to users. I am keen to ensure our customer’s needs are at the core of any decisions about vehicle types.
We have a range of fleet vehicles, ranging from Peugeot Bipper vans, to 4x4s as you would expect in a rural county like ours.
We also look to maximise vehicle potential for example a 4x4 may be on ranger duty during the day, but also called on for out of hour’s transportation of vulnerable clients during the recent floods. The vehicles from the in house transport fleet also played a vital part in moving those affected by the floods.
Are you running any carbon cutting initiatives and do electric vehicles have a presence on your fleet?
The impact on the environment is always at the forefront of our thinking. We are keen to ensure that any vehicles we have on fleet have the lowest CO2 emissions for the class of vehicle we require. At the moment I don’t feel the infrastructure is in place to support electric vehicle operations in our area, but I can see a time in the not too distant future, given the leaps in technology when electric vehicles will join our fleet.
How much does technology affect your role and what initiatives have you rolled out recently – or plan to roll out – utilising new technology?
The majority of our vehicles, are fitted with telematics, we have just gone out seeking quotes for the next three years. Incidentally this brings me on to a recent project I am involved with, around the Tour De France.
I have assisted with the joined-up work on ensuring all the relevant authorities’ vehicles, such as Harrogate and Hambleton were visible to all throughout the event. This meant that our people on the ground will have a picture of where vehicles are and quickly direct the nearest vehicle to a trouble spot.
We are also looking at the ways we can become more effective by using on-line checking of driver’s licences.
How do you make decisions about which vehicles and equipment you source for your fleets?
I work closely with the user departments, to scope out a specification for the vehicles they require, we start with a wish list and then drill down to what is essential for the job, and the most cost-effective way of supplying that demand. We carry out a detailed financial analysis for each vehicle. We buy, looking at whole life costs, this also determines whether we purchase or lease vehicles.
We do still purchase vehicles and have a close working partnership with Ringway Infrastructure Services (RIS) who maintain the in-house fleet.
One of the obvious issues when looking at purchase/lease is predicting future requirements; at the moment we are fairly confident in leasing for five years, but who is to say what the future holds
What benefits do you get by utilising framework agreements and asset consultancy?
The frameworks from The Procurement Partnership Ltd provide a direct route to market, with substantial discounts. The hard work of negotiating with suppliers is done for us, and it really is a no brainer. It has led to several large savings, both in cost and CO2.
Does making cost savings impact on the effectiveness of the operation?
Not at all, we have seen prices getting keener from our suppliers and with careful management it is possible to reduce costs without compromising on quality or service delivery.
Are you a member of any professional associations and have you gained any accreditations?
We are members of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), and Community Transport Association (CTA), I have found them both to be excellent sources of information and advice.
What is the most rewarding element of your role?
I get a lot of satisfaction out of problem solving, and on a day- to-day basis I never know what challenges will be thrown up.
…and what is the most frustrating?
Managing our users expectations, but to be frank we are getting there, all be it more slowly than I would like.