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spring 2011 | issue 02


Digital Colleagues to Deliver New Website


The quarterly magazine from Northgate


Celebrating 30 Years

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A New Proposition?

Northgate Casts the Net for Talent

Safe & Sound

05/04/2011 10:18:59




Dear Readers, Welcome to the second edition of our quarterly magazine, ‘Driven’.

excellent service to our customers across the UK, both large and small.

In December, our first issue was sent to over 2,300 of our colleagues and we received a very positive response. Following this success, and numerous requests from our customers, we have increased the distribution of our Spring edition to include our customers and suppliers. We hope that you all enjoy the bigger and better ‘Driven’ which is also our 30th anniversary special.

To be successful, we will invest in the quality of our people, systems and facilities. To make us successful, our colleagues must be committed to ‘One Northgate’ and embrace the change and learn new ways, which we will support.

30 Year Anniversary 2011 is Northgate’s 30th anniversary. We have come a long way since our inception, growing to become a complete fleet solutions provider with over 60,000 vehicles and 62 locations throughout the UK and Ireland, with over 7,000 customers benefiting from the solutions that we provide. In Spain we have over 48,000 vehicles from 32 locations. I would like to thank all colleagues, past and present for their contribution to the success of Northgate. They have been instrumental in shaping our path over the last 30 years and are pivotal to the future success of our organisation as we move forward.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the teams that are implementing the new Axis IT system. It now covers eight of our regions which is over 45,000 vehicles. The personal commitment and professionalism shown from everyone within the team is outstanding. Finally, I would like to mention our customers, without whom we would not be here. Your continued support is of great value to us and we remain committed as an organisation to improving the range of products and services that you receive. We hope that our staff, customers and supply chain partners enjoy this edition of 'Driven'. Yours sincerely,



Green for Go

04 06

Celebrating 30 Years

Bob Contreras Chief Executive Northgate plc

Digital Colleagues to Deliver New Website


Feature: Mercedes-Benz


Safe & Sound


Feature: Peugeot


One Northgate. One Brand

15 16

The Drive for Success

17 18 21 23

Moving forward It is an important year for Northgate as we strive to build a national company, ‘One Northgate’, which is focused upon delivering consistently


25 27

28 29 30

32 33 34

Feature: The Future is Now Are you Being Served? A New Proposition? Relationships Matter Northgate Casts the Net for Talent Let’s Communicate Going Once. Going Twice. Going Direct Feature: Vitosport Let’s Talk About…IT 10 Things you Didn’t Know About… It’s All for a Good Cause Movers and Shakers In the Van With…

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Northgate Vehicle Branding Awards Winner

HMRC Crackdown on Mileage Claims Companies have been warned of a crackdown on mileage claims by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after one company was found to have a 35% discrepancy between a mileage claim and the actual distance travelled. HMRC have been mapping routes to calculate journey distances against claims to see if the correct claims are being made. In some instances the back-dated taxes could reach £700,000.

There was a fantastic response to the first Northgate Vehicle Branding Awards with nearly 200 entries, but there could only be one winner, and that was LondonWoof with their graffiti inspired doggy designs.

The current economic climate means that the government cannot afford to allow any shortfalls in tax so companies are going to have to ensure that they have a robust audit trail in place to manage and report on the movement of vehicles.

Ve h i c l e B r a n d i n g

HMRC have also published revised advisory fuel rates three months early in response to the increase in fuel prices.

Aw ard s

LondonWoof founder, Art Burasz said: “I am delighted to win the Northgate Vehicle Branding Awards. I love coming up with weird and whacky designs to attract attention to the vehicles and our company. The £5,000 prize money will go a long way to realising my next design idea for one of our female drivers – a bright pink van, using poodles as clouds.” Gareth Jones, Northgate Sales and Marketing Director explained why they chose LondonWoof: “With nearly 200 entries, deciding on a winner was a tough challenge. We eventually chose LondonWoof because the design was visually striking and really showed the character of the business. “We’ve all seen a van that’s caught our eye and it’s often small businesses who are the most creative because they are less constrained by corporate guidelines. It’s great to give the prize money to a business that really wants to stand out.” To learn more about LondonWoof you can visit their website

In 2011, Northgate will be introducing some new models into their core fleet to cater for supply and demand within the industry. The new Nissan NV200 is similar in size and purpose to the popular Volkswagen Caddy Maxi and Northgate have secured a deal with Nissan for between 300-500.

03 spring 2011 | issue 02

Green for Go

Northgate welcomes newcomers to the fleet

The compact van has a capacity of 4.2 cubic metres and a low CO2 figure of only 137g/km. Northgate are currently the only major rental company who will provide this vehicle giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Nissan NV200

Competitor Update In last month's edition of 'Driven' we reported the demise of some of Northgate’s direct competitors within the rental arena. We are delighted to report that during a difficult time for all involved, Northgate has been able to work with a number of their customers to ensure that their fleet stayed on the road. At one point, administrators were refusing to tax or MOT vehicles and a number of customers were left either without vehicles or operating fleet illegally. Some 2,000 vehicles have been placed on hire with another 1,000 on order and expected to go on rent before the end of the financial year. In addition to this we have also been able to identify and recruit some of the talent bank that these companies previously employed.

The next addition to the fleet is the new Fiat Doblo 1.3 Cargo SWB. It comes with twin side loading doors and has also been added by Northgate to provide a wider choice of car derived vans. The Doblo MultiJet has a turbo diesel engine and emits approximately 2% less carbon than its predecessor with a CO2 figure of only 126g/km. The short wheel base model has a capacity of 3.4 cubic metres. Finally, the new Hyundia i20 and i30 cars are being introduced to the fleet with their very attractive 5 year warranty (or 100,000 miles). Northgate have agreed a deal with Hyundai for over 200 i20s and i30s. CO2 emissions of only 115g/km - 116g/km make this a very green car.

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05/04/2011 10:19:09

celebrating 30 years of northgate


Celebrating 30 Years

As the leading commercial vehicle hire company in the UK and Republic of Ireland, Northgate celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.

Old Northgate Motor Holdings ) branded vehicle (1986 - 2000

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Celebrating 30 Years A lot has happened since 1981 when Alan Noble founded the business from his house in Hurworth, Darlington. Through a mixture of organic growth and strategic acquisition the group developed throughout the 1980s to become a force to be reckoned with for vehicle hire in the UK. Their first foray in Europe came in 2001 when Northgate Vehicle Hire Ireland opened. The success of this operation led them to cast the net further afield when they ventured into foreign waters in the noughties, buying Fualsa and Record, two of Spain’s leading rental organisations. Further acquisitions in the UK of Arriva and Fleet Technique in 2006 paved the way to create a service offering and infrastructure throughout the UK, Ireland and Spain which has been unrivalled. Gareth Jones, Sales and Marketing Director commented: “As Northgate enters its fourth decade we will be continually aiming to leverage our knowledge and fleet expertise to broaden our customer base across all sizes of public and

Liz Newborn at th Scunthorpe de e opening of our pot (M&G Ve hicle Hire)

private sector organisations, but particularly in the SME (small and medium enterprise) market. “Fleets want stability and sustainability. The marketplace is undergoing tremendous upheaval but that is presenting increased business opportunities for Northgate. “We are building on extremely solid foundations and focusing on continuing to make the right decisions that will see us offer services to businesses for a further 30 years and longer.”

Brief Timeline 1981 Alan Noble purchased six vehicles to hire to customers before going on to expand his fleet to 50 and establishing Noble Van & Plant Hire Ltd. 1986 Northgate Motor Holdings Ltd was established as a holding company. 1983 Noble Van & Plant Hire Ltd made their first acquisition, another North East based company called Transmore Van Hire. They went on to

ting Presen 2008. e in h c c n eld lau air ambulan e Wakefi onster n to Yorkshir M n a V o donati charity

acquire further small and successful businesses around the UK and Republic of Ireland over the next 24 years. 1987 At the peak of its growth as a limited company, they were acquired by Goode Durrant plc for £4.2million. 1989 Northgate Vehicle Sales was established, and following its success, Van Monster, the premium sales channel, was launched in 2004. 1999 Goode Durrant announced that it would be relocating from the City of London to the North East following the company’s decision to change its name to Northgate Plc. 2000 The name changed from Northgate Motor Holdings to Northgate Vehicle Hire Ltd. 2001 Northgate purchases a 'green field' site in the Republic of Ireland and builds its first hire depot outside of the UK. 2002-2006 Northgate plc expanded into Europe through the acquisition of Fualsa, one of the

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F g



A worldwide television audience of over 700 million people watched the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Ken Barlow and Mike Robertson at the Angel of the North

spring 2011 | issue 02

What else happened in 1981?

An example of Northgate's early brochures

The UK pop group Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song, "Making Your Mind Up."


o problem says N Disposals? No 90s et Van 19 Holdings - Fle

The 1981 Springbok Rugby Tour commences in New Zealand, amid controversy over the support of apartheid in South Africa.

Northgate has raised benchmark The Journal, June 2009

Flexible climb to top of the league

The Humber Bridge was officially opened by the Queen.

Evening Gazette, March 1996

Northgate double its overseas operations after clinching the multi million pound purchase of Record Rent, one of Spain’s leading van rental firms Evening Gazette, July 2005

loads White van man

up on success

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of the secret Flexibility is ccess nomenal su group’s phe August 1990 ess North East,


a Vehicle aps up Arriv Northgate sn m ess for £53.9 Rental busin 06 20 ry The Northern

Echo, Februa

Driving ahead in Spain Evening Gazette, July 2005

largest van rental companies in Spain and Record Rent-a-Car.

Fleet Technique Limited (a specialist fleet management business) was also acquired.

2003 Northgate Vehicle Solutions was launched within the head office to serve customers who had national daily rental needs and required a single point of contact.

2010 The whole company rebranded to ‘Northgate Vehicle Hire’ with the project delivering new signage, livery, reception areas, stationery and work wear across all sites.

2006 A restructure was completed within the hire business with locations merging.

2011 30th Anniversary of Northgate Plc

Arthur Scargill becomes President-elect of the National Union of Mineworkers. The top grossing film was Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first London Marathon was run with a mere 7,500 entrants. The first episode of Only Fools and Horses was broadcast on BBC1. Rupert Murdoch buys The Times and Sunday Times for £12m. The first DeLorean DMC-12 car, star of Back to the Future, rolls of the production line in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.

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behind the brand new vehicle hire website


Digital Colleagues to Deliver New Website In April, Northgate will launch a brand new website, marking another landmark development since the nationwide rebrand in 2010. One of the main reasons for the investment in a new website was to offer customers a more supportive online experience, representing the type of customer service which Northgate aims to deliver on a daily basis.

news, press releases and online copy of Driven. Useful links to our partners websites including the BVRLA and Fleet News will be available ensuring relevant information is accessible on and from

Historically, Northgate had two websites, one for private hire customers and one for business customers. But to represent a now single, national company, major changes had to be made.

IT web developer, Dan Mullen, is leading the development of the new website: “Building the website in-house was crucial. It gives us complete control over the final product. This means that after it launches, we are in the best possible position to react to any issues but conversely be proactive in looking for ways to improve.”

Work on the new website began in November 2010, managed by Digital Manager Carolyn Lee: “The last few months have been a really exciting time for us. To be able to offer an online customer journey you would expect from a company of our size is a real step forward.” The new site will have a range of customer tools including a CO2 and MPG calculator. Customers will also have access to the latest Northgate and industry

Other features include information on Northgate’s wide range of fleet solutions, vehicle customisation, depot directions and contact information.

There have been a number of stages in the development of the website: November 2010 After taking inspiration from some of the most well known brands in the world, digital design agency partner, Manifest Communications, were briefed with the challenge of designing a clean, fresh and engaging website.

March 2011 The search engine optimisation strategy was developed to ensure the site was Google and other search engine friendly.

January 2011 Once the design was approved, the build stage began, led by Dan Mullen. This took 10 weeks, working with the Marketing team, developing the site and creating a new booking system.

Driveway to be “re-paved”

On completion of the new Northgate Vehicle Hire website, attention will then turn to the colleague intranet, Driveway. The current Driveway has many valuable features but in terms of design and functionality it needs to be overhauled to offer a more engaging and relevant experience for Northgate colleagues. The existing content and programmes such as Company Announcements, People Finder, Policies and Documents and Employee Benefits will remain an integral part but it is hoped that the introduction of features encouraging colleague interaction will mean more visits and a richer environment. Work on the new Driveway will begin in May with the aim of launching in the first quarter.

April 2011 and beyond Website Launches. Continuous improvements to design, content and functionality will feature heavily in the Northgate Marketing team’s future plans.

Lee Fountain, Northgate Vehicle Hire (South) Ltd

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07 spring 2011 | issue 02

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editorial feature

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05/04/2011 10:19:56

health & safety


Northgate win Gold For the third successive year, Northgate has been awarded the 2011 RoSPA Gold award for occupational health and safety, the highest achievable accolade.




Health & safety is a real priority at Northgate. Not just for employees, but for customers and the general public. It is central to everything we do. To actively promote a positive health & safety culture in the business, our Safety & Environment Manager Colin Gilstin, wanted an initiative which engaged employees and involved people in all areas and at all levels: The RoSPA Safety Awards have been recognising health and safety success since 1956 and provide organisations with the opportunity to prove their ongoing commitment to raising health and safety standards within their own workplaces. Awards are granted following assessment by RoSPA of an organisation's individual occupational health and safety performance which is assessed against strict judging criteria. Entrants must provide evidence of a good health and safety management system by answering key performance questions and supporting the answers with a concise portfolio of relevant documentation. Colin Gilstin, Safety and Environment Manager, said: “This is the culmination of yet another year’s tireless efforts to maintain the highest possible levels of safety across the whole Northgate Group. We now look forward to winning Gold for a fourth year.” The award will be presented to Colin Gilstin on May 19th at the RoSPA awards event which will be held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel.

“We are conscious that Health & Safety often gets a bad press. It seems more and more often that the National media are running stories on Health & Safety gone mad. But we aren’t talking about stopping kids playing conkers in the school yard. We are talking about a genuine need to protect people in what can be a dangerous environment if they are not aware of the risks and the steps to take for our own and our colleagues safety. "Looking at ways in which safety arrangements could be developed and improved, it was identified that a new approach of promoting safety was necessary. “The first stage was to understand the most common hazards across all areas of the business including workshops, rental and sales depots and our head office Norflex House as well as our other support services. "A charter of 'Safety Principles' was therefore developed which would clearly define the approach which would be taken to the hazards and risks we may face in individual roles and locations.

"With the help of the Northgate marketing team we can now introduce you to Safe & Sound. Taking our 10 key safety principles, Safe & Sound will help us consider them in our workplace and help us understand how we can make Northgate in the UK and Ireland, a safer place for everyone. We will also roll out the campaign to our colleagues in Spain. “The safety principles are about influencing behaviour and shaping attitudes. It supports, and is supported by other processes and controls. These include risk assessment, safety inspections, effective accident and incident investigations, safety standards, competence training and the continuous development of our workforce. “The overriding objective for this campaign, which will be rolled out over the next 12 months, is to improve culture, and everyone’s appreciation of working safely. We want this to become an everyday habit rather than an occasional hindrance. We don’t want to preach to people, just engage them with the simple ethos of 'Work Safe, Stay Safe'.” Health and Safety over recent years has attracted plenty of negative publicity. With the support of employees and their involvement in this campaign however we hope to adopt a sensible and practical approach to safety across all our locations.

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 12

05/04/2011 10:26:41



spring 2011 | issue 02


Safe & Sound demonstrate one of our 10 key principles which will be launched in April



If you see If anything you seethat anything looks that like itlooks could like beit could be hazardous,hazardous, let us know let&uswe’ll know fix &it.we’ll fix it.

Do not adjust, Do not modify adjust, or modify repair any or repair work any work equipmentequipment unless youunless are competent you are competent and and authorisedauthorised to do so. to do so.



Make sureMake you understand sure you understand rules, signsrules, & signs & instructions instructions before youbefore start work. you start work.

Only trained Only and trained competent and competent people should people should use work equipment use work equipment & machinery. & machinery.





Keep yourKeep workyour areawork neat & area tidyneat to avoid & tidy to avoid unnecessary unnecessary accidents. accidents.

If you needIf it, you make needsure it, make your protective sure your protective clothing clothing & special equipment & special equipment are in good arecondition. in good condition. Report defects Reporttodefects your manager. to your manager.


All accidents, All accidents, incidents and incidents near misses and near must misses must be reported beto reported your manager. to your manager.

Check your Check tools your & equipment tools & equipment are in are in good condition good and condition makeand suremake you use sure you use the correctthe ones correct for your onesjob. for your job.

Before lifting, Before assess lifting, the assess load and theyour load and your capability to capability move move it.


If you haveIf ayou suggestion have a suggestion about making about making the workplace the workplace safer, email safer, us at: email us at:

Be sure to keep an eye out for Safe & Sound over the next 12 months and email them at with any suggestions. driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 13

05/04/2011 10:26:42

editorial feature





uality. Efficiency. Style. Innovation. Spend a little time with the new Peugeot 508 and you’ll see it embodies all these attributes and offers fleets an exciting new proposition to consider. Available to order now, the Peugeot 508 will come with a new generation of innovative technologies including the e-HDi Stop and Start system, a streamlined, dynamic appearance, and high levels of interior quality and comfort, while its agility, handling and ride will reflect the marque’s expertise. Available in two body styles, Saloon and SW, a first glance at the 508 will highlight the particularly distinctive design:

perfectly balanced and streamlined contours suggest a vehicle “sculpted from a solid” according to the designers, reflecting elegance, robustness and quality. The 508 is also the first car in the range to showcase Peugeot’s distinctive signature floating single grille, unveiled initially on the elegant SR1 concept, and is flanked by piercing headlamps with LED tubes*. At the back, the view is no less remarkable, with the Saloon sporting three red LED ‘claws’ on each flank. Aesthetics aside, what is vital to a car in this sector, often being used for high mileages every day, is extremely high levels of comfort and convenience.

A simple, uncluttered and elegant fascia, alongside durable materials, ensures the 508 sets a new standard. It reflects the huge strides Peugeot has made in terms of quality and production standards, taking the brand light years ahead of its rivals. EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE A key element of the development of the 508 was to ensure that these high standards of materials, craftsmanship and reliability reflect a reduction in the cost of ownership, a big factor when purchasing for corporate fleets. Peugeot Fleet has worked hard with leasing companies, wholelife cost data providers and industry opinion formers to ensure that specifications, service, maintenance and repair rates, and pricing are extremely competitive by the time the car goes on sale. Efficiency is an area that Peugeot has focused on with the 508 to ensure that, from a tax and on-road perspective, the car has a minimal financial impact. And, after launch, Peugeot will look to introduce a groundbreaking diesel hybrid engine, which will revolutionise the fleet market. *Options according to specification level.

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 14 SimonBailesadvertorial.indd 8

NEXT-GENERATION TECHNOLOGY The 508 ushers in the era of e-HDi Stop and Start technology for Peugeot. Rapid and efficient, e-HDi reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 15%, and will be combined with the 1.6-litre HDi FAP engine and the electronically controlled manual six-speed gearbox (EGC). Available with a combined fuel consumption of 64.2mpg and emissions of only 115g/km, this 1.6-litre e-HDi FAP unit will shift to 109g/km of CO2, and 67.2mpg, later this year due to the introduction of electronically controlled air intakes that reduce drag at speed. Such have been the leaps in development made by Peugeot with the 508, the most powerful engine in the range is the new 2.2-litre HDi FAP 204bhp, offering the performance levels of a V6 diesel. Incredibly, the range will become even more efficient with the introduction of diesel hybrid technology in 2012, offering class-leading fuel economy and vast reserves of power, thanks to the combination of a diesel engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor powering the rears, allowing 200bhp, startling agility and accelerations, and all with

05/04/2011 10:26:44 21/3/11 16:49:26



editorial feature emissions of only 99g/km of CO2. Of course, essential to this environmental performance was the optimisation of the car’s aerodynamics and weight. Dynamic and poised styling, combined with Peugeot’s technical innovation, positions the new 508 at the head of the field in its segment. PRIVILEGED STATUS From launch, the 508 will be available in two body styles offering spacious accommodation. The Saloon’s length of 4.79 metres is bigger than most in the upper-medium category, while the SW is longer still. As a result, all passengers enjoy privileged status, with generous space coupled with luxuries such as quad-zone air conditioning. Interior dimensions are impressive – meaning two people more than six foot tall can be comfortably seated one behind the other. The boot is also practical and accommodating, with a generous volume of 545 litres for the Saloon and 660 litres for the SW. With the seat backs folded, boot capacity rises to 1,581 litres for the Saloon and 1,865 litres for the SW. Peugeot has been a leader in vehicle dynamics for decades, and the 508 incorporates that vast expertise. The car will feature two types of sophisticated, reactive suspension systems: a new McPherson-type front axle for the majority of the range, ensuring a quality blend of comfort and road holding, and a drop link dual wishbone front axle on the GT version, for enhanced dynamic road holding to match the performance of the 2.2-litre HDi FAP 204bhp engine.


UNDER THE BONNET The 508 benefits from engines offering a power output from 112 to 204bhp. Weight, aerodynamics and Peugeot’s technological expertise and innovation in diesel and petrol engines will ensure the 508 sits among the class leaders in terms of power and efficiency.

508 HDi FAP DIESEL RANGE: MODEL 1.6-litre e-HDi FAP 1.6-litre HDi FAP 2.0-litre HDi FAP 2.0-litre HDi FAP 2.2-litre HDi FAP

BHP 112 112 140 163 204

NM 270 180 320 340 450

TRANSMISSION 6 speed EGC* 5 speed manual 6 speed manual 6 speed automatic 6 speed automatic

CO2 (g/km) 109 124 125 149 150

508 PETROL RANGE: MODEL 1.6-litre VTi 1.6-litre THP

BHP 120 156

NM 156 240

TRANSMISSION 6 speed EGC* 6 speed manual

CO2 (g/km) 144 149

SAFETY TECHNOLOGY *EGC is an electronically controlled manual gearbox. Safety is of paramount importance for the 508, too. Its collapsible structure includes high-performance shock absorbers on the front beam, which also allows a reduction in the length of the overhang. The vehicle is also equipped with two front airbags, two side front airbags, two curtain air bags, and Isofix fixtures for child seats. The front seats have curved head restraints with multi-position adjustment, and have been designed to minimise whiplash injuries. The 508 also comes equipped with the Peugeot Connect SOS and Peugeot Connect Assistance Services, pinpointing the location of the vehicle in the case of accident or incident and enabling the dispatch of emergency or recovery services. An elegant entry to the market for 2011? Absolutely. Brimming with cutting-edge technology driving comfort, safety and fuel efficiency? Undoubtedly. And a head turner in the company car park? Of course, would Peugeot do it Please visit any other way?

“The 508 has some great styling cues, and it looks good from every angle. There’s plenty of room for five adults, too. Quality on the cars we saw looks good.”

MARK JOWSEY, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, KWIKCARCOST “The new 508 is a substantial, comfortable car with a classy interior using quality materials. The car has plenty of presence and looks as if it should be well received, whether as a Saloon or SW. A very wide engine range, including efficient e-HDi Stop and Start units and, in time, the new diesel hybrid should place the car well on tax-sensitive company car policies.”

ALAN SENIOR, HEAD OF VALUATION SERVICES, VIPDA “Peugeot is in a good position to deliver just what the fleet industry needs, with efficient engines offering good mpg figures and low CO2 outputs.”


0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 15 SimonBailesadvertorial.indd 9

to find out more.

05/04/2011 10:26:44 21/3/11 16:52:57

post rebrand


One Northgate. One Brand Northgate have just completed a research project to understand the impact of the rebrand since it happened in 2010. 45.0% 40.0% 35.0%

41% state Northgate as the most recognisable commercial vehicle rental brand ahead of Enterprise and Hertz at 6%

30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% 0

Other 102 respondents*, made up of existing customers and prospects were contacted by telephone and asked a series of questions relating to brand awareness, service delivery and company attributes. When asked to give the three most recognisable light commercial vehicle (LCV) suppliers, 63% of respondents listed Northgate in the top three with the next most recognisable brands in the top three being Enterprise (15%) and Hertz (10%). It was also shown that almost as many prospects as customers recognised the Northgate brand. By far the greatest impact following the rebrand has been the visibility of Northgate branded vehicles on the road. These have become ‘mobile brand advertisements’ with 93% of respondents having seen one of the 12,500 currently on the road. The target is to reach 30,000 vehicles by the end of 2011. Northgate is by far the most recognisable commercial vehicle rental brand according to respondents. 41% say Northgate is the most recognisable whereas Enterprise and Hertz are

only recognised first by 6%. At the heart of the Northgate business is customer service and it is clear following this research and other research projects that the success achieved from the rebrand should not divert focus away from service delivery. Simon Ridley, Operations Director (North) said: “We are moving at a rapid pace to improve vehicle quality and vehicle downtime. The investment in IT, training and development for our operations staff, linked to ongoing projects in logistics and workshop efficiency, will mean that the right vehicles will be in the right place at the right time.” The most visited of the Northgate websites is by 60% of prospects, showing that research is carried out online. Marketing plans support this theory and altogether this supports the investment in the new vehicle hire website which will use links and tools to engage customers. Gareth Jones, Sales and Marketing Director, said: “We are very positive about the rebrand so far. It clearly has had an immediate impact on the

awareness of Northgate as a company. So many people are seeing Northgate vans on a daily basis. In the next twelve months another 20,000 vehicles will be liveried with full branding and the balance of the fleet will sport the Northgate dial. “With this increased exposure comes even more responsibility as the changes go right to the heart of the company in terms of what we are trying to achieve, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to service. The projects outlined as well as the commitment of our teams to deliver them will for sure improve our product quality and service delivery.”


have seen a Northgate branded vehicle

*75:25 spilt between customers and prospects. Varied fleet sizes. Average 24.9 vehicles.

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 16

05/04/2011 10:26:45

succession programme

The Drive for Success

15 spring 2011 | issue 02

In 2006, Northgate launched the Succession Management Programme, a series of short modular courses which make up a 2 year programme of learning for selected colleagues in the Northgate Group.

Gareth Jones and David Howarth

David Love and Gareth Jones The second programme ended on March 8 with all eight participants graduating. They were; David Howarth, David Love, Jon Good, Mark O’Mahony, Nigel Frost, Peter Adams, Raymond Ramsay, Trevor Mewes.

Mark O'Mahony and Simon Ridley

Peter Adams and Charles Starr

Trevor Mewes and Chris Muir

The programme began in September 2008 comprising 12 modules designed to equip the participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to succeed in today’s dynamic marketplace. The graduation ceremony took place at The Copthorne Hotel in Newcastle, and was attended by members of the UK management team Chris Muir, Gareth Jones, Charles Starr and Simon Ridley. Tony Hodson, from Hodson Associates, who developed the programme said: “This has been an outstanding group of people, with everyone so eager to learn new and better ways of leading their business areas. It's been a genuine privilege to have been involved in what has undoubtedly been an exciting journey, with the promise of much more to come.”

Nigel Frost and Simon Ridley

Jon Good and Charles Starr The programme aims to give colleagues the skills they will need if they change roles or move up in the business Tony Hodson continued: “The courses which make up the programme are highly participative, practical and involve a mix of case studies, group work and person-centred trainer input." Chris Muir, UK Director, said: “The benefits of the Succession Management Programme will be seen across the business from operations to sales. These latest graduates have shown a real passion for Northgate and this will help the business in delivering ongoing success.” Hodson Associates were supported in the programme by a number of external providers such as the Institute of Directors, Hemsley Fraser and many other experts. Congratulations again to those successful graduates. Their ongoing contribution to the business is eagerly anticipated in the months and years to come.

Raymond Ramsay and Chris Muir

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 17

05/04/2011 10:26:51

editorial feature




DIESEL HYBRID Coming soon, Peugeot will write another new chapter in motoring history when it launches the world’s first diesel hybrid car in the shape of the 3008 diesel hybrid. The combination of a 2.0-litre 163bhp HDi diesel powerplant driving the front wheels, and a 37bhp electric motor driving the rear, delivers 200bhp and a fuel consumption and CO2 emission saving of approximately 30% compared with a conventional petrol engine. In the combined cycle, the 3008 diesel hybrid will deliver 74.4mpg and emit just 99g/km of CO2. Drivers can choose from four operating modes: Zero Emissions Vehicle, Four Wheel Drive, Auto and Sport.


A new era of e-HDi Stop and Start technology arrives on board the all-new 508 this year, enabling this imposing new model to achieve CO2 emissions of just 109g/km*. Peugeot’s high voltage, new generation Stop and Start system places the engine on standby when the vehicle is at a standstill (at traffic lights for example), and is automatically restarted when accelerating away. This not only results in a reduction of CO2 emissions but ensures maximum efficiency in urban areas, saving on fuel by up to 15%. *115g/km at launch.

Head-Up Display The 508 and 3008 Crossover – voted WhatCar? Crossover of the Year for 2010 and 2011 – both boast innovative safety technology in the form of a Head-Up Display, which projects speed, a cruise control/speed limiter and distance alert radar information at eye level. With all the essential information displayed directly in front of them, drivers can safely keep their eyes on the road – and at a safe distance from the car in front.

Grip & Dynamic Rol l Control* The unique Grip Control, available as an optional feature on the 3008, optimises the traction control of both front wheels for improved grip off road or in poor conditions. It’s operated by a switch with five settings: Standard, Snow, Off Road (Mud/Dirt/ Wet Grass), Sand and ESP off. Also on the 3008, Dynamic Roll Control links to the rear suspension, minimising body roll in bends, improving handling, and delivering extra comfort. *On the THP 156 and HDi 150 models.

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 18 SimonBailesadvertorial.indd 10

A erodynamics & Conne c ti v ity


Electronically controlled air intakes will be introduced on the 508 after launch, further improving aerodynamics and, therefore, fuel economy. Also on board the 508 is a system that will detect when main beam headlights can be used and adjust the lights accordingly. Meanwhile, state-of-the-art audio and navigation equipment, bluetooth connectivity and a USB facility all feature on both the 3008 and 508. Technology really is a wonderful thing...

AND ELEC TRIC O F CO U R S E! Peugeot’s 100% electric iOn is on sale now, delivering zero CO2 emissions while driving. Stylish and compact, the iOn comfortably seats four adults, and features air conditioning, automatic headlights, and radio/CD with MP3 and Bluetooth compatibility.

05/04/2011 10:27:12 21/3/11 16:51:10

Are You Being Served?

17 spring 2011 | issue 02


institute of customer service

Northgate’s first priority is the customer, which is why they have become a corporate member of the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) and are now embarking on a journey to achieve the ICS Service mark which acknowledges high performance in the field of customer service delivery. ICS is the national independent professional body whose main purpose is to lead customer service performance and professionalism. They have over 360 organisational members including well known high street brands, Asda, Starbucks and Marks and Spencer. Membership gives Northgate access to a network of 8,500 practising individual members from across the private and public sectors. It also supports member organisations, through access to training and qualifications for individuals and provides diagnostic tools to help organisations develop their customer service strategy.

with Northgate over the coming months to help embed the ICS Professional Awards and roll out, ICS ServCheck and ICS UKCSI which provide the pathway for Northgate to gain organisational accreditation for service excellence.” In addition to the ICS programme, and keeping the focus on customer service, the next regular management training session entitled, ‘What does good look like?’ will be delivered in April. The full day in-house sessions will be facilitated by Ian Dunn along with Simon Ridley in the north and Charles Starr in the south.

Our business revolves around service delivery whether it be at the hire desk, workshop, sales teams or central contact centre. Ian Dunn, Training Manager

Ian Dunn, Northgate Training Manager, said: “Our business revolves around service delivery whether it be at the hire desk, workshop, sales teams or central contact centre. We have all experienced bad customer service somewhere along the line and understand how damaging it can be to relationships with customers.” The first phase of the programme will involve identifying a number of people across the Northgate business to act as ‘coaches’. They will be responsible for supporting individual ‘practitioners’ on a national training programme across the key areas of the group supported by the Awards Manager. The programme offers each individual practitioner the opportunity of three levels of award. Bronze is awarded for achievements in communication. Silver is awarded when the ability to provide solutions in the pursuit of high levels of customer service is demonstrated. The top Gold award is achieved by practitioners who are involved in development and generating innovative ideas. Northgate will be supported by a dedicated Account Director from ICS, Jaqui Marchesi: “We are delighted to welcome Northgate Plc to membership of The Institute of Customer Service. I will work closely

Pictures from left to right - Charles Starr, Operations Director South, Jacqui Marchesi, ICS Account Director, Ian Dunn, Training Manager and Simon Ridley, Operations Director North

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05/04/2011 10:27:14

behind researchthe brand


A New Proposition? Customers and Northgate Colleagues battle it out

Cars from the 1998/99 season

The competition mounts

In March, Northgate conducted a series of interactive focus groups. Representatives across a wide range of customers, from small and medium size enterprises to large national companies gathered at the Williams F1 Conference Centre in Didcot, with the purpose of collecting feedback on a concept for a new proposition. If developed, the new proposition would offer customers a clearly defined, innovative and value driven service offering, as well as consolidating Northgate's position as the UK’s leading commercial vehicle hire company. The new proposition would aim to offer a level of service which would appeal to any existing or potential customer, identifying all motivational factors in the selection of a fleet service partner. To allow customers to freely present their views on Northgate’s current product and service delivery and their opinions on the new concept in an objective environment, the focus groups were facilitated by independent representatives from management consultants, Collinson Grant who have been working with Northgate on a number of projects. The three sessions on the day covered different topics; firstly an interactive presentation where customers were able to give instant and anonymous feedback to Northgate’s new proposition via electronic keypads. This was followed by a discussion around their current

views on Northgate and then a session to discuss their understanding and reactions to the new proposition.

value focussed service, and although what we presented were concepts, they are things that we could deliver if our customers see a benefit.

As well as the research sessions, there was also the opportunity to take some time out and enjoy the facilities on offer at the conference centre. Customers and Northgate representatives were given a tour of the building and museum which holds a fantastic selection of Williams F1 cars from Nigel Mansell’s and Damon Hill’s championship winning cars to the famous 6 wheel car first tested by Alan Jones and later Keke Rosberg.

“We also hope that this has been a good opportunity for our customers too. It is clear from what we have heard today, that we do have some work to do in terms of delivering on our current service proposition. We have to thank our customers who attended for giving us their honest opinions. We are sure that this day will prove key in shaping the future of Northgate.”

There was also a team competition on a large scale Scalextric circuit which provided much amusement and a high level of competitive spirit. And finally everyone had the chance to sit in a real F1 car and set a fast lap, (some faster than others) around a simulator version of Silverstone. Gareth Jones, Northgate Sales and Marketing Director said: “This has been a valuable exercise for us. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to offer our customers a more

Top three fastest drivers on the F1 simulator

Jacques Villeneuve's 1996 car

Williams F1 Conference Centre

Customers enjoy a film on the history of Williams

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 20

05/04/2011 10:27:22

advertorial feature


We offer one point of contact for all filter requirements from one supplier, coupled with competitive pricing and partnered with the leading filter manufacturers, such as WIX Filters, Mann & Hummel, Fleetguard, UFI and Mahle.

FCL produce and supply the Innovative ECO2 Air Filters, which Northgate have already adopted and standardised across their fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, with other models being introduced all the time, such as the Volkswagen Transporter and Citroen Berlingo.

We operate a comprehensive service package which incorporates the following key elements:

The ECO2 Filter offers fantastic benefits such as the following: •

Longer Life, 100,000 miles or 24 months without change

Reduced maintenance time / vehicle down time

Easier fitment

Full technical support with dedicated account manager

High dust holding capacity with same efficiency as traditional paper filter

Full warranty package

Potential fuel savings due to increase air flow efficiency

Regular site visits from FCL

Fits into existing air housing without modification

Guaranteed supply of filter reference ordered, or alternative supplied at no expense to customer.

Technology has been used in the bus, train and truck market for over 28 years. We have even fitted on tanks as standard

The range covers over 3,000 models and are priced attractively for fleets and manufacturers.

Fixed pricing for contract duration

Next day delivery with no minimum order quantity or value

Nationwide delivery next day to every site

To find out more about FCL and ECO2 Filters, you can visit our website at:

or contact us at: Tel (01604) 70 77 50

or contact: Wayne Stevens on (07967) 215058

spring 2011 | issue 02

FCL (Filtration Control Limited) is the contracted supplier of all filtration products to Northgate Vehicle Hire in the UK and Spain and has supplied the group for over two years. FCL have been trading for over 28 years and specialise in supplying filters to all industries, with vast experience and focus in supplying automotive and light commercial end user fleets. We supply all filters direct, from the oil, air and fuel to the pollen filters and even the hydraulic and transmission on the heavier vehicles.

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05/04/2011 10:27:24

We understand the importance of a desirable business model.

Look closer at the new Peugeot 508 either on paper or behind the wheel and you’ll see a car that offers quality time without compromise. With CO2 levels starting from just 109g/km*, up to 64.2 mpg and fuel saving e-HDi Stop and Start technology, the new 508’s figures are as impressive as its looks. TO ANALYSE THE NEW PEUGEOT 508 IN GREATER DETAIL GO TO WWW.PEUGEOT.CO.UK/NEW508SALOON OR CALL THE PEUGEOT FLEET CENTRE 024 7688 4644




Official Fuel Consumption in mpg (1/100km) and CO2 emissions (g/km) for the 508 Range are: Urban 30.7 – 55.4; Extra Urban 55.4 – 72.4; Combined 44.1 – 64.2. CO2 emissions 109 – 150 (g/km). *115g/km at launch (109g/km available to order at launch).

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05/04/2011 10:27:24

behind therelationship brand customer management

Relationships Matter


Tony Anderson, Northgate’s Head of Sales Support explains: “We know we are very efficient at providing our customers and prospects with the relevant offer at the right time. Where we want to improve, is understanding more about every touchpoint we have with the customer.” By investing in a new system, Northgate aim to get a fuller understanding of each customers’ history so that any future contact can be more relevant and valuable. As many sales and marketing professionals know, there are many CRM systems available 'off-theshelf' and in their own ways they are very good. But Northgate believe that sometimes they can lead to compromises where there are conflicts with other internal IT systems. For this reason they are leveraging the existing AXIS IT system, which already holds customer, rental and financial information, and additionally has a CRM module, but also adding to this with a bespoke module for use by the mobile field force.

spring 2011 | issue 02

Without a rigid customer relationship management (CRM) programme, relationships with current or potential customers for any business cannot be managed properly, which is why Northgate is investing in improving its customer contact programme. will be invaluable in ensuring that feedback and actions are clearly communicated and addressed.” A dedicated team including colleagues from the Business Units, IT, Marketing and Telesales, Collinson Grant and SMYL is currently working on the development of the new CRM system in line with Northgate’s implementation of AXIS, a brand new IT database management system. It is hoped that the new system will be ready for testing in the East Midlands and the South before being rolled out across the group in May 2011.

We want our CRM system to be designed around our customers. Only this way, will we really understand their needs and how we can most benefit them as the relationship develops. Tony Anderson, Head of Sales Support

Tony continues: “We want our CRM system to be designed around our customers. Only this way, will we really understand their needs and how we can most benefit them as the relationship develops.” As well as allowing Northgate to improve their understanding of the customer, the new system will also facilitate much quicker input of information from customer and prospect meetings. Sales and Account Managers in the field will be able to update the CRM system remotely, via a Palm-PDA or smartphone, in 'real-time' without the risk of duplication or inaccuracy with the retyping of notes. “Ultimately we are a service company and want to better interact with our customers. The new CRM system has been built to ensure that our commercial teams spend more of their time talking to all of their customers. It has been designed to actively ensure that we maintain a constant and meaningful level of contact right through the process from prospect to customers. The system

driven / spring 2011

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 23

driven / spring 2011 05/04/2011 10:27:27

You’re always on the move, why shouldn’t VanTrader move with you? Introducing Our New Mobile Website designed to help you do business whenever and wherever you are. Browse the website Search Refine search results Easily view multiple images Easily view full detail Plus, with email and call functions and the ability to get directions, your next van will never be more than a click away.

Be a part of the mobile revolution with

Trader Connect iPhone App: Take your business on the road Quick: Upload images directly from your mobile phone Flexible: Manage stock and create adverts wherever you are Easy: Simple to use and quick to understand To get Trader Connect mobile, search for Trader Connect in the App Store on your phone or in iTunes.

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 24

05/04/2011 10:27:51

behind the brand recruitment

In February, Northgate Vehicle Hire launched its first national online and press recruitment campaign, marking another major step for a now, truly national brand.

23 spring 2011 | issue 02

Northgate Casts the Net for Talent The vehicle hire division of Northgate was looking to strengthen its commercial operation, with the recruitment of Account Managers and New Business Development Managers across its network of 62 depots. Northgate has always had success in recruiting and training very good people, but this time the net was cast wider in order to attract not just the best people in the automotive sector, but those in other retail sales sectors. Northgate Sales and Marketing Director, Gareth Jones said: “This is a great opportunity for us to be able to stand alongside other major UK brands as a company where people can come and build a successful career." “We understand that there are many talented people out there and firmly believe that there shouldn’t be any barriers in terms of how much or little experience potential candidates have in the automotive sector.� There is no hiding from the difficulties being faced by many of Northgate’s competitors either. Gareth Jones continues: “I think that this recruitment drive really shows our strength in the marketplace and our commitment to driving the business forward to more success and ultimately an even better service for our customers.�

s s s


4HEN .ORTHGATE 6EHICLE (IRE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU We are the largest light commercial vehicle rental company in the UK with over   vehicles operating out of  locations. In addition to this, we fleet manage over 15,000 vehicles and host an additional   VEHICLES on our fleet management portal. We deliver industry leading solutions in vehicle hire, workshop services and fleet management to over   customers and are looking for new talent to strengthen and reinforce the commercial business division in the following areas:



We will be holding assessment days in March in the North (Leeds), Midlands (Nottingham) and South (Elstree) with the purpose of recruiting across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. If you think that you have what it takes and would like to apply then in the first instance please email your CV and covering letter to SALESRECRUITMENT NORTHGATEPLCCOM referencing '2/# in the subject.

This is a great opportunity for us to be able to stand alongside other major UK brands as a company where people can come and build a successful career. Gareth Jones, Sales and Marketing Director

10/02/2011 Assessment days were held in Leeds, Nottingham and Elstree with chosen candidates going through to a final interview. As well as responses from national media, over 750 in all, existing Northgate colleagues had the opportunity to apply for the roles, further enhancing Northgate’s promise of being a company where you can develop a successful career.

0145_Recruitment-advert-RG-130x89-F.indd 1


Gareth Jones concluded: "We look forward to welcoming the successful candidates to Northgate and working with them to build an even stronger company."

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05/04/2011 10:27:52



*Based on SMMT Jan-Sept 2010 sales volume for Caddy van (Caddy and Caddy Maxi models). The product name CaddyŽ is a registered trademark of Caddie S.A. It is used by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles courtesy of Caddie S.A. †Source: CAP October 2010.

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05/04/2011 10:27:53

communication board

Let's Communicate


To support this, new Communication Boards will be supplied to all Northgate depot locations plus the head office Norflex House, Fleet Technique, GPS Body Repairs, Van Monster and Northgate Trade Vans Direct sites. They will show performance against pre-agreed local and national KPI’s and targets. As an example, the hire desk targets will be set daily and weekly and will include such things as fleet utilisation, vehicles awaiting collection, vehicles ready to rent as well as financial targets.

Group performance figures will keep everyone up to date with vehicles on hire and ready to rent, figures relating to vehicles off the road and those awaiting collection. There will also be an update of any group initiatives such as PDA technology or training case schedules. These boards will be displayed in back offices so all colleagues get a full understanding of their role and impact on the performance of the group. Charles Starr, Operations Director South said: “It is vital to the performance of Northgate that every colleague understands how they are

Northgate Communication Board Finance Weekly KPI’s 4ARGET


Group Performance Vehicles on Hire

redesk HiVOR

KPI’s sk Weekly



VOR % 7#


7# 7#

Target 7# 7#

Await Collection >48hrs



“With the move to ‘One Northgate’ we also must do everything to ensure that we act as such and this simple, but effective communication channel will provide an excellent weekly picture of performance.�

Charles Starr, Operations Director South

Utilisation of Fleet

Ready to rent

d ation Boar Communic Target

orthgate NTarget


contributing to its success. Communication across the business is something we know we can improve.

It is vital to the performance of Northgate that every colleague understands how they are contributing. Communication across the business is something we know we can improve.



spring 2011 | issue 02

With a national network of hire desks, workshops, finance departments, sales departments and support centres, a 100% accurate communication channel to share group performance is a valuable asset.


d ation Boar


Workshop Workshop


Weekly KPI

7# 7#







ily Hiredesk Da


Target 4UES







Daily KPI’s







Initiatives formance

Group Per

les on Hire

Initiatives formance

Group Per

Ready to rent

Vehicles on







of Fleet

Ready to rent




of Fleet






ction >48h

Await Colle VOR %



ction >48h

Await Colle VOR %

Target Target

Target Target

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 27

05/04/2011 10:28:00

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 28

05/04/2011 10:28:02

behind sales the brand vehicle

Northgate Trade Vans Direct was launched to give customers more choice in a tough business environment where reliability and affordability were a priority. Northgate Trade Vans Direct remarkets Northgate’s lower priced vehicles, with higher mileages, but which are still mechanically sound, whereas, their premium retail offering, Van Monster, which has been trading since 2004, sells the group’s premium stock. All vehicles from Van Monster have extensive service histories and are mechanically very strong, but more importantly to the target customer, they are in physically better condition. The new Northgate Trade Vans Direct website will target the semi-retail and trade market, selling Northgate’s lower priced vehicles with the added function of an online auction and bidding system. This is Northgate’s first step into the world of selling vehicles wholly and directly online.

This new division of Northgate Vehicle Sales will promote itself as the disposal channel that will appeal to traders as well as end users who wish to benefit from a cheaper van.

is important for customers to have access to vehicles that suit their budget. It is also still just as important for customers to have the best of the best, which is what Van Monster offers."

Trade Vans Direct will stock more than 1,000 vehicles, of between two and five years old.

Once launched, traders who open an account with Northgate will be able to log in, check the latest stock and bid for a vehicle all from within the confines of a secure website.

They will be from the top manufacturers and range from car-derived vans to panel vans such as Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, Vitos and Ford Transits. There will also be a variety of chassis cabs and tippers. The majority of vehicles will have mileages up to 200k. For retail customers purchasing from Northgate Trade Vans Direct, every vehicle comes with a robust warranty package for extra peace of mind. John Fleet, Group Asset Director commented: "Northgate Trade Vans Direct is about choice for the customer. In this economic climate it

27 spring 2011 | issue 02

Going Once. Going Twice. Going Direct

Gary Sullivan, Managing Director - Northgate Vehicle Sales said: “One of the most exciting aspects of this new launch is the online bidding system. Giving customers the ability to go online, view and actively bid and win vehicles anywhere within the UK means that our disposal channel will become truly nationwide.” Trade Vans Direct will also dual brand their depots in line with the new brand at their current trade depots from Banbury, Bridlington, Colchester, Darlington, Dublin, Huddersfield and Newmains. Watch out over the coming months for the new website.

Bridlington depot which boasts a four acre trade site

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 29

05/04/2011 10:28:04

dedicated to following . . . t r o p s e th

ar with it’s As Vito Sport enters it’s 3rd ye and in particular association with bike riders, t to be the biggest yet, the MTB arena 2011 looks se celebrate the launch with activities ramping up to of the New Vito Sport! t with the Animal

ady established involvemen For 2011 in addition to our alre ve added and MBUK Wrecking Crew we’ ies Ser Bike Tour, MTB Marathon (road team), ea Orb 3cnty Twe ude rs. These incl a host of Vito Sport ambassado ed out nch bra ction Cycles and we’ve now Bike Riders United, Chain Rea kes, Sto n Ala – fer with the inclusion of sur into the world of freesports ity. Ver nno Joh – snowboarder kite surfer – Kirsty Jones and

our community rocks!

Vito Sport has started to establ ish itself as a credible voice within these exciting sports. With over 6000 friends on Fac ebook, nearly 2500 followers on Twitter and 200,000 plus views of our videos on our YouTube channel, why not joi n the Vito Sport community and see what all the fuss is abo ut.

what are you waiting for? You can keep up to date with all the latest news, events, videos and expert opinions... so what are you waiting for?

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 10173 MEC Vito Sport 2011 editorial30(4) JB.indd 1

05/04/2011 10:28:32 22/03/2011 14:24

Let's Talk About....IT In the first issue of Driven, IT overviewed the AXIS roll out to-date. This quarter has again seen another major step forward with the successful go-live of the new system into the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber regions. We now have seven areas live, with an average of 520 users processing 43,000 live rental bookings - a huge effort and great thanks is due to the Project team, Business support and the Business team to make this happen in some of our largest areas. Paul Parry, Programme Director, said: “Thank you to everyone for making the latest phased roll out of Axis go so well over the weekend of 26 and 27 February. The six weeks prior had been spent training some 165 new users and preparing data for some 23,000 vehicles and associated rental agreements across 17 depots. The staff in each of the areas supported the preparation process with great effort and generally smiling. Thank you for that�

A major and exciting development is also the trial and initial roll out of the Driver Logistics PDA system. The PDA enables Northgate drivers to see what delivery or collection jobs they have in the day, and process the check sheet and rental agreement with an efficient paperless system.

As well as replacing paper check sheets, the PDA shows diagrams of the vehicle and can take photos. With every collection or delivery at least two photos are taken. These show the condition of the outside of the vehicle, as well as close up pictures of any damage. Jonathan Smith, IT Director.

29 spring 2011 | issue 02

1 14:24

let's talk about...IT

But as with most departments this was far from the only work on the books! Within this issue of Driven you will have seen the article 'Relationships Matter', as IT make progress with the new CRM solution and the redevelopment of our website with new creative branding, new functionality and new features. In the background we are also nearing roll out completion of new system security through Sophos antivirus protection, new network links and phone system to better link Fleet Technique, regional workshop communications networks, new reports and data cubes.

North West Roll Out February saw the roll out to the North West for up to seventy drivers, replacing their current PDA system, to now centrally plan driver jobs. This will mean more efficient planning delivering an excellent 'One Northgate' service to our customers and optimising resource use across our areas. During this quarter, look out for the driver PDAs, Sales CRM systems and AXIS roll outs on the ground as IT becomes more visible across our business.

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05/04/2011 10:28:37


10 things you didn't know about... vehicle monitoring A fleet manager that never sleeps. That is an accurate description of Northgate Vehicle Monitoring, a user-friendly, web-based system giving you 24/7 visibility over your vehicles. Monitoring your vehicle fleet can help reduce fuel costs and overtime claims as well as increasing the productivity and operational efficiency of your drivers. The system also assists in fulfilling an employer’s duty of care responsibilities and identifying specific driver training needs. Head of non-rental sales, Stuart Fairbrother said: “Having spent nearly six years with Northgate Vehicle Monitoring, it has been really encouraging to see how it has benefited customers across so many market sectors. In particular, it has enhanced their service delivery mechanisms, whilst evolving in line with the marketplace and their expectations. Mickey Jackson, Commercial Control Manager at BEW Electrical Contractors said: “The main thing we are interested in is logistics; being able to make the very best use of each vehicle. Vehicle Monitoring has enabled us to analyse how each vehicle and driver is performing.”

Lisa Tomlinson, Fleet Manager at Crudens Property tells of the benefits she has received from vehicle monitoring: “The product has proved to be very favourable to all of our management team. We are able to locate drivers who are closer to emergency jobs saving us time and money, rather than sending somebody who is further way.” Stuart Fairbrother also believes there is huge value in the way that Vehicle Monitoring can help a business with duty of care: “All of our customers use the system for different reasons. One of the most valuable I see is the assistance in the duty of care and the corporate responsibilities our customers constantly face.” If you would like more information about Northgate Vehicle Monitoring and the benefits it could have for your business or even to arrange a demonstration, please call 0844 826 6555 or email for further details.

Northgate Vehicle Hire started the Vehicle Monitoring division in 2001 BEW Electrical Contractors were Northgate Vehicle Monitoring’s first customer and 10 years later are still a customer Northgate Vehicle Monitoring has 4,111 units presently on hire across 267 clients and completed 932 installs in 2010

Northgate’s mobile customer support vehicles are fitted with a vehicle monitoring unit which allows a fast response to assistance calls

Northgate Vehicle Monitoring offer installation at any of the 62 Northgate locations, customer premises and also a Saturday morning installation service The customer base is truly nationwide being as far north as Inverness and as far south as Exeter

Northgate Vehicle Monitoring has access to over 200 mobile engineers across the UK

Northgate Vehicle Monitoring once installed 97 units over the course of a weekend, from receiving a vehicle monitoring order on a Friday, ready for delivery to the customer on Monday morning On average each Northgate Vehicle Monitoring customer has 14 units

In February 2011 Northgate Vehicle Monitoring launched a battery powered unit which allows easy transfer from vehicle to vehicle

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05/04/2011 10:28:41

0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 33

05/04/2011 10:28:42



It’s All for a Good Cause Northgate employees have a good history of raising money for charity and the current crop are no different. Gareth Roulston, who has worked for Northgate for three years, will be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats at Easter in aid of two charities, Cancer Research UK and The Scleroderma Society.

“Prior to raising money for fighting breast cancer I had run marathons for Leukaemia Research. For every challenge, I pay for all my own travel and expenses so every penny I raise goes to fighting cancer,” said Steve.

The trip will cover 1020 miles in 10 days and Gareth will be accompanied by four friends. “The biggest challenge for me in doing this ride is the fact that I work away during the week, so my training has been very much focussed around spin classes and gym sessions from Monday to Friday, then covering as much mileage as possible at the weekends.

To date, he has raised over £18,000 to help fight breast cancer. You can see his great story at

“I’ve always been much more of a mountain biker but since deciding to do LeJog I’ve developed a love for the road bike. It really is a massive challenge but will be worth it. Hopefully we can raise a really big total for the two charities.” See how Gareth gets on at http://journal.

Marathon Man Steve Coupland is another Northgate colleague who devotes much of his spare time to fundraising following his wife’s diagnosis with breast cancer in 1998. Steve’s huge list of achievements include conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt Aconcagua in Argentina, Marathon of the Midnight Sun - a run 270 miles inside the Arctic Circle from Tromso in Norway. He has also completed three London, two Paris and one New York Marathon as well as others in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest and Moscow.

Christmas Cheer Every Christmas, Northgate Recovery Driver Leighton ‘Golly’ Kingwell from the Bristol hire depot dons the red and white of Father Christmas and hands out presents to local children, who might not otherwise receive many gifts. Leighton said: “I try to be as authentic as possible, growing my beard from August and dying my hair. It’s all worth it though when you see the smiles on the kids faces.”

Team Members from left to right Jordan Lambert, Gareth Roulston, Duncan Grant, Danny Smetham

Comic Relief Cath Calow and Carolyn Downs “got physical” for Comic Relief in March and dressed up in full gym kit and leotards. They managed to raise over £170 collecting donations from colleagues in the Northgate Head Office and the Darlington Van Monster and vehicle hire depots next door. Cath said: “Obviously we would like to thank everyone for their donations, no matter how large or small, and no doubt we will be doing something just as daft in November for Children in Need. Anyone fancy a Conga around the block?” If you are doing something for charity and want to tell us about it, contact Chloe Obinu in the marketing team.

Steve Coupland at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

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05/04/2011 10:29:10

behind moversthe andbrand shakers SALES LEAGUE Every three months league tables are published on the company intranet, to showcase some of our top performers.

FIRST PLACE Derek Chambers - NORTH east

In June 2010, Northgate began a process of engagement with the Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme.

completed an average of five phase tests and supporting online tests, averaging a pass score of 73.4%.

The commitment from both Northgate and Ford, as well as the support from Skillnet, has ensured that the results of the two groups from the first 10 months have been very successful.

The apprentices are also progressing well through other areas of learning such as Key Skills in Mathematics, English Language and Computer Skills.

As the first year of block release at Ford Technical Colleges draws to a close, all 35 apprentices are progressing well. All learners across the two apprentice groups have

If the current levels of achievement are maintained with one more training block to go in June 2011, all apprentices should progress to year two.

Group 1A have successfully completed the 1st Ford module in Health and Safety with Group 1B having also completed the Service Administration for Technician module.

SECOND PLACE Craig Wells - east midlands THIRD PLACE Rebecca Gisbourne - south FOURTH PLACE James Caves - Home counties FIFTH PLACE Paul Spandrzyk - west midlands

Congratulations Stacey Williams, Sales Manager in the West Midlands region has succeeded in securing a deal for 230 vehicles.

Northgate Vehicle Sales League When vehicles in the Northgate rental fleet reach the end of their life cycle, they are transferred to one of two vehicle sales channels; Van Monster or Northgate Vehicle Sales.

Gary Sullivan, Managing Director of Northgate Vehicle Sales, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sales people for their hard work. They engage with the customers and find what their requirements are, and if we don’t have the particular vehicle within their site they spend time sourcing one from within the group to ensure our customers are completely satisfied.”

northgate Vehicle Sales sales League YTD

Van Monster Sales League YTD

These vehicles will be deployed initially in the North East and Scotland with the possibility of a further 400 vehicle order if things go well. Congratulations to Stacey for her hard work and commitment.

1 2 3 4 5

Thank you


In January, Yvonne Crowley retired from Northgate South West and Wales after 14 years with the company.

Janet Simpson

We would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to Yvonne for all that she has delivered for our business and wish her every good health, happiness and success in whatever she chooses to undertake in her life after Northgate.

33 spring 2011 | issue 02

Northgate vehicle hire top 5

Apprentice Update

Paul Armitage Jonathan Keddie Mike Rossiter Rob Peachey Brian Findlay

228 160 148 143 138

1 2 3 4 5

Brian Malborough Nigel Gray Andrew Nicholls Geoff Earl Don Bates

1647 1601 1172 776 665

Nan McSherry

Old Role

Old Role

Health & Safety Co–ordinator

Financial Accountant

New Role

New Role

Safety & Environment Advisor (North)

Interim Financial Controller (Scotland & Northern Ireland)

Raymond Ramsay Old Role Financial Controller New Role Interim Area Manager (Scotland and Northern Ireland)

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05/04/2011 10:29:11

in the van with...


In the Van with...

Ed Sampson, one of the B&Q installation centre drivers with his van

B&Q have over 300 vans from Northgate that are used for delivering goods to customers from stores and installation centres. We spoke to Dave Nelson, B&Q Store Delivery Operations Manager, to find out more. When did you launch the store delivery service? “B&Q has always had a delivery service. Until 2002 we used external contractors before deciding to employ our own drivers and hire delivery vans at around 34% of the 325 stores. Since then we have increased the number of stores with vans to over 250 so we have a more consistent and professional delivery service. We also have over 50 vans at our more recently developed ‘Installation Centre’ sites.” What happens in the Stores and Installation Centres? “We take orders for goods stocked in the store that need to be delivered to the customer’s home at a convenient time for them. The stores make approximately 70-80 deliveries per week during peak seasons. The Installation Centres are regional sites where full kitchen and bathroom projects are consolidated from our suppliers and stores before being installed by our B&Q fitters in the customer’s home. These centres can deliver approximately 60 kitchen or bathroom projects every month. The number of deliveries from Installation Centres and from our Store-to-Door service depends

on when we have our in-store offers. January to April is always the busiest time following the New Year sales.”

check the goods that have been pre-loaded onto the van, complete the daily vehicle checks and set off to the delivery address.”

Which vehicles do you use for these areas of the business?

What do the Store-to-Door drivers do on a day-to-day basis?

“They are all long wheel base Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. The majority of the vehicles are Luton vans with tail lifts as the products we move are often large, heavy and difficult to handle. We have 125 vans carrying our own B&Q livery which, on one side, makes the vehicles appear to have a kitchen in the back and on the other, a bathroom. The livery is digitally printed and very high quality, designed to last well over three years without deteriorating.”

“The delivery crews are responsible for following the detailed route plan provided to ensure customers receive their deliveries within their time slot. Each van delivers goods from their store and where efficiency exists, they may be required to call into another local store to collect and complete deliveries on their behalf. The routes are all designed to be as efficient as possible. On arrival at a delivery address, the drivers will assess the drop off point and complete the delivery to the customer’s room of choice which is an added service that we provide.”

How do you plan so many deliveries? “Our planning office is in Branston (near Burton on Trent). They schedule and plan all of our Store-to-Door customer deliveries efficiently using a computer routing programme. This programme means that we utilise all of our vehicles in the best possible way, in terms of time, mileage and fuel economy. All customers are then contacted with a delivery time slot so they do not have to wait in all day.” What time do you start in the morning? “Most sites start at 8am. Planning is always done on the previous day so the drivers just need to

What are your tools of the trade? “Every vehicle has a basic pack which is a mobile phone, a satellite navigation system and a file containing relevant documents including a driver handbook, important contacts and accident reporting forms etc. The vehicle is equipped with dust sheets and boot covers to ensure the customers carpets are protected when carrying goods into their houses. These are the basic things our drivers need when they are out with their vans.”

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behind vehicle the hirebrand locations

National Network... ...National Service Yorkshire & Humber

6 Carmaben Road, Glasgow, G33 4UN Tel: 0141 773 6300 Fax: 0141 773 6301

Wiltshire Road, Hull, HU4 6PA Tel: 01482 575 777 Fax: 01482 575 712

Clifton View, Broxburn, EH52 5NE Tel: 01506 858 508 Fax: 01506 858 507

Unit 34, Normanby Road, Scunthorpe, DN15 6AL Tel: 01724 844 435 Fax: 01724 278 585

Springkerse Road, Stirling, FK7 7SN Tel: 01786 471 555 Fax: 01786 474 822

352 - 366 Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby, DN31 3DH Tel: 01472 345 706 Fax: 01472 241 238

Unit 3b, Tyseal Base, Aberdeen, AB12 3AW Tel: 01224 216 540 Fax: 01224 216 541

Norflex House, Europa Link, Sheffield, S9 1XU Tel: 0114 243 58 88 Fax: 0114 243 62 38

27 Mallusk Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 4PP Tel: 028 9084 5330 Fax: 028 9084 5331

Warmsworth Road, Doncaster, DN4 0RR Tel: 01302 853 200 Fax: 01302 853 061

Europa Way, Ipswich, IP1 5DL Tel: 01473 - 240 321 Fax: 01473 - 747 800

North East

Richardshaw Road, Pudsey, Leeds, LS28 6QW Tel: 0113 255 04 41 Fax: 0113 257 11 16

Anson Road, Norwich, NR6 6ED Tel: 01603 416 411 Fax: 01603 424 086

675 Leeds Road, Wakefield, WF1 2LU Tel: 01924 871 661 Fax: 01924 823 362

Blackstone Road, Huntingdon, PE29 6EF Tel: 01480 414 144 Fax: 01480 456 299

West Midlands

Eastern Way Industrial Estate, Bury St Edmunds, IP32 7AB Tel: 01284 762 888 Fax: 01284 725 546

Chainbridge Road, Blaydon,NE21, 5ST Tel: 0191 499 0611 Fax: 0191 499 0612 Potter Street, Wallsend, NE28 6TZ Tel: 0191 234 7640 Fax: 0191 234 7641

50 St. Ives Road Leicester, LE4 9FN Tel: 0116 246 02 12 Fax: 0116 276 31 95 Black Horse Lane, Lincoln, LN6 9UJ Tel: 01522 824 400 Fax: 01522 824 401 Northern Road, Newark, NG24 2EU Tel: 01636 679 080 Fax: 01636 610 949 372- 374 Harlaxton Road Grantham, NG31 7JK Tel: 01476 592 600 Fax: 01476 562 781

East Anglia

Bowesfield Crescent Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 3BL Tel: 01642 603 732 Fax: 01642 601 966

The Crescent, Willenhall, WV13 2QR Tel: 0121 526 53 53 Fax: 0121 526 47 84

23 Allington Way, Darlington, DL1 4QB Tel: 01325 461 125 Fax: 01325 356 530

Unit 1a, Halesfield 5, Telford, TF7 4QJ Tel: 01952 585 892 Fax: 01952 587 606

Burners Lane South, Milton Keynes, MK11 3LT Tel: 01908 264 747 Fax: 01908 307 726

North West

Winghay Close, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 4DU Tel: 01782 810 333 Fax: 01782 810 444

16 Gambrel Road, Westgate Industial Estate, Northampton, NN5 5BB Tel: 01604 590 400 Fax: 01604 590 153

Lostock Lane, Bolton, BL6 4BL Tel: 01204 668 843 Fax: 01204 696 953 Eagle Technology Park, Rochdale, OL11 1TQ Tel: 01706 718 844 Fax: 01706 525 751 Pear Mill Industrial Estate Stockport, SK6 2BP Tel: 0161 406 7472 Fax: 0161 406 9938 Kitling Road, Liverpool, L34 9JA Tel: 0151 545 5300 Fax: 0151 546 7494

Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, B11 2RJ Tel: 0121 753 33 77 Fax: 0121 753 32 32 Unit 2c, Longford Road, Coventry, CV7 9NE Tel: 02476 363 655 Fax: 02476 645 800 Stourport Road, Kidderminster, DY11 7QL Tel: 01562 862 626 Fax: 01562 862 600

East Midlands

Picow Farm Road, Runcorn, WA7 4JB Tel: 01928 590 000 Fax: 01928 564 777

2 Barton Way, Chilwell, Nottingham, NG9 4BF Tel: 0115 925 50 88 Fax: 0115 943 63 02

75 Appleby Road Kendal, LA9 6HE Tel: 01539 732 643 Fax: 01539 728 537

Chester Park, Alfreton Road, Derby , DE21 4AS Tel: 01332 292 727 Fax: 01332 385 325

spring 2011 | issue 02

Scotland & NI


Home Counties

New Ford Road, Waltham Cross, EN8 7PD Tel: 01992 714 545 Fax: 01992 714 644 Target House, Thorpe Way Banbury, OX16 4TA Tel: 01295 265 432 Fax: 01295 267 643 Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8DB Tel: 01296 399 399 Fax: 01296 399 263 Unit 7, North Hinskey Lane, Oxford, OX2 0NR Tel: 01865 244 477 Fax: 01865 244 177

South East Mid Kent Business Park, Snodland, ME6 5UA Tel: 01634 244 400 Fax: 01634 244 499 Folkestone West Station, Folkestone, CT20 3PA Tel: 01303 253 336 Fax: 01303 249 444


102 Beddington Lane, Croydon, CR0 4YX Tel: 020 8686 80 88 Fax: 020 8686 22 80 10 Stephenson Way, Crawley, RH10 1TL Tel: 01293 522 225 Fax: 01293 612 030 Long Reach Road, Barking, IG11 0JR Tel: 020 8507 8900 Fax: 020 8507 8989

South Lower William Street, Southampton, SO14 5QE Tel: 023 8021 81 00 Fax: 023 8022 42 94 Beta Way, Crabtree Road, Egham, TW20 8RE Tel: 01784 438 899 Fax: 01784 439 577 North Close, Aldershot, GU12 4DF Tel: 01252 322 202 Fax: 01252 338 161 Dundas Spur, Portsmouth, PO3 5QA Tel: 023 - 9262 16 00 Fax: 023 - 9263 96 96 Unit 10D Hopkinson Way, Andover, SP10 3LF Tel: 01264 360 222 Fax: 01264 334 237

6-8 Deacon Way, Reading, RG30 6AZ Tel: 0118 941 2041 Fax: 0118 945 2463

South West & Wales Fourth Way, Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 8DL Tel: 0117 916 30 70 Fax: 0117 982 58 72 5 Leigham Business Units, Exeter, EX2 8HY Tel: 01392 822 000 Fax: 01392 822 001 Armada Works, Emma Place Plymouth, PL1 3QT Tel: 01752 600 006 Fax: 01752 660 364 Lamby Way, Cardiff, CF3 2EQ Tel: 029 2077 64 00 Fax: 029 2077 64 01 Unit 6c, Lion Way, Swansea, SA7 9FB Tel: 01792 797 770 Fax: 01792 797 771

Republic of Ireland The Norflex Centre, 38 Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin 11, IRELAND Tel: 00353 1 866 56 56 Fax: 00353 1 866 58 81

driven / spring 2011 0159_Driven_Magazine-March-1.indd 37

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Driven - Issue 2  

Driven - The quarterly newsletter from Northgate

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