Sharp ■ Informed ■ Challenging
Principle Pallet’s dream over as it shuts up shop p3
Look, no mirrors
Tuffnells fined £1.5m after driver is crushed
Mercedes-Benz Actros sets new technological bar p6
Read all about it
Menzies Distribution under new management p8
DVSA job freeze DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn has ordered a freeze on recruitment at the agency with immediate effect. In a letter to staff seen by MT he asks that all directors review their current and future vacancies and temporarily pause all recruitment except where an offer of employment has been made. Llewellyn said: “The DVSA is at risk of breaching its headcount target.”
Tuffnells Parcels Express, part of Connect Group, has been fined £1.5m after a driver died when he was trapped between a trailer and his vehicle. Dudley Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 22 January 2016, a Tuffnells Parcels Express employee was fatally injured while attempting to attach a trailer to his vehicle. The trailer was parked on a slight slope, which was enough to allow it to roll forward and trap him. An HSE investigation into the incident found safety management arrangements for coupling trailers to vehicles failed to take into account the slope. Tuffnells Parcels Express,
of Wallows Industrial Estate, Dudley, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act
1974 and was ordered to pay costs of more than £32,823. Following the hearing, HSE inspector Karl Raw said: “Had
Tuffnells taken the slope into account, simple measures could have been taken that would have prevented this incident. Workplace transport remains a high risk environment, and this case serves as a reminder to industry that assessments of sites should be specific and identify the hazards unique to each yard. “It is a reminder that the slope a vehicle is parked on does not need to be steep for incidents to occur. This was a tragic and avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to adopt robust management in planning and monitoring the workplace and workplace actions at this site.”
Next-day deliveries are in jeopardy post-Brexit if government does not confirm status of EU workers
Brexit threatens next-day services By Chris Tindall
Next-day deliveries are in danger of becoming a thing of the past unless certainty over the status of EU workers is provided by the government, the GMB union has claimed. The warning came as the union obtained figures from the Office for National Statistics that revealed a third of warehousing and storage workers are EU nationals. T he figures also show that EU nationals make up more than 20% of the workforce in 18 industries and that in the
economy as a whole their share of the workforce rose to 7.6% in 2017, up from 7.2% the previous year. The GMB said employers needed to improve wages and conditions after Brexit or 21st-century comforts such as swift courier services would disappear. It said the findings would spark fears for the future of some industries if there is not certainty over the status of current EU workers and a clear plan for meeting the UK’s labour shortfalls after Brexit. The FTA agreed a lack
of clarity over the status of EU workers will jeopardise the resilience of the supply chain on which next-day deliveries depend. FTA head of skills campaigning Sally Gilson (left) said: “Employers need clarification on who they will be allowed to employ, and the work these staff will be eligible to undertake, now, rather than waiting until March 2019. “More than 113,000 EU workers are employed in warehousing positions, and with a significant shortage of available British staff to take up
these roles, it is clear that the logistics industry would be significantly affected. “In addition, these roles are not spread evenly across the country, making recruitment very difficult without the support of European employees.” The warning came in the wake of a second series of no-deal technical papers published last week that did not include the keenly awaited international haulage technical paper. In response, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Without clarity, any changes in supply chain operations cannot be delivered
between now and next March. With so many unanswered questions, how can businesses prepare?”
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Would-be pallet network fails to deliver on early promise and shuts shop
Lights out at Principle ATL expands in as ‘project is no more’ the Midlands Ascott Transport (ATL) inaugurated its Midlands hub in Foston earlier this month. Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, officially opened the 35,000-pallet DC and offices, which is on a 25-acre freehold site near the A50, on 6 September. MD Jon Ward spoke at the event, as did ATL co-founder Norma Ascott and her two sons Pete and Joey Ascott. Ward, who joined in April, said: “Over the past five years, we’ve doubled in size, so we’ve invested heavily in additional storage and office space to accommodate this growth and customer demand.” Clark said: “ATL is a brilliant example of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the region and has a proud history as a business run by the same family for 60 years.” Clark said: “The Midlands is vital to the UK economy and home to some of our most iconic and productive businesses.” The Palletline member also has a site in Carlisle.
By Chris Druce
Principle Pallet Network’s bid to become the UK’s ninth pallet network has ended in failure, according to its former MD Adam Leonard. The network, originally set-up by ex-Fortec directors Marcus Fischer and Neil Hodgson, was due to debut operationally in 2016 but did not deliver within that timeframe. Having remained under the radar since, the network secured a central hub earlier this year, and seemingly renewed momentum, with
the former Birds Transport site at 1 Parsonage Street, Oldbury, Birmingham, its new home. However, a source in the pallet network sector told MT that Principle had left the location and calls to the business no longer connect, although its website is still live. MT contacted a business near the Parsonage Street site last week and was told Montgomery Transport vehicles were operating from it. A call to the haulage firm’s owner Ballyvesey Holdings was initially routed to the
Parsonage Street location and a Montgomery employee. However, Ballyvesey Holdings, which owns the former Birds site, declined to comment. As MT went to press, Leonard confirmed that “sadly the project is no more”, but was unable to provide more detail. However, speaking in July, he said the future of the fledgling network would be settled within days at an investors’ meeting. He was brought in earlier this year, as founders Hodgson and then Fischer departed the
business, to get it back on track. He said: “At this stage the business is not in administration and no members of staff have been made redundant, although some have left. “There are issues regarding what was done before our involvement at the network,” he added, referring to his appointment and that of ex-Nightfreight boss Robbie Burns and entrepreneur Piyush Shah as directors. Parent company Principle Group has a county court judgment for £3,008 outstanding against it at present.
PETROL HEAD: Hoyer has added 89 MAN TGS vehicles to its Petrolog division. The order comprises 75 replacement vehicles and 14 additional vehicles, all with 420hp engines. The majority (85) of the trucks have day cabs, and the remainder have sleeper cabs. Hoyer Petrolog UK operations director Allan Davison said: “We are delighted to be bringing in new vehicles to replace our older tractor units and additional vehicles to support our expanding aviation and ground fuels business and, in doing so, continuing our longstanding relationship with MAN.” The trucks join a UK fleet of more than 500 vehicles.
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“WE’RE REGULARLY ACHIEVING AN AVERAGE OF OVER 11 MPG.” “I’ve just taken two new Scania R 450s. Like for like comparison with existing R 450s, we’re seeing a 1 mpg improvement. That’s an excellent fuel return over our annual 150,000 km. Driveability and modern feel are top of my agenda because driver retention is key. Our drivers love them.” Paul Jackson, Managing Director Chiltern Cold Storage Group Ltd.
Charge-free Clean Air Zones
The next Mercedes-Benz Actros is claimed to set a new technological bar for a truck
No mirrors, fuel economy up and semi-autonomous By Will Shiers
Mercedes-Benz launched its refreshed Actros in Berlin earlier this month (6 September). Although it features similar exterior styling to its predecessor, the latest truck stands out for what it does not have: exterior mirrors. Instead, the flagship truck features a MirrorCam instead, something the manufacturer claims improves fuel efficiency too. The headline fuel economy improvement figure is up to 5%, but that’s only on rural routes. On motorways the improvements are likely to be up to 3%. The savings have been achieved by improving the satellite-based Predictive Powertrain Control intelligent cruise control, which Mercedes claims is more efficient than before. Also helping to reduce fuel consumption are new rear-axle ratios. The truck is a little bit more slippery than its predecessor too, thanks to the
6 MotorTransport MTR_170918_006.indd 6
external mirrors being replaced by cameras, new concave-shaped cab side deflectors, and an improved roof spoiler. In terms of driver safety, the big news is Active Drive Assist, which makes the truck semi-autonomous at all speeds. Meanwhile, Active Brake Assist 5 not only helps to eradicate rear-end collisions, but is better at protecting pedestrians than its predessessor. The truck’s main and wide-angle mirrors have been replaced by MirrorCam, which consists of two cameras mounted on the cab’s exterior, and a pair of 15in
screens on the A-pillars – a first for a series produced model. The fifth generation of Active Brake Assist uses a radar and camera system. The main benefit to this is that in addition to spotting and reacting to moving people, it will also recognise static pedestrians and apply the brakes. The new Actros features level two automated driving. The optional Active Drive Assist package, which combines the Proximity Control Assist system with Lane Keeping Assist, uses radar and camera data to brake, accelerate and steer the truck. The system, which has a stopand-go function for use in heavy traffic, keeps a safe distance between the truck and the vehicle in front. Prices will be announced at the IAA Show in Hannover later this month and UK order books will be open on 1 October, with deliveries starting in April 2019. ■ See Viewpoint, page 12.
HGVs below Euro-6 standards will not be charged for entering Nottingham and Derby’s Clean Air Zones (CAZ) when they are launched in January 2020. Both cities’ CAZ proposals have rejected the option to charge vehicles entering their CAZ schemes. The cities are part of a group of five conurbations, including Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton, tasked with setting up the first CAZs outside of London by January 2020. Unlike Leeds’s CAZ, which plans to charge all nonEuro-6 trucks a £50 daily entry charge, Nottingham is proposing to drive down emissions through retrofitting the city’s older buses to Euro-6 standards and by requiring taxis improve their emission standards. The council will also replace its HGVs with electric vehicles. Derby has opted for a car scrappage scheme backed by grants to encourage residents and businesses to move to ultra low emission vehicles. The city also plans to improve traffic flow on the inner city ring road. Both schemes are out for consultation. Nottingham councillor Sally Longford said: “Although we considered a Class B clean air zone – which would have affected HGVs, buses and taxis – the actions we’re taking will have a positive effect across the whole city, rather than just in one area.” Derby councillor Asaf Afzal said: “The council has no intention of implementing measures that introduce additional costs for residents and businesses, while not achieving the necessary air quality improvements.” Hauliers affected by Birmingham’s CAZ plans are invited to a free half-day roadshow to find out more and help prepare fleets. Along with other major cities, the council is consulting on a charging zone for older vehicles, meaning only Euro-6 trucks can enter for free when a CAZ is in place. The event takes place on 11 October at Aston Villa FC, Birmingham, and will feature workshops about the city’s refuelling centre, vehicle hire and a range of alternative fuels. ■ Register at motortransport. co.uk/clean-air-birmingham. 17.9.18
Right Truck. Right Spec. Right Now. WorkReady from Mercedes-Benz. Off-the-shelf vehicles that are tailored for your business. Contact your local Dealer to find out more about our range of WorkReady trucks.
Menzies deal is new owner Endless’s largest investment to date
Menzies Distribution begins new chapter By Chris Druce
Menzies Distribution has been sold to private equity firm Endless. Last year owner John Menzies, which has been looking to divest the business, pulled the plug on a sale to DX Group, which had a rollercoaster of a year itself in 2017. Two years ago, the firm’s management started to diversify the business and began working with national parcel carriers operating in the retail space. Thanks to this, it has
“The KRONE team always give a little bit extra: Every trailer delivered to us comes with comprehensive parts back-up, complete service support and above all, unmatched trailer industry know-how.” Peter Oesterby Hansen. International Director, WH Bowker International
continued to win business in its core sector of newspaper and magazine distribution, landing a “significant” deal with Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, in June at the expense of rival CEVA Logistics. Menzies Distribution MD Greg Michael (left), said: “This is great news for Menzies Distribution. While it’s business as usual, becoming an independent company enables us to be in control of our destiny and reinvest to fulfil our ambitious growth and diversification plans. “The recent major UK-wide primary trunking contract to collect and deliver all daily and weekly regional newspapers
printed by Reach is an example of our successful diversification strategy in action.” Aidan Robson, partner at Endless, said: “Menzies Distribution represents Endless’s largest investment to date and is an exciting acquisition. We look forward to working closely with Greg and the rest management team to deliver our shared vision for this business.” Menzies Distribution has a turnover of £1.1bn and employs approximately 3,700 people across 56 sites throughout the UK and Ireland. The business distributes more than 7 million newspapers and magazines every day.
Shhh.. how quiet have you been? Freight operators are encouraged to enter this year’s Noise Abatement Society John Connell Awards to highlight efforts made in reducing the sound made by deliveries into urban or residential areas. A Quiet Logistics category is open to operators, vehicle manufacturers, trailer makers, bodybuilders and equipment
suppliers that have created quieter products, services and programmes to facilitate safe, low-noise and efficient urban distribution services in the past year. The ceremony will be held at the Palace of Westminster on 24 October. ■ Find out more at noise abatementsociety.com/ john-connell-awards.
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Foulger Transport, part of Kinaxia Logistics, has promoted Sue Pye to MD. Pye joined Kinaxia earlier this year as service and quality manager, responsible for managing operational and customer service across the group. Before Kinaxia, Pye worked for Palletline, where she was responsible for service quality. Kinaxia Logistics director Peter Fields said: “Sue brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role. Having worked closely alongside the team at Foulger Transport, she has gained an in-depth understanding of the business and its customers, making it a natural progression for her to move into the MD position.” Carlos Rodrigues has been appointed to the new position of MD at Renault Trucks UK and Ireland, effective from 1 October. Renault and Volvo were previously overseen by Volvo Group UK MD Arne Knaben. Rodrigues was previously chief financial officer at Volvo Group Trucks UK. His appointment follows the decision to separate Volvo Group Trucks into their traditional Renault Trucks and Volvo Trucks brands in the UK and Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Italy and France. The new structure will come into place on the same day that Rodrigues becomes MD. 17.9.18
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Focus: Warehousing Development brings hopes of increased demand in next few years
Amazon boost for north-east The decision by Amazon to open a 1.5 million sq ft DC in Darlington has boosted what was otherwise a quiet period for the logistics property market in the north-east. There are now hopes that the next few years will bring an improvement and several development sites are coming forward that could accommodate an increase in demand. The Amazon building, which will use high levels of automation, is due for completion next summer. The £120m building is being developed by db symmetry and funded by Tritax Big Box with which Amazon has a 20-year lease. Other activity includes a 130,000sq ft warehouse being built for flame-retardant paint manufacturer TOR Coatings at Follingsby Park in Gateshead, due for completion this month (September). In addition, distribution firm Katem Logistics took a 95,000sq ft warehouse at Bowburn, near Durham. Nick Atkinson, a director of north-east agents HTA Real Estate, said such deals show the market has improved after low levels of activity in the first
part of the year. There are also hopes that demand for warehousing will be boosted by production of a new Nissan model in Sunderland from 2020. “It was a very slow start to the year but there have been signs of encouragement in the last three to four months,” he said. This follows a mixed few years for the region. According to Knight Frank last year’s takeup of buildings above 50,000sq ft was 1.22 million sq ft, up from 2016’s 1.1 million sq ft but below the 2.2 million sq ft achieved in 2015. Knight Frank partner Simon Haggie said the market is grinding along with the majority of requirements in the mid-
range market. “Most demand is for 40,000sq ft to 100,000sq ft,” he said. However, developers are sufficiently confident to bring forward land. In July, Highgrove Group received planning consent for 2.5 million sq ft at Follingsby Max in Gateshead (pictured above), next to the existing Follingsby Park development. In Sunderland, the International Advanced Manufacturing Plant could accommodate 2.75 million sq ft opposite the Nissan plant. Also, db symmetry could develop 550,000sq ft of space next to the Amazon site. At Teesport, PD Ports has consent for 477,000sq ft of port-related warehousing in two buildings.
Leicester Commercial Park completed
Joint developers Goodman and Wilson Bowden have completed construction of a 40-acre speculative development called Leicester Commercial Park. Two warehouses totalling 430,000sq ft have been built at the site, near J3 of the M69 and J21 of the M1. 10 MotorTransport MTR_170918_010.indd 10
A larger 335,000sq ft building has a 15m internal height and includes 11,500sq ft of offices.A smaller building of 95,000sq ft has an internal height of 12m and 4,100sq ft of offices. Both were developed to a ‘very good’ specification under the BREEAM environ-
mental standards. Goodman development director Nigel Dolan said: “With strong market demand, the development is ideally placed to serve the needs of our customers and will provide much-needed new logistics space in the East Midlands.”
LoCITY lowdown A monthly look at work to cut CV emissions. This month, Vincent Dignam, business performance and transport group manager at the City of London Corporation, on the authority’s adoption of electric refuse collection vehicles Of all the local authorities, the City of London has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country. Our location at the heart of London brings traffic and people into the same space. This, combined with the density of buildings, makes tackling emissions a key priority for public health. We have taken strong steps to transform our own fleet. In 2016 we implemented a corporation-wide ‘no diesel’ policy. For every new vehicle purchased we complete a business case to ensure we’ve chosen the cleanest vehicle for the job. We’ve been operating electric vehicles for years, mainly cars and light vehicles, but were limited in the HGV sector. As a result, we started talks with various suppliers to see what alternatives could be sourced for a refuse collection vehicle. Our journey to zero started as the City and NRG worked closely while a new vehicle was developed by Electra. It took until January 2018 before the full vehicle was launched at the Future Fleet forum. In May 2018 our waste department started a live trial for the vehicle at Smithfield meat market within one of London’s five Low Emission Neighbourhoods. Our drivers found the transition from diesel to electric very easy and were impressed with how quietly the vehicle operated with no white noise or vibrations. Operationally, our vehicle also performed better than expected, carrying out 200-plus bin lifts and compactions over an eight-hour period then travelling a 20-mile round trip to tip the waste. At the end of this working day the vehicle usually had approximately 65% charge left, meaning that it could have carried on for another shift before charging. The vehicle operated for two months and received praise from the public, who were impressed at the lack of idling issues, how quietly it operated and the total lack of tailpipe emissions. We are now tendering our waste contract to coincide with the launch of ULEZ in April 2019. We are expecting these electric refuse collection vehicles to form a key part of our new fleet and feel proud to be leading the way towards a zero-carbon capital city. LoCITY welcomes more contributors to the conversation, at our quarterly LoCITY meetings. Contact email@example.com for more details. 17.9.18
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Let’s talk about torque not power T David Batty Fleet engineer Abbey Logistics
he investment we make in our fleet never stops. All our 60-plate trucks have been changed to newer models. Each year we trial and test new vehicles from major manufacturers to assess their suitability for joining our fleet. This involves an in-depth six-month trial of potential new vehicles to understand whole-life cost, vehicle weight, fuel efficiency and reliability. Typically, we look at vehicles from three manufacturers every year. During the trials our drivers play a vital role in providing valuable feedback about the trucks. Driver acceptance is key: any new model that we add to the fleet gets tested in real-world environments by a number of drivers across different areas of the business. Our latest additions to the fleet come from Volvo, Scania and IVECO. Drivers are testing the trucks across our fleet and, so far, all models are receiving high praise. One statistic we have little interest in, however, is the vehicle’s horsepower. To me this is irrelevant and what gives a truck superior driveability is torque not power.
Trucks with more engine torque are better at towing our 44,000kg rigs and so it is the key figure I look for, not horsepower. Torque effectively tells me how much pulling power an engine generates; the higher the torque figure, the better the engine will cope with heavy loads. Vehicles with more torque are also more relaxing to drive as they don’t have to be worked as hard to get up to speed, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. For this reason, none of the new vehicles has any reference to its horsepower on any truck badging. I have had torque figures printed on the side of each truck instead to remind people that’s what matters for what we do. With an average of 2,300Nm of torque being produced by each engine, these new additions to the fleet will be more than capable of moving our customers’ liquids and powders across the UK. Looking forward, we will be adding a number of liquid tanks to our fleet next year and will again work with our drivers and workshop fitters to decide on the best and most effective equipment.
What is the point of autonomous trucks? T Steve Hobson Editor Motor Transport
he fact that the new Mercedes-Benz Actros is now capable of driving itself – although it is only allowed to do so for a minute or two at a time – is just the latest step towards fully autonomous trucks. Or is it just another driver aid designed to take some of the stress out of driving on modern roads for nine hours every day? I think we should be told because at this rate we are drifting towards autonomous trucks without a proper debate about who will be liable if there is an accident while the truck was nominally in control. Planes and ships have been using autopilot for years, even though the law still requires them to carry qualified pilots and navigators. But crossing the Atlantic Ocean, whether on the sea or in the air, is very different from driving on the M1. A ship or plane is unlikely to have a car or motorbike swerve out in front of it or have all its cameras and sensors suddenly covered in mud after splashing through a puddle. There is nothing wrong with advanced
12 MotorTransport MTR_170918_012.indd 12
automated driver aids – the last Sprinter I drove was fully loaded with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Side Proximity Sensors and Automated Emergency Braking and basically did everything for me except steer between the white lines, which of course the new Actros does do. So the technology is there and way ahead of the legislation and the moral judgments that will be required when something inevitably goes wrong. Should the software run down a bus queue to save the driver smashing into a tree? Who was in charge at the time, the truck or the driver? If a driver is always going to be required to sit in a cab and be responsible for the safety of the truck, what is the point? There are no wages to save and the driver has to remain alert and ready to resume control any moment.
The newspaper for transport operators
To contact us: Tel: 020 8912 +4 digits or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Steve Hobson 2161 Editor-in-chief Christopher Walton 2163 Group news editor Chris Druce 2158 Reporter Kylie Noble 2167 Group technical editor Colin Barnett 2141 Senior compliance editor Roger Brown 2168 Urban editor Hayley Pink 2165 Group production editor Clare Goldie 2174 Deputy production editor Jo Saunders 2173 Key account manager Andrew Smith 07771 885874 Display telesales Barnaby Goodman-Smith 2128 Event sales Richard Bennett 07889 823060 Tim George 0755 7677758 Classified and recruitment advertising Head of sales operations Julie McInally 2122 email@example.com Sales director Vic Bunby 2121 Head of marketing Jane Casling 2133 Head of events/MT Awards Stephen Pobjoy 2135 Managing director Andy Salter 2171 Editorial office Road Transport Media, Sixth Floor, Chancery House, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1JB 020 8912 2170 Free copies MT is available free to specified licensed operators under the publisher’s terms of control. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01772 426705 Subscriptions Tel 0330 333 9544 Quadrant Subscription Services, Rockwood House, Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3DH Rates UK £135/year. Europe £163/ year. RoW £163/year. Cheques made payable to Motor Transport. Apply online at mtssubs.com Registered at the Post Office as a newspaper Published by DVV Media International Ltd © 2018 DVV Media International Ltd ISSN 0027-206 X
Got something to say?
If you would like to contribute to MT’s Viewpoint, email email@example.com 17.9.18
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MEETING THE URBAN LOGISTICS CHALLENGE If you are involved in delivering or receiving goods in towns and cities, then Freight in the City Expo is the must-attend event for you. This free one-day Expo brings together the freight industry, businesses and local authorities all under one roof. You will hear from a line-up of industry pioneers and experts in a packed seminar programme about how they are already tackling the issues around urban deliveries. In between seminar sessions, there will be plenty of time for you to browse Alexandra Palaceâ€™s Great Hall to meet leading suppliers showcasing the latest in clean, safe and quiet vehicle technology and equipment.
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New this year! Head along to our brand-new Compliance Zone to talk directly with industry experts about your own fleet challenges when it comes to operating safely and sustainably in urban areas. Or grab a coffee and listen to one of our Knowledge Zone talks taking place throughout the day on the latest urban logistics hot topics and product innovation hitting the market. Register for your free tickets at www.freightinthecity.com
THIS YEARS EXHIBITORS INCLUDE: Bradshaw Electric Vehicles, Calor, DAF Trucks, Iveco, LDV, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Trucks, Scania, Tevva, Trakm8, Volvo Trucks, and many, many more! Session Three: Planning ahead Session Two: Inspiring change Hear directly from your operator peers about successful EXHIBITORS INCLUDE: urban logistics We explore how air initiatives already quality policy will reaping safety, affect the urban emissions and freight sector, with efficiency benefits. a look at clean air zones, zero-emission cities and vehicle trends emerging in the UK and around the world.
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Infrastructure, planning and collaboration are key ingredients to improving freight flows across urban areas.
6 November 2018 Alexandra Palace, London Register for your free place today freighinthecity.com
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10/09/2018 10:58 13/09/2018 10:22:13
Goodyear TPMS: Keep your vehicles on the road.
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Revolution in transport With new owners, branding and a modern head office, Fraikin has a new lease of life, as chief executive officer Ed Cowell tells Steve Hobson
hen Ed Cowell (below), recently appointed head of contract hire and fleet management specialist Fraikin, shows us around the firm’s new and modern head office in Coventry, it is clear he is both excited and proud of the building, his staff and the business. He says it was “more by luck than design” that the changes happened at the same time, with the acquisition and rebranding coinciding with the move into new offices on a business park in Coventry, only six miles from its former and somewhat drab headquarters. And 2018 just happens to be the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Fraikin in the UK by its French parent, which still claims to be the biggest commercial vehicle supplier in Europe with more than 58,000 vehicles. Fraikin Group’s parent holding company FTI is now owned by a group known slightly sinisterly as ‘the consortium’, led by global asset management firm Alcentra and US-based investment manager Värde Partners, after a takeover by rival Petit Forestier was blocked by the competition authorities last year. Although the exact terms of the deal have not been revealed, one outcome was that Fraikin was recapitalised, resulting in a reduction of its debt by €500m (£436m). “The consortium has been involved with us for some time, and talks were going on for about 12 months,” Cowell says. “I would love to say we planned it but, as with all these things, everything aligned perfectly for us to do it all together, which has added to the sense of change, professionalism and an upturn in figures.” Since Cowell’s arrival in August 2016, a previ-
ously moribund Fraikin UK has seen a significant increase in contract wins. “It has been very much a turnaround,” he says. “But it’s not that we haven’t had the capability. The capabilities and expertise have all been in the business, it’s just that we didn’t tell people what we do. It’s been a journey of getting people to feel confident about who and what we are.” Cowell says there was relief among the 320 staff that the company was not taken over by Petit Forestier, although that might have left some uncertainty about the future until the consortium stepped in. “It removed an awful lot of concerns that people had about how autonomous Fraikin would be and how the cultures were going to match. They’ve got a big network, we’ve got a big network,” he says. “There was almost a collective sigh of relief in as much as people felt safe in their jobs and for us to create our own future. We were confident that we would find a new investor. It was business as usual.”
Fraikin operates in 15 European countries, being strongest in France, Poland, Spain and the UK, and is expanding into new markets including Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Despite Brexit, Fraikin Group has a number of panEuropean deals, including UK customers, in the pipeline. The UK is the second largest country outside France, with 9,000 vehicles, split fairly equally between those it owns and those it manages, putting it in the contract hire top 10. “How do you define top 10?” asks Cowell. “Is it the vehicles you own, is it the vehicles you manage? Because clearly there are companies that ➜ 18 MotorTransport 17
USE FLEET BETTER, USE LESS FLEET The use of telematics could enable customers to use their fleets better by moving towards a shared use model. While short-term rental could already be said to be a form of shared use, Fraikin wants to help customers get better use from their long-term contract hire fleet. Commercial director James Walkers says: “If you can say to a customer ‘you’ve got a fleet, this is the actual demand pattern, so we can take 20% of your fleet out’, then you’re getting some true efficiency. It is much more about data management now.” CEO Ed Cowell adds: “Look at the fact that there are north of 400,000 vehicles registered in the UK over 3.5 tonnes but there are only 360,000 drivers with a licence to drive them. If you assume a vehicle can be driven for 24 hours a day, there should be one vehicle for three drivers. So you know that the UK vehicle fleet is significantly under-used. We are truly embarking on a revolution in transport.”
manage far more vehicles than us but don’t own one.” While Cowell has been tasked with maintaining the growth trajectory in the UK, the trick will be doing so while making more money. “It’s all about profit, winning good business at good margins. We’re not going to chase revenue growth if the profit is not there,” he says. “In 2017 we boosted our top line by 7%, and we could have increased it more if we were chasing growth at any price. But our bottom line rose 78% in 2017. We’ve got 1% of a very big market, so there’s plenty of growth to go for.” Cowell is cagey about where he sees this profitable new business coming from, but unsurprisingly he still sees the public sector as offering opportunities. “We’ve got a very strong heritage in serving the public sector and that is critical to us,” he says. “Whether that is working with local authorities or national government, we already have a considerable number of opportunities. “We’re also seeing a number of trends in outsourcing. As the market becomes more complex, a lot of customers are struggling to navigate this complexity, and our role at Fraikin is to help them find the right vehicle fleet and get the right level of uptime. We are seeing growth in areas such as construction, 3PL and retail. But as we navigate Brexit and clean area zones our plans will solidify. We see ourselves winning where there are high levels of compliance, complexity and diversity in the fleet.”
Service is king
While vanilla contract and hire and rental remains fiercely price competitive, Cowell argues that service remains king in the more complex sectors that Fraikin targets, especially in the HGV sector, which makes up two thirds of its fleet. “Our customer service scores don’t lie,” he says. “The HGV market is less competitive than the LCV market, which is overcrowded. The level of compliance requires a level of expertise and there should be a value in that. Our Net Promoter score has gone from 11 to 31 in the past 12 months, which is indicative of the fact that our customers like the service we deliver, and we work for some of the most highly regulated customers in the market. So there is definitely a demand for what we deliver. That’s why we’re doing very well.” Previous management regimes at Fraikin had shied away from the big 3PLs, which often buy on price and volume rather than service, 18 MotorTransport MTR_170918_017-018.indd 18
but Cowell says in the right circumstances there is business to be done. “It depends on the level of outsourcing and complexity,” he says. “If a 3PL has a particular contract where they require some level of flexibility or bespoke footprint then they’ll turn to us. If they’re just looking for 500 tractor units and 1,000 trailers then any contract hire company is effectively competing with the OEMs anyway.” One USP that is certainly helping Fraikin is that it was the first contract hire firm to join the DVSA’s Earned Recognition Scheme. “We were a founder member of Earned Recognition, one of the first 28,” says Cowell. “It’s amazing, the number of customers who still do not know what Earned Recognition is going to mean for them. Then there are clean air zones. The first metropolitan areas have come out with their plans and they’re all different. This is going to make it more complex for the 3PLs and it’s going to push the agenda away from cost towards service.”
While Fraikin’s fleet is mainly rigid vehicles over 3.5 tonnes it also owns 200 tractor units and 200 trailers. A large percentage – approaching 90% – of its trucks are what Cowell terms “non-standard” vehicles, which on average the customer keeps for seven years, making it hard to predict how the regulatory environment will change within their lifespan. “All we can do is play with the information as it’s presented. We are constantly scanning regulations to mitigate the risk as far as we can,” he says. “The worry is that we’re going to have vehicles parked up that no one can use.” While gas and electric vehicles are certainly coming, for now Fraikin is betting that Euro-6 diesel has plenty of life left. “IVECO is very heavily looking towards gas, Mercedes-Benz is looking toward electricity and the other OEMs are doing a combination of each; some hybrid, some gas, some electricity,” says Cowell. “Then there has to be a
cleaner Euro-7 diesel. That has to be an option.” Fraikin commercial director James Walker (below) believes that this future uncertainty will drive more operators to use contract hire rather than buying. “There is a risk for Fraikin, but we also understand that there is opportunity in this changeover,” he says. “And because of our size, our residual value risk is significantly less than some of the larger players in the market.”
Walker says Fraikin in the UK is dipping its toe into electric and liquefied and compressed natural gas (LNG and CNG) vehicles. “We’ve got smaller electric vehicles from Nissan and Renault, and we will soon be launching full contract hire on LNG and CNG throughout the range of vehicles from 7.5 tonnes to 4x2 and 6x2 tractors,” he says. “They will be primarily based on IVECO in the short term and we are talking to MAN and Renault, so we’ll have a multi-asset solution plus full residual value and repair and maintenance to offer to the market.” Another piece of the gas jigsaw is refuelling and Fraikin is working with leading gas suppliers to enable operators that do not already have access to an open gas station to install their own. “If an operator wants a diverse fleet, they want to have the best vehicle for each activity regardless of the OEM,” says Cowell. “So they could end up having five different OEMs with different types of fuel. Our role is to help the customer navigate that journey.” Cowell says that key to the introduction of alternative fuels will be the use of telematics data to closely monitor the vehicles and ensure faults are picked up quickly. “We will have more information about how often they breakdown, the common faults, how our supply chain partners need to maintain them and what the preventative maintenance actions are,” he says. “A lot of our preparation for launching these vehicles is about being able to predict when something’s going wrong.” ■ 17.9.18
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t’s been an eventful year for the truck tyres business, with important consequences for hauliers. The biggest story was the introduction on 7 May of a levy by the EU on Chinese-made tyres, which overnight added up to £75 per tyre to the cost of the cheap imports. This instantly made cheap Chinese imports not so cheap. For those buying truck tyres the effect was immediate, with premium manufacturers stepping in to take advantage. Not only did the move strengthen the (already powerful) case for buying more expensive tyres in the first place, but it boosted the premium re-tread market too. Bridgestone, for example, announced straightaway that it was scaling up production at its Lincolnshire factory by 25% to meet demand. But what should fleet managers be looking for in their tyre buying programmes and how much – or how little – should they be prepared to spend on tyres? One thing that the majority of tyre manu-
facturers agree on is that it is rarely a good idea to buy the cheapest on the market, which is what those who bought Chinese imports before the levy were doing. The basic argument for spending more initially is that buying cheap can be more expensive in the long run. Premium tyres will probably last longer than budget ones; better tyres can be re-treaded, probably twice; and wellmaintained low rolling resistance tyres will result in better fuel economy. In short, saving a few hundred pounds on tyres in purchase price could be a very short-term gain if the tyres turn out to be inefficient and soon wear out. But does it necessarily follow that buyers should dismiss cheaper tyres from the outset? Not necessarily, as even the big names will admit. Chris Smith, B2B sales director at Michelin, says: “It is difficult to assess budget or mid-range tyres nowadays because some have improved and some haven’t. We look at a number of things in our tyres of which longevity is clearly one. And we ask the relevant ques-
Getting a grip The EU levy on Chinese tyre imports has complicated the buy new, re-tread, or recycle debate, as David Harris reports
tions when we compare ourselves to our competitors. If a tyre is twice the price how much longer does it last? And what is its fuel economy?” Michelin always aims to be competitive in terms of total cost in the life cycle of the tyre, says Smith, rather than just on initial price. He has a lot of advice for hauliers. What they should always do, he says, is talk directly to their suppliers about the nature of the work for which they want the tyre. Trucks working a lot on construction sites – where tyres are more likely to get damaged – will need a different tyre to one involved in gentler conditions. Furthermore, operators might be able to get an accidental damage guarantee for tyres if their work is likely to be particularly hard on tyres. Again, it might cost more initially but the long-term saving could be worth it. It is also sensible to keep on top of the latest types of tyres available. In Michelin’s case the most obvious example this year is the new X Multi Energy tyre, which is said to deliver up to 20% more mileage while matching its predecessor’s fuel efficiency. In financial terms this means that Michelin is suggesting it will save approximately £3,000 over a five- to seven-year operational truck cycle. This tyre encapsulates the argument that is made by manufacturers for buying better quality tyres in the first place. Smith says: “This saves 3% on fuel, which wipes out the tyre bill.” Getting technical and operational advice from manufacturers is one of the best ways for hauliers to ensure they get the most from their tyres, but this may be something that smaller operators, particularly owner-drivers, have to seek rather than wait for it to come to them. Most of the big firms have a network of account managers – Michelin has 30 – and fleet managers would do well to use their expertise. Most of the big makers have schemes to help hauliers. Bridgestone, for instance, has its Total Tyre Care, which was developed with larger operators in mind, but can apply to all fleet sizes. Bridgestone’s scheme uses a network of fleet auditors that offers training, finds opportunities to fit fewer tyres, performs pressure checks and offers advice. Bridgestone argues that its total package offers a more economical service to hauliers in the medium and long term. Andy Mathias, Bridgestone’s north region commercial marketing manager, says that one of the main reasons Total Tyre Care was formed was to compete with the rise in availability of cheaper Chinese tyres. Mathias says: “It is designed to take price out of the equation and focus on the ➜ 22 MotorTransport 21
longevity of product (total cost of ownership versus up-front price), national service provision, and back-office systems that improve efficiency.” If cost – whether short term or long term – is one of the main factors influencing hauliers’ decisions on tyre purchases, it is not necessarily the only one. The British Tyre Manufacturers Association is keen to point out that re-treading tyres is not just economically sensible, but also greener. It argues that a haulier using cheaper single-life tyres uses four times as many compared with one using premium tyres and re-treading. These additional tyres are usually incinerated and release 160,000 tonnes of CO2 globally a year. Pirelli marketing manager Neil Booker says that it tries to make hauliers see the sense of calculating cost “when you take the tyres off rather than when you put them on”. Again, he argues, lifetime expense should be what all hauliers look at.
Type of work
Simon Waye, technical support engineer at ATS Euromaster, which is owned by Michelin but sells tyres from various makers, says that the type of work a truck is carrying out is crucial to what tyres you should buy. He says: “We would look at the type of operation a haulier is involved in – for example whether the vehicles are on building sites all day – plus we would ask about the history of damage to the tyres. A truck that is constantly driving on motorways needs different tyres to one that is on site all day.” Even setting aside the recent hit on cheap Chinese imports made by European tariffs, tyre choice is complicated by the fact that it is not a straight decision between cheap Asian imports and more expensive European 22 MotorTransport MTR_170918_021-022.indd 22
premium tyres. There are plenty occupying the middle ground as well. One is Giti, a company that sees itself as very much a mid-market supplier and typifies the importance of distinguishing between cheap and cheapest. This is a company that does its research in Hannover and Warwickshire, has its headquarters in Singapore, but makes its tyres in China and Indonesia: a properly global operation. Sales director Tony McHugh says: “First and foremost we ask customers about the tyre application – off road, on road, long haul or regional – and then we decide if we can offer the right tyre for the application.”
McHugh adds that there are lots of national and regional variations. Long straight roads are less hard on tyres, for example, so the number of roundabouts in the UK has a noticeable effect on operating costs.
Kate Rock-Rees, communications manager at Goodyear Dunlop, agrees that hauliers should view tyre buying as “about the total package”. This, she adds, includes not just initial price but also servicing. Goodyear Dunlop encourages hauliers to look at telematics in relation to tyres as it can monitor tyre pressures, how they are wearing and how a truck is being driven. Taken together these factors can tell you when tyres need to be changed and predict that point ahead of time. Operators should also remember that tyres change. Just because a particular brand was bought before operators should not dismiss a different brand when new tyres are needed. Hankook Tyre UK sales manager David Thorp says: “Hauliers need to consider an innovative brand that is constantly researching and developing new products. “Hankook, for example, has expanded its ultra-efficient and and fuel-saving e-cube Blue truck tyre line to offer a complete solution for long-haul traffic.” The point is that all hauliers should look at new developments and factor in a great deal more than initial cost when deciding which tyres to buy. Getting technical and operational advice from tyre firms is one of the best ways for fleet mangers to ensure they get the most from their tyres. It’s worth taking the time to talk, even if you have to contact them rather than wait for a visit. Whatever happens, make use of the expertise on offer. ■ 17.9.18
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MT Awards 2018 winner profile Service to Industry Award
Striving to do it better The Awards judges recognised Paul Day for being a leader in niche markets and a role model in running a succesful operation
eeting Paul Day, MD of Turners (Soham), at its huge 47-acre Newmarket hub, we stand together at the boardroom window and gaze out at the hive of activity outside. Having picked up the 2018 Service to Industry Award for devoting his career to building the family firm into the influential force in logistics it now is, he is typically modest about his achievements. “I’m quite weird,” he admitted. “I don’t really look back on what I have done, or what Turners has done. I know it is an achievement but I don’t look at it that way. I’m looking at what’s next and what we can do better. I’m constantly striving to do better. I’ve designed the next phase. I want to extend it, and I’m thinking of how I’m going to design the whole site. I’m always thinking for the future, for the long term.”
Turners was founded in 1930 by Day’s grandfather Wallace Turner and his brother Frank, and by the 1970s had expanded to 100 vehicles. But the firm’s explosive growth – it now has 2,300 drivers and 1,850 vehicles in 32 locations – began when Day joined the business in 1984. Day, though, was quick to point out that it has always been a team effort from his grandfather’s days to the current day. “My prime motivation is that this is what I do and it’s what I enjoy,” he said. “I want Turners to be successful. This is my life and I love it. I love being with the people here; I like the cut and thrust of the business world; I like the suppliers; I like the customers a lot; but most of all, I like my team. This business is allconsuming. It is my life, but I have a lot of other 24 MotorTransport MTR_170918_024-025SERVICE.indd 24
interests, most related to sport, because my life before coming to transport was table tennis.” With his 60th birthday approaching, Day has no plans for retirement. “I reckon I’ll be here until I drop,” he said. “In five or 10 years’ time, I might feel differently but, as things stand, the future for me is continuing what I’m doing. “No one is indispensable and a business is stronger than one person. Turners has got an incredible team that is very able, very strong. They will be able to run this business without any issues. Equally, I am hands-on and if we’re doing something, I want to ensure that we do it well, we do it properly and everything is run in accordance with our methods and our moral values. Part of my role is training younger people, the next generation, to take over because this business has to be able to continue, regardless of me.” Day’s daughter, who proudly watched her dad lift the trophy at the MT Awards in July, is studying languages at Oxford. “I would love her to come here and run the business,” he said. “She’s more than capable of doing that but I have to be realistic. “You can’t do this job on a part-time basis, and you can’t do it if you don’t love it. If she decided she didn’t want to do that, then I’d want to build the management team here, and one of them would step up and take that position on. Our family would continue to own the shares, but the chances are that the business would get sold somewhere down the line.” One of the keys to Turners’ success that caught the eye of the judging panel of previous winners was the way Day has built complementary divisions in lucrative niche markets. One judge said Turners was a “leader in several
niche but important markets, helping it remain highly profitable”, while another said it has become a “role model” for how to run a successful logistics operation. “The refrigerated business is where our history is and that’s still the core business,” said Day. “The tanker side of the business has been going 25 or 30 years and that’s got various arms – building materials, fuel tankers and foodgrade powder and liquid operations. That’s strong and we try to expand that as with all sectors of the business. “We’ve focused on the container side in the past two or three years, with the acquisitions of Macintyre and Goldstar. That’s the biggest single division in terms of revenue. It’s lower margin and hard work, but fits our culture. “The fourth sector of our business relies on added value services such as warehousing, pick and pack and the cold store, which links in predominantly with the refrigerated side. It also fits with the containers because a lot of the product is coming from abroad by container. It’s efficient and we’re offering a total service to a customer. At the moment, those are the four pillars of Turners.”
While Day said each transport business could stand alone, there are advantages in being able to shift resources around. “There are definitely some benefits – for instance, at Christmas there are peak periods that are hard to cover for the supermarket industry,” he said. “On the tanker side, building materials traditionally drops off before Christmas, so you have units and drivers that can come over to haul fridges. Similarly, on containers we are able to mix and match 17.9.18
selves if they want to get a lower-cost transport service. It’s more of a partnership now but there was a time when that wasn’t the approach. “Yes, we do walk away from business. Our natural instinct is not to do that but I have a saying in Turners that this is ‘toxic work’. I’ve never bought a transport company yet and not found toxic work. You’ve got to find it, address it and on occasions walk away.”
PROUD MOMENT: MT editor Steve Hobson (right) presents the trophy to Paul Day, MD, Turners (Soham), centre, on behalf of Ryder
the work to keep all the vehicles busy. But can you be successful in just one sector? Yes, I think you can.”
Day is constantly looking for opportunities to expand the business, and although he has recently extended the cold store to 90,000-pallet capacity, he is working on the next phase. “It’s pretty much full,” he said. “We’ve got a huge pack house that we built about four years ago that is employing maybe 700 people every day. It’s a massive operation and I’m applying for planning permission to extend the cold store by a further 20,000 pallet spaces. There is about 12 acres left on this site. I bought the field diagonally opposite, which has got another 17 acres, so there’s enough to see me out.” With Brexit looming, demand for cold stor17.9.18
age to hold buffer stocks of food in the event of a customs clearance meltdown is only going to go one way. “I want to keep expanding the core business,” said Day. “The chances are it will keep expanding because an increasing amount of product is being imported. Imports are coming either through Felixstowe, which is perfect for this site, or London Gateway, which is also excellent for this site. I think the opportunity is there to keep expanding the business.” Expanding a business by buying turnover is easy, but Turners’ margins have long been the envy of its rivals. While it was ranked 18 in the last MT Top 100 with a turnover of £313.6m in the year to December 2016, the company was ranked third on return on sales, its pre-tax profit of £27.3m producing a net margin of 8.7%. That has been achieved by getting what Day regards as the right rate for the job and being prepared to walk away from bad business. “For anybody faced with trying to save money, the easiest option is to get people to do the work at a lower cost,” he argued. “That’s understandable, but it’s short-term thinking and sooner or later the rate that you’re paying becomes unsustainable. I don’t believe that’s an effective strategy in today’s marketplace. “The more clever businesses understand what the true cost of providing the service they require is, and they will have to pay that price, otherwise they won’t get the work covered. They recognise that they have to change them-
Like many highly successful business person Day claims running a profitable company is simple. “I don’t buy into the idea that there is some magic,” he said. “It’s the basics: lowest cost, efficient operations, being brutal in terms of the detail, making sure you check everything properly. The basics of business don’t change.” With a business the size of Turners, Day admitted he can’t be everywhere at once but his instincts tell him if there is a problem. “If something’s going wrong, it will take place over a period of weeks. I’d be lying to say something goes wrong somewhere and I’m going to pick that up instantly,” he said. “But it isn’t going to be long before my radar knows that something’s wrong. By experience and knowledge, I can normally predict 80% of the time what’s gone wrong. “I’m always talking to the management of each business unit, so I’ve got a constant feel for how the business is going. The numbers tell you when something’s dramatically wrong and you need to investigate and get on the case.” Turners’ total headcount is approximately 3,400, making the company one of the largest employers in Suffolk. “I take the responsibility I have very seriously,” said Day. “There is a part of me that is analytical and just a hard-nosed businessman, but there is another side to me in that I like to know as many of those people as possible and treat them as human beings. I like them to know they can have a reasonable discussion about the business and about life generally. “A business like Turners needs to have a human face and it wouldn’t necessarily be hard-nosed like some publicly listed company. I like to think of it as a family business and look at employees in a slightly different way.” For a modest man like Day, winning the MT Service to Industry Award was a big moment. “Sometimes we are successful and we win awards and sometimes we don’t. I don’t get upset or too excited either way. That’s just how I am, I can’t help that,” Day reflected. “With this one, it is slightly different in that I started to think, ‘actually, I have been doing this for 34 years. It’s an awfully long time and it’s a massive part of my life’. My staff, suppliers, customers and everyone else who have come to me and said how they felt it was well-deserved made me realise maybe I have done OK at this and I should be pleased with what I’ve done. “That’s against my instincts because all I do is try and get better tomorrow. But maybe there’s a part of me that is proud of what I’ve achieved and pleased I’ve got that recognition.” ■ MotorTransport 25
MT Awards 2018 winner profile Safety in Operation Award
Steering a new path Putting Health and safety at the heart of its culture has cut accidents and injuries for Expect Distribution – as well as delivering better wages for drivers
or Bradford-based Expect Distribution, a strong health and safety focus is a crucial part of its fast-paced pallet operation. A founder member of Palletline and still the network’s largest input and output member, Expect’s busy cross-dock area handles more than 2,800 pallets a day. Add to the mix residential and high street delivery points, as well as three warehousing sites, then it is clear to see the importance of a robust health and safety (H&S) strategy to minimise risk for employees and members of the public. Expect Distribution’s safety culture is led from the top, with monthly board meetings making a point to always discuss any risks
identified by regular H&S reports. Any action points are then delivered by a team of three H&S employees: a dedicated manager who reports directly to the MD; an administrator, qualified to level 4 NEBOSH and NGC1 grade; and an apprentice, who joined the business in March this year.
The team has been extended to ensure succession planning for the H&S function and to ensure an efficient service across all three operating centres. A new H&S section has also been added to the company’s three-year business strategy to show its commitment to encourage a safety culture across all divisions.
ALL SAFE: Zenith sales director Eric Burns, second right, presents the award to Expect Distribution MD Neil Rushworth, fourth from right. With them are, from left, host Jimmy Carr, Expect chairman, Robert Rushworth, director of transport Andy Taylor, HSEQ/facilities/project manager Kevin Barnes, director Elaine Rushworth and MT editor Steve Hobson
26 MotorTransport MTR_170918_026-027.indd 26
Throughout 2017, the company saw a significant improvement in reported injuries and employee down-time relating to safety issues (see box). This has been achieved by focusing on highrisk operations in its transport and warehouse functions and developing a clear structure of reporting, inspections, training and communications channels. One such focus was on manual handling equipment (MHE); in 2015, the company reported nine accidents involving drivers and use of pallet trucks and tail-lifts, which was an increasing concern to the business In 2016, it introduced electric pallet trucks to fulfil Palletline’s commitment to safety regarding unloading heavier pallets of up to 1,000kg on a tail-lift vehicle. “We invested, like every other member in the network, in an initial batch of electric tail-lift pallet trucks. Each year we have increased this,” said MD Neil Rushworth. Following a positive driver reaction and reduced MHE injury incident rates, the directors decided later that year to invest £33,000 in a further 35 pallet trucks. It plans to finish the rollout across its rigid fleet this year, which will be followed by installation across its tractor unit fleet as well. 17.9.18
road is a top priority for Expect Distribution, with the company keen to ensure stringent assessments and training are in place. A dedicated driver trainer, who is also a qualified JAUPT-approved Driver CPC instructor, works with employees and investigates the cause of any road-related incidents to ensure the correct measures are in place to prevent any reoccurrences. “If a driver has a serious accident, the driver trainer goes out with him and tries to fully understand the cause and helps put in place any training,” said Rushworth. Not only is there the health and safety aspect to consider, but also the financial effect of ensuring drivers are performing efficiently on the job. “Drivers can have the biggest effect and can affect us commercially in terms of insurance premiums,” Rushworth said. “Our highest accident rate is in slow movements, such as reversing manoeuvres, which is a key focus for our driver trainer at the moment.” When starting work with Expect, all drivers attend an extended two-week induction process, which includes on-the-job training, shadowing and assessment. Annual driver assessments and training also take place around electric pump truck operation, working from height and MHE, with league tables created to highlight best practice. In 2017 the business did not have a single instance of injury caused by pallet truck use during tail-lift operations – a direct result of this investment in safer technology. “Tail-lift deliveries are probably the highest risk operation that we do and we do this regularly,” said Rushworth. “Every day we’re making more than 100 tail-lift deliveries, so we need to be proactive in managing this risk. It was one of the key areas we wanted to focus on. We thought Palletline had got it right. “It was well received by the drivers. Those who didn’t have them have quickly said ‘when are we getting ours?’, but they do understand we couldn’t invest in them all at the same time.”
Other major fleet upgrades to bring about safety benefits include 20 Jungheinrich propane gaspowered fork-lift trucks, with red spot pedestrian warning systems. In addition, Expect has rolled out BigChange vehicle telematics system and Roadhawk forward- and reverse-facing cameras across its fleet. It has also introduced Guardian load restraint and Cargo Stop Pro-poles where irregular freight and working at height was identified as an issue. Ensuring its fleet of drivers is safe on the 17.9.18
Expect has not been immune to the industrywide challenge of sourcing reliable, qualified HGV drivers. “One of our main challenges is attaining and retaining quality drivers,” said Rushworth. To rectify this, the company boosted driver wages by 11.5%. The decision is paying dividends, with full employment across its fleet, a bank of floating drivers for peak periods and a reduction in agency staff costs of approximately 72%. “When you look at payback – and you consider more than 100 drivers – it is a serious investment. But we felt we had to do something,” said Rushworth. “That has made recruitment a bit easier. But it’s a tough end of the market (multi-drop work). The driver has to be right for it.” Reduction in agency spending has also improved the quality of its temporary drivers for the type of work, with only two dedicated companies now contracted, whereas this figure previously stood at 11. This means that regular drivers who have already carried our Expect’s extended induction and fleet familiarisation training are used. They are also placed on the more straightforward groupage journeys when employed, rather than undertaking the higherrisk pallet deliveries.
THREE-YEAR SAFETY STATS RIDDOR reportable accidents Accidents and injuries Employees at year-end LTIIR* LTIFR** Near-miss incident reports
1 42 192 21 73.43 6
3 32 215 16 55.94 6
1 19 248 9.5 4.75 15
In 2017, training on the procedures and importance of near-miss activity took place, which Expect believes accounts for the increase in reports. * lost time injury incidence rate ** injuries per 1,000,000 hrs worked
As the business continues to expand, it is looking to recruit a second driver-trainer. To monitor its continuous drive for safety, Expect produces a series of monthly reports and detailed auditing procedures. These include year-on-year site accident reports; a board report with full KPIs including LTIR, RIDDOR, nearmiss and RTA data; monthly internal Gold Star Audit award measuring compliance to safety measures; and periodic external RHA and Palletline audits. It also uses the root cause analysis method to investigate accidents and drill down to the cause, with actions to prevent similar issues. “We have very strict guidelines on what is reported; if there is a near-miss, we need to know about this and have to be able to act on it,” said Rushworth. “It’s pointless anyone trying to cover it up. We have a clear, open policy: if there’s an accident we want to know about it. “All in all, we’re a self-critical business. We believe in analysing, yes, to tell people what they are doing right, but we’re perfectionists and always striving for something more.”
This detailed approach to risk management has paid off for Expect, with a host of external awards in recognition of its efforts. Expect has maintained its ROSPA Gold Award status for the past three years, along with scooping the Palletline network’s own health and safety accolade. And of course, the company’s outstanding success in this year’s MT Awards was an exciting moment for the team. “It is great recognition for the daily efforts that go into the business,” said Rushworth. “ It’s fantastic to be stood on the stage knowing you’ve been judged the best by your peers in the industry. We’re really proud of our organisation and it’s great to be recognised by the industry.” ■ MotorTransport 27
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Motor Transport is a bi-monthly logistics publication specialising in road transport.