Fleet case study: BT Fleet

A potential £4 million a year fuel bill saving and a carbon footprint reduction of up to 25,000 tonnes in 2013 – the equivalent of removing 1,900 London taxis from the roads – are the headline benefits of BT remapping the engines powering 23,000 of its commercial vehicles.

Historically engine remapping has been the preserve of boy racers hungry for extra performance from their ‘hot’ hatch.

However, BT Fleet, which manages BT’s 33,000-strong vehicle fleet, considered engine remapping as being a potential cost-saving opportunity after being charged by its parent company with making operational cost savings.

Following a pilot programme and extensive trialling, a business case won board backing in summer 2012.
Now 23,000 vehicles – typically panel vans but also some specialist vehicles deemed suitable – have had their engines remapped. The result is:

  • The first world’s major deployment of engine remapping
  • The largest ever fleet globally to implement such a programme.

BT Fleet says it has been able to dispel many myths traditionally associated with the exercise:

  • That it would cause a vehicle to smoke
  • Vehicle life expectancy could be shortened and part longevity impacted
  • Stress would be placed on a vehicle’s drivetrain and components.

But ECU remapping has not been undertaken in isolation. It is one of a number of cost-saving initiatives that BT Group has introduced on its fleet in recent years.

Collectively, measured savings over the last three years run into the millions of pounds as a result of improved vehicle utilisation and extended replacement cycles as well as fuel bill savings against a background of rising pump prices.

Effectively BT Group has removed almost 2,000 vehicles – despite the recruitment of more than 1,500 engineers to continue the roll out of super fast broadband nationwide and reduce weather-induced work ‘spikes’.

In considering where cost savings could be made, BT Fleet built up a comprehensive data-based picture of vehicle utilisation, downtime and availability married to driver time sheets and job use.

Joe Fielder, BT fleet sales and marketing director, says: “We have been able to make capital cost savings running into millions of pounds because we are able to run the fleet in a more intelligent manner.”

That, for example, sees two or three engineers utilise one vehicle instead of BT Group operating a one driver/one vehicle approach, vehicle versatility improved with vans equipped to perform multiple job functions and vans redistributed nationwide depending on age/mileage profile.

Employee shift patterns were reviewed, long-term sick leave analysed to help shape a more ‘fluid fleet’, spare parts provision through BT Fleet’s owned network of 63 garages improved and telemetry now in almost 20,000 vehicles was used to improve utilisation.

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