Eco Stars scheme helps HW Wilson cut fuel bill

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HW Wilson has achieved a 17% fuel saving over two years as a consequence of implementing changes recommended by the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme.

The company operates a 13-strong van fleet and joined the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme two years ago and was given a one star rating.

The Essex-based company, which has been in business for 80 years, received the lowest ECO Stars rating due to “relatively poor vehicle performance and a simple lack of records”, according to the Transport and Travel Research (TTR) assessor.

TTR manages the scheme on behalf of local authorities across the UK.

Aspiring to operate a greener and more efficient fleet, HW Wilson director Philip Pearson said: “Joining ECO Stars seemed a bit of a no-brainer. We would get our vans and fleet management methods assessed by specialists and told how we could potentially reduce carbon emissions and save money. Plus it was totally free.”

Following fleet assessment, the company was provided with an improvement road map that included a spreadsheet to monitor individual vehicle fuel usage.

Data recorded over six months highlighted two key issues: driving style contributed to poor fuel efficiency; and vans were often loaded to full capacity rather than just carrying tools and equipment needed on a per day basis thus unnecessarily increasing fuel consumption.

Pearson said: “It was a bit of an eye-opener when we first started monitoring our vehicles. We hadn’t realised how much our actions impacted on fuel consumption.

“Using the spreadsheet gave us vital information to help improve efficiency and assist with buying decisions of vehicles due for renewal.”

More recently vans have been fitted with trackers to ensure direct route optimisation between locations delivering further fuel savings with employee awareness boosted by league tables highlighting driver efficiency and van sharing has also been introduced.

What’s more, an unexpected benefit said Pearson was that the company was now able to be more competitive with job quotes as mileage and fuel usage could be more accurately gauged.

He said: “Our fuel saving was 12% in year one and we have improved that by a further 5% in the second year. That has meant we have cut our fuel bill by more than £2,000 enabling us to be more competitive and that is helping win business.”

Pearson concluded: “Our one star rating is just a start. We are seeing reductions in fuel costs, but we’ve a long way to go. We would recommend ECO Stars to any small business that operates vehicles.

“Getting free advice from the industry experts gives access to some of the fleet management techniques that the ‘big boys’ use - other businesses will definitely reduce their fuel consumption and save money just as we have.”

The company is due to be re-assessed in the next few weeks and is hopeful that the initiatives introduced and benefits seen will deliver a higher star rating.

What’s more its ‘green’ fleet progress was recognised when it won the Sustainable Transport (small business) title at the 2014 Thurrock Business Awards.

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