By Mark Cartwright, head of LCVs, Freight Transport Association
The start of a new year is always a good time to look back at how things went in the previous 12 months and to look forward to this year’s aims.
I think it’s safe to say that Van Excellence started to make its mark during 2012.
There are now more than 120 operators on the scheme who between them have in excess of 160,000 vans or around 5% of the total number of vans on the UK’s roads.
You’ll have spotted the Van Excellence logo being proudly displayed on vans run by AAH Pharmaceuticals, Clancy Docwra, Iron Mountain, the National Blood Service, and many more.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, most of the fleets involved so far are on the large side.
These are the kind of operators who quickly understood the reasons for the scheme and how it was a natural fit with their corporate demands for compliance, safety and efficiency.
Over the past few months, however, we have seen an increasing interest from smaller fleets and this expansion of the scheme is clearly something we’d wish to build on through 2013, supported by the development of our free fleet guides (www.fta.vanfleetguides.co.uk) and our Van Excellence conferences (fta.co.uk/events/van_excellence_conferences)
We wanted to understand what was holding back some of the smaller fleets in considering Van Excellence. We were pretty confident the pricing (£550) wasn’t too much of an issue, but what was it?
Majority support aims
We surveyed a number of operators across a wide range of fleet sizes and types of operation to explore the issues.
We soon established that, while a high per-centage understood and supported the aims of Van Excellence in providing an operational best practice framework, quite a few of these supporters had some doubts about their ability to meet the standards required for accreditation and were reticent about starting the process.
An operator who prefers to remain anonymous summed it up by saying: “We think we’re doing OK but really don’t fancy spending time to find out that we’re not up to scratch.”
So let’s look at the kind of operational standards we found among the respondents.