Speedy Services is the UK’s leading tool, equipment and plant hire services company, with specialist divisions including powered access, lifting, survey, rail and power. It supplies a wide range of equipment to major infrastructure, and construction projects, and to trade and retail customers through its nationwide service centre network and through concessions in a number of B&Q stores.
With over 1,000 commercial vehicles, including 229 HGVs, the company runs an extensive internal logistics operation between its national distribution centre and its 180 trading locations, as well as providing equipment to third parties. Fleet Director Aaron Powell and Group Fleet Compliance Manager Gareth Jones tell us about their road safety journey.
“Logistics is a very substantial part of our business and so we have an important responsibility to make our operations as safe as possible. We want our drivers to be safe so we approach everything from a safety-first perspective.”
Aaron Powell, Fleet Director, Speedy Services
- 13% reduction in incidents 2022, year on year
- Reduction in insurance premiums
- 90% recovery of uninsured loss
Speedy Services invests extensively in safety kit for its commercial vehicles. Its vehicles are equipped with:
- Front and rear crash protection (autonomous emergency braking systems)
- HALO systems which project illuminated turning areas onto the road and also for the use of tail-lifts
- AI-enhanced Side Scan sensors which alert the driver to the presence of an object or person on the near-side
- LCVs have front, rear and driver-facing Vision Track cameras
- HGVs have front, rear, right and left-hand side, load and driving-facing cameras
- Masternaut telematics
- Safe access to tanker hatches with automatic fold out walkways and stairs which allow drivers to climb to the top of the vehicle in safety.
- Fatigue monitoring through the driver-facing cameras
Speedy Services takes an innovative approach to fleet equipment by collaborating with its suppliers. The company invited all suppliers to a forum day to explore how their offerings can be integrated or enhanced through partnership. As a result its Masternaut telematics and Vision Track cameras now work in sync, with exception footage arriving by email immediately after the telematics system alerts of an exceptional G-force event. It also has cameras and lighting on the ends of cranes so operators can clearly see the crane’s position, even in poor light.
The camera footage is also helpful in monitoring health and safety compliance, particularly around load safety. Having a camera trained on the load allows managers to assess whether drivers are in fact adhering to protocol.
Both Aaron and Gareth have cameras in their own vehicles to promote driver buy in. Some drivers were initially worried at the thought of ‘being watched’ but once assured that the footage is only consulted in the event of an incident or third-party claim, they accepted them. In fact the camera footage has a strong record in defending the drivers against spurious or not-at-fault claims which in the past would have been settled 50-50 for lack of evidence.
“We are mitigating risk but we are also protecting our drivers from unfounded accusations” says Gareth.
If a driver is involved in a collision which was not their fault, the company provides them, free of charge, with the footage for use in a personal injury claim against the other party.
The company’s claims have dropped by 13%, but the nature of the incidents has also changed, with the vast majority now being low speed manoeuvring collisions. Hence, Speedy Services has invested in automated braking systems for reversing to complement the cameras in an attempt to eradicate these incidents.
Drivers are rewarded for good performance. Every month the best driver by region receives £100 voucher, and the best driver of the year is awarded a prize and recognition at the company’s annual colleague awards ceremony.
Gareth says that when they started in the fleet business, the emphasis was on first notification of loss. Now it is all about first notification of risk. Essentially this switches the culture from being reactive – “how fast can we tell an insurer about the collision” – to proactive – “That’s a potential risk so let’s fix it before it causes a collision”.
Training and Accreditation
Speedy Services is whole-fleet accredited to FORS Gold for the 9th consecutive year, a CLOCS champion and has DVSA Earned Recognition. It also works closely with the City of London police and other constabularies, using its trucks for ‘exchanging places’ events with cyclists.
Its training is all conducted in-house, by its own training team and using its own e-learning platform, which is fully equipped with all of the mandated FORS courses. It is very proud of its internal progression, which can take individuals from van to tanker driver, and it also runs its own apprenticeship schemes.
Importantly managers all take the courses alongside the drivers.
The fleet telematics data was instrumental in allowing Speedy Services to know which vehicles were suitable for transitioning to electric. It has now invested in Fuso eCanters, Electra Econic 27t, and 3.5 tonne Ford eTransits and has 50 eTransit panel van and 100 eTransit chassis cabs on order.
The HGV fleet is part-run on low carbon fuel HVO, of which it uses one million litres a year.
More unusually, it has replaced its tail-lifts and load beds with highly durable plastics made from recycled CD cases. This reduces the weight substantially, but also allows water to drain away, leaving a non-slip footing.