The forthcoming London Olympics will impact on Breezemount’s delivery scheduling due to road restrictions in the capital and the fact that Ikea’s Wembley store is its busiest. That will necessitate changes in vehicle routing and depot location of vehicles, which will in part be managed by Key2.
The rapid turnaround of so many vehicles would make it impossible to manage the fleet efficiently and meet contract requirements without specialist software, says Vallance.
Underlining the point, she says: “Key2 is updated as soon as vehicles are delivered or returned. If Key2 is not showing compliance they don’t go out on the road.
“In the past, it was extremely difficult to maintain a wall planner with vehicle availability and ensuring compliance, but we now have live compliance reporting.
“Breezemount has up-to-the-minute information on which vehicles are on/off hire. Delays in establishing end-of-contract charges has meant the company experienced an incident when it was charged several thousand pounds by a rental operator for vehicles that had already been returned. It was due to inadequate information from a rental supplier, but internal data had not been updated.
“Key2 delivers an instant audit of the status of the fleet, thus ensuring that we have our own accurate data and are not reliant on the accuracy of suppliers.”
However, with the Ikea contract in place – as well as other home delivery work in the UK and Ireland – Breezemount has just placed an order for 95 7.5- and 12-tonne DAF trucks and will soon look to add 50 LCVs to its fleet all on contract hire.
UK-based vehicles will be operated on three-year replacement cycles, with mileage pooled at 40,000 miles per annum. That ensures that not only does Breezemount comply with Ikea’s requirement for the company to meet vehicle environmental and age requirements, but also its own ‘green’ strategy and image demands.
All newly ordered vehicles will meet Euro5 emission regulations and with a three-year life they will be among the most fuel-efficient and low-emission models on the road.
The rapid transformation of the fleet, coupled with the opening of multiple locations across the country and the ability to meet operating criteria laid down by Ikea, necessitated an increase in the number of Operator Licences so, says Vallance, compliance with Vehicle and Operator Services Agency across the board was even more critical than previously.
“Each site was previously responsible for its own compliance. But now the system that we have in place and the way we operate means that a complete audit trail of vehicles is accessible to employees and VOSA inspectors if required,” she explains.
Vehicle managers, wherever they are located, have their default computer screen set at Key2, with a daily graphic clearly highlighting the on/off hire status of vehicles, maintenance schedules, whether VED is due, and tachograph and vehicle inspection information.
Additionally, across the fleet Breezemount uses Jaama’s Key2 Defect Manager module to ensure its entire fleet is compliant with its ‘nil defect’ operating policy.
It is natural for businesses to look for a return on investment following expenditure. However, acquisition of a sophisticated fleet management system was not about cost, says Vallance: “It was all about compliance. With such rapid growth we needed to ensure that we were 100% compliant and if VOSA inspectors came calling we were able to give them access to a complete audit trail.”
Not only is it vital for fleets that their entire vehicle operation is compliant, but it is also a legislative requirement that it has an audit trail of drivers in terms of their validity to drive.
As a result, Breezemount has replaced a manual driver licence check with Jaama’s electronic driver entitlement checking service (EDECS), which is a risk management tool and a driver information portal within Key2.
The system has already shown its worth, with pilot checks against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database resulting in two employees’ licences being ‘locked’. Those issues have been overcome and the employees continue to drive for the company. Now Breezemount is rolling out licence checking across the business.
Vallance says: “We need to ensure all of our drivers have valid licences and mitigate our risks. Even though we undertook manual checks, the fact that two licences were ‘locked’ by the DVLA was unnerving. The reports we are now receiving are very detailed and reassuring.”
A further development has seen the introduction of Shell’s euroShell fuel card with drivers instructed to fill up with the oil giant’s FuelSave Diesel, which Breezemount believes to be the most efficient available.
To further improve Breezemount’s ‘green’ focus, the company fits 3D aero deflectors to vehicles to improve fuel efficiency and is currently investigating making its new LCVs as aerodynamic as possible within weight and chassis requirements to maximise fuel efficiency.
“With a non-fixed fleet, it has been difficult to obtain accurate running costs. However, our move to an all-leased fleet, our fuel card data and tachograph information will all feed into Key2 so we will be able to analyse vehicles and driver efficiency on an individual basis,” said Vallance.
“That would have been impossible previously as we would have been totally reliant on employees at our sites accurately manually recording information. Now we can log into Key2 at any location and see exactly how efficient our vehicles and drivers are with live information.”
Next on Vallance’s agenda will be to integrate accident management data into Key2 and use that information to reduce vehicle downtime and costs and further improve delivery times and thus customer service.
She concludes: “The introduction of Key2 is delivering administration efficiencies, financial savings and operating benefits. However, above all we can show absolute compliance. Historically, the company was reliant on manual records, now we have an audit that proves we are compliant.”