Robust management of fleet maintenance costs across the van fleet operated by Stannah has delivered a saving of more than £100,000 despite a 32% increase in the number of vehicles operated.
Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, outsources the maintenance management of its now 410-strong van fleet to Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB).
The headline figures, which reflects a pence per mile saving per van of 1.73p - down from 4.51p to 2.78p per mile - a reduction of 38% over a near seven-year period, proves that focused maintenance management can deliver significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be, a major area of fleet expenditure.
Critical to reducing service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs and ensuring vans are in tip-top condition has been driver discipline allied to Stannah using a suite of fleet management tools. They include FSGB’s driver app that has a wealth of cutting-edge features notably accident reporting and an SMR job booking facility used by the company.
SMR costs in December 2010 across Andover-headquartered Stannah’s then 310-strong van fleet totalled £341,620. In summer 2017, despite the fleet increasing to 410 vans and total fleet mileage extrapolated over 12 months rising 10% or 787,120 miles to 8.36 million miles the total cost reduced to £232,470 - a saving of £109,150 (32%). That equates to a cost per van per year reduction of 49% from £1,102 to £567.
The vast majority of Stannah’s purchased all-diesel van fleet are Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter and Volkswagen Caddy and Transport models operated over a five-year/120,000-mile replacement cycle with maintenance undertaken on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director who is in charge of the fleet, said: “The cost of most products and services increase year-on-year but, remarkably, the pence per mile vehicle operating costs on the Stannah van fleet have reduced since FSGB took over management responsibility.
“Pence per mile is widely recognised as the most accurate measure of a vehicles maintenance expenditure. The fact that pence per mile costs have reduced 38% is very significant.”
In part, it has to be acknowledged, that is due to improved vehicle manufacturer reliability, but it is also a reflection on the overall approach to identify and then manage SMR costs.
During the last two years the age profile of the van fleet has reduced with Mr Carter explaining: “We are adhering much closer to our five-year/120,000-mile policy. We used to let some vans run on, but using FSGB’s data we looked at the pence per mile operating costs over a period of time and it was obvious that above 120,000 miles there was a clear increase in SMR expenditure.”
Furthermore, each Stannah van is allocated to an individual driver who works from home with Mr Carter explaining: “That means every vehicle is completely traceable and it makes a major difference compared with an employee who travels to work each day and collects a van from a depot before returning it at the end of their shift. At Stannah each driver effectively ‘owns’ their van.”
Each vehicle is then equipped with telematics that records and delivers to Mr Carter a raft of data notably relating to driver behaviour and how a vehicle is driven. Additionally, any incident is reviewed in detail with, potentially, driver training the result.
What’s more, with Stannah’s van drivers logged on to the FSGB app it brings a significant element of self-management to the van fleet.
Mr Carter said: “We ask our drivers to provide information and we give them data and they react. The result is that the majority of our drivers do not have crashes and drive sympathetically, which all helps to deliver maintenance cost savings.
“The fleet management tools that we use generate cost reductions through savings in SMR and fuel and a reduced number of crashes.”
FSGB head of sales Marcus Bray said: “FSGB provides Stannah with a comprehensive fleet maintenance management solution and, importantly, ownership of every single service and repair issue is fully managed through to completion. FSGB operates as an extension of Stannah’s own fleet department.
“The maintenance management results are very positive which demonstrates, in my view, a good working partnership and also, very importantly, a Stannah policy which encourages ownership and responsibility from a driver perspective.”
FSGB was launched in spring 2015 led by Mr Bray, who following his decision to leave his former company, Fleet Support Group (FSG), was approached by a number of industry-experienced colleagues to form a unique co-ownership fleet management company
When FSGB launched, Mr Carter decided to invest his trust in the new company’s ability to deliver having previously relied on FSG to manage the Stannah van fleet.