The Bradfords Group, one of the largest independent suppliers of building materials in the U.K.
Industry: Building Supplies
Yeovil, Somerset, U.K.
Types of Vehicles:
Cars, vans, pickups, large good vehicles (LGVs), forklifts
“LEVL and Geotab are intrinsic to our business, not only supporting our business trading system allowing us to give accurate delivery updates to our customers, but also providing key metrics to help us understand and improve our vehicle efficiency. LEVL are always there and willing to help tailor the system to our needs.
Head of Transport, The Bradfords Group
The Challenge: Need for Comprehensive Tracking
As fleets become ever-more reliant on fleet tracking, they are finding that not every solution can deliver the detail and insights they need for management.
This was the position that The Bradfords Group, based in Yeovil, Somerset, U.K., found itself in about a year ago, when Martin Caddick joined the company as Head of Transport. The company already had a telematics system in place, but Martin found that it wasn’t comprehensive enough.
“The previous system did not provide the key metrics we required, and was difficult to use,” he says. “The lack of user friendliness made the system virtually unworkable.”
Because of this lack of simplicity, Martin says that it was difficult to monitor the company’s vehicles. Knowing the precise location of vehicles is essential for communicating delivery status to customers or retracing a vehicle’s movements. Martin also wanted to uphold the Bradfords brand by monitoring and minimising non-compliant driving behaviours such as speeding.
The company, which has a unique heritage of being established in 1770, is a progressive organization with over 40 branches throughout the South West of England, including Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The Bradfords Group currently operates a fleet of 700 vehicles that range from forklifts to cars to pickups and Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs).
The Solution: Informed by Experience
The transition from the previous telematics solution to Geotab was also informed by Martin’s experience implementing a telematics solution for a previous employer — so he knew what to look for when choosing the right fit for Bradfords.
“Obviously, I have had some experience of other solutions in the market, but I think our Reseller went above and beyond in terms of support and demonstrating to the business what can be achieved if the Geotab solution gets used properly, which is always the problem you have with telematics. Everyone wants it, but no one wants to use the information or doesn’t know how to use the information,” observes Martin. “Our Reseller has been very, very good, and has remained very good in terms of the backup and the support that they’ve given us.”
Ultimately, it was the combination of Geotab’s capabilities and the Reseller’s superior customer service that convinced Martin and his colleagues that it was the right choice.
The company implemented Geotab about 12 months ago, and Theresa Heal, Transport Manager for The Bradfords Group, said it was a painless process.
She also notes that there was little driver pushback — reflecting both the way fleet and company leadership implemented the solution and the realities of the U.K. fleet market in regard to telematics.
“For anyone who has been less than positive about it, we’ve explained that it’s a level of protection to them as well, and I think they buy into that once they’ve seen it. Generally, telematics has been in the U.K. market for quite some time,” she says. “So, every single driver who is qualified in the U.K. will be aware that it’s just a thing that you learn to accept in a company. Maybe 10 years ago, there was a lot of push back about having a tracker. But the reality is its pretty non-existent now and everyone is quite open to it.”
The Geotab solution has been installed on all of the fleet’s commercial vehicles — vans, pickups, and LGVs.
The Results: Measuring the ‘Magnificent Seven’
With the Geotab Solution in place, Martin and his team have developed a customised reporting tool that they’ve named “TheMagnificent Seven,” which is a scorecard that monitors seven key driver behaviours — among them speeding, harsh cornering,harsh braking, idling, and over-revving. The custom scorecard promotes safe and conscientious driving and also identifies drivers who may need additional coaching.
The weekly report identifies the top 10 best drivers and the 10 worst drivers in the business. The company generates scorecards for all of the drivers monitored by the Geotab solution at its 40+ locations throughout the U.K.
“We leave it up to the manager as to whether he shares that information with the drivers or not, and publicly shares it with his or her Team or whether he/she just has a one-to-one conversation with the drivers,” says Caddick.
Getting Drivers On Board with Gamification
Although the implementation went smoothly from a technical perspective, there was some initial pushback from drivers. Pearson used The Driver Challenge gamification solution from the Geotab Marketplace to gamify the driver’s experience, which has led to high engagement and acceptance from the drivers. Farmdrop measured driver performance based on speeding, seat belt use, harsh braking, acceleration and cornering. “The majority of drivers who’ve picked it up in a positive way want to beat their own score and want to beat their peers’ scores on a monthly basis. And so actually it becomes an interactive solution and they get enjoyment out of seeing their scores improve,” says Pearson. The insights on driving trends also becomes a useful tool for the management team.
The Bradfords Group Boosts Safety and Efficiency with Custom Driver Scorecard
The Magnificent Seven scorecard has led to improvements in driver behaviour and safety — with speeding a particular area of focus and success. As a result of drivers obeying the posted speed limits, The Bradfords Group was also able to cut fuel costs.
Several months ago, the company received a substantial bill for damage one of its drivers had reportedly caused after colliding with a railway bridge. Using Geotab data, Martin was able to vindicate the driver – his truck was unladen and therefore could not have struck the bridge – and thereby saved the company from all associated costs.
“I believe that our insurers take a positive view of having a tracker units in our vehicles,” he says. “I would say our insurers, when we renewed, viewed the fact that we had such a good system as Geotab within our business as a positive.”
Looking Ahead to New Fleet Goals
With that said, Martin expects that it may be some time before he’ll be able to fully quantify all of the benefits the company has netted from using its Geotab solution, but with his experience using telematics and managing fleets, he can make some educated predictions about other benefits the company can expect.
“I would expect that we would see some reduction in brake wear because of the reduction in harsh braking,” he says. “This is because people are driving the vehicles differently and they know they’re being monitored. In terms of what else have we actually experienced, it’s hard to say because we haven’t got that much data behind us, but I know what we are going to experience and that will be a reduction in cost and, hopefully, fewer incidents.”
With the reduction of speeding events, Martin says that his next goal is to cut the amount of idling the fleet is experiencing, particularly in the winter months. For example, by reducing drivers’ vehicle warm up time routine from 15 minutes to five minutes, across 180 or 250 vehicles, the fleet could save literally thousands of pounds a month in diesel.
With a committed Transport Team at the helm, in partnership with Geotab and their Reseller, LEVL, The Bradfords Group can look forward to further fleet improvements and more business success.
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