Gary Dean, technical support manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, looks at workshop accreditation.
Repairing and maintaining vehicles – whether carried out in-house or outsourced – can be really demanding for those managing such activities.
A lot of independent workshops do a great job of supporting fleet operators, but standards across the wider industry have left a lot to be desired recently.
Safety and compliance need to be taken seriously in the vehicle industry, so those responsible for outsourcing maintenance provision will have quality assurance and technical expertise at the top of their list of priorities.
Thankfully, the IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) has partnered with the FTA (Freight Transport Association) to deliver the IRTE/FTA workshop accreditation scheme – an independent initiative set up with the sole intention of assessing and accrediting the practice standards of independent workshops against those of major industry stakeholders.
The initiative works on two levels: allowing maintenance providers to achieve accreditation by proving their high standards through rigorous testing, and by giving fleet operators a recognisable and independent reassurance of quality and reliability.
Workshop accreditation involves an audit by an IRTE-accredited FTA auditor, highlighting best practice compliance in areas including premises, equipment, technical and clerical, management and documentation. This ensures first-class standards are upheld and, ultimately, vehicles leave workshops safe and roadworthy.
The IRTE/FTA workshop accreditation scheme is a fantastic, impartial programme for our industry, which promises to raise servicing and compliance standards.
Northgate Vehicle Hire was the first company to be accredited with the IRTE licence, helping us to uphold high industry standards and certifying the safety credentials of our technicians. The initiative has helped to boost productivity, consistently meet customer demands and raise first-time MOT pass rates – at one branch to 100%.
Accredited technicians give customers peace of mind that safety is a top priority.