The FTA's Van Excellence Review 2014 has recognised and celebrated the role vans and van operators play in supporting UK plc, while outlining the challenges facing the operators and drivers on a day-to-day basis.
Announced at the Fleet Van Summit yesterday (September 18), the report outlines the importance of the UK van market which is the fastest growing in the automotive sector with 3.4 million vehicles.
The document highlights the the role of the van stating that it is ‘a versatile tool for modern business,’ used by local authorities, utilities companies, infrastructure and facilities maintenance, engineers and delivery firms.
However, it also identifies the operational challenges and the need to professionalise the van sector.
Responding to the findings in the inaugural Van Excellence Review, FTA has outlined the need to professionalise the UK van fleet and as a result has ‘thrown down the gauntlet’- to van operators not already accredited by Van Excellence scheme - to join forces and raise standards in their day-to-day operations.
Mark Cartwright (pictured), head of vans at FTA, said: “FTA Van Excellence would like to issue a challenge, an invitation and a call to action to anyone associated with the van sector. Vans underpin the economic activity of the UK. In this report we have identified the many challenges with affect van operators and the various solutions which are possible.
"We feel passionately about taking action to professionalise the UK van parc, empowering the inspiring all to raise standards, improve safety and encourage the commercial success of UK plc. Professionalising the industry will bring benefits to both society and industry.”
Since its launch in 2010 the Van Excellence programme has captured the imagination of the commercial vehicle sector and attracted a determined and dedicated membership of professional fleet operators and loyal suppliers determined to raise standards. But FTA believes it is now time for more to ‘step-up-to-the-plate’ and help professionalise the fast growing industry.
Cartwright added: “Thanks to the growth of e-retail and home delivery, the importance of the van has grown even further, with major retailers, who once focused on HGV fleets delivering to distribution centres and stores, now having, national van fleets as well.
"Over the years the van has become a huge part of everything we do - whether we are in business, buying things via the internet or simply going about our everyday lives. Van Excellence members already recognise the importance of excellence in their operations, but it is now time for all in the sector to join forces and help professionalise this growing industry.”
Van Excellence has more than 80 accredited members, with more joining by week. It is an industry-led solution which illustrates high standards of operation in order to enhance the reputation of the sector. It also combines best practices and associated agencies, from manufacturers to enforcement agencies, together in one collaborative and progressive venture.
FTA managing director membership and policy James Hookham added: “The Van Excellence Review sets out the achievements and ambition of all those involved in the programme.
"Every operator that achieves Van Excellence status is a hero, partly for persevering through the sometimes demanding bureaucracy that comes with any scheme that asks you to prove your claims to good practice, but also for deciding to take a stand and put what they do to the ultimate test – the scrutiny of their peers.
"This review is a salute to all involved and a tribute to the progress made in the pursuit of excellence.”