Fleet case study: Wakefield and District Housing

More than two decades of knowledge and experience gained in the regulated HGV sector are being used by Rick Young to run an award-winning light commercial vehicle fleet.

The heavy haulage sector is so tightly regulated through the O-Licence that, says Young: “It is hard not to do things right.”

By contrast the light commercial vehicle sector is ‘lightly’ regulated so when Young took on the newly-created fleet manager role at Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) he used O-Licence standards as the template for the organisation’s 360-strong van operation.

“That is the way I still run the fleet because van operations don’t have a set standard,” said Young, who won the Small Public Sector Fleet title in the 2012 Fleet Van Awards.

However, he is hoping to change the perception of van fleets and is a leading figure in the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence scheme.

WDH was among the first organisations to join the initiative and Young has recently been elected vice-chairman of the Van Excellence Good Governance Committee, which oversees the direction of the organisation.

Van Excellence is an industry-led initiative backed by the Freight Transport Association that aims to enhance standards of van operator compliance.

Running a safe transport operation

“All fleet operators should join Van Excellence,” says Young.

“By joining Van Excellence and adhering to the code, fleet operators know they are managing vehicles the right way and running a safe transport operation.”

Since its launch in 2011, Van Excellence has grown to include vehicle manufacturers and LCV suppliers as well as van operators.

Young says: “Van Excellence is becoming more and more recognised.

"I think operators will start to highlight Van Excellence accreditation in their tender documents as a business requirement for manufacturers and other suppliers.”

Meanwhile, it is a new four-year fleet tender that has Young’s focus this year with the new contract due to be in place on January 1, 2014.

The urban fleet of 360 LCVs – 358 vans from across the Citroën range and two Land Rover Defenders with one adapted as a snow plough and gritter – are driven by tradesman employed by WDH, one of the country’s largest social landlords with more than 31,000 homes.

The diesel vans are replaced four-yearly, irrespective of mileage although that is below 10,000 miles per van per year with mileage pooled.

The fleet was leased via Lombard Vehicle Management, and transferred to Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions earlier this year.

Value for money from leasing partners

The new tender is via the Government Procurement Service’s framework agreement which features seven approved manufacturers and nine contract hire and leasing companies.

“My time is being spent working alongside our procurement department in making sure that we get the right manufacturers and right leasing companies to deliver the right product and value for money is obtained,” says Young

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