Sarah Gilding, head of fleet management at South Yorkshire Police, is on a mission to maximise vehicle utilisation.
She has already identified vehicles travelling less than 5,000 miles a year and either removed them from the fleet or brought them into a central pool. This, combined with removing specialist vehicles, has generated savings of £1 million in capital costs and total revenue savings of £345,000.
The next step is to introduce telematics to the fleet for a more accurate view of vehicle use.
“At the moment we have data on mileage but we haven’t got data on the number of times vehicles are used and the days they are used,” Gilding says. “Telematics will give us the full picture.”
She is convinced of the benefits of telematics, having trialled five different systems in 20 cars last year.
“We looked at the ease of use of each system, how long it took to fit the system and the reports that were generated,” she says.
Speaking to other forces which already have telematics in place has helped build the business case, with South Yorkshire Police anticipating reducing its annual fuel spend by 14.5%, its service and maintenance spend by 5% and its accident repair costs by 25%. It expects to reduce its fleet size by 5%.
The business case also includes appointing a new member of staff to analyse and act on the data – as Gilding says: “There is no point having telematics if we don’t do anything with the data.”
Having got approval from the force to introduce telematics, Gilding is now putting together a detailed specification which will be shared with West Yorkshire Police (which is due to re-tender its telematics contract) and Humberside with a view to a joint tender.
Fleet News: What savings have you made this year by collaborating with other police forces?
Sarah Gilding: We’ve been part of the 22-force buying consortium for new vehicles, which will collectively save more than £5 million in capital over two years. It will save South Yorkshire Police £166,517 in capital over the next two years.
We have changed manufacturer for the standard beat vehicle. We were with Vauxhall but Peugeot will now be supplying those vehicles. The high-performance vehicle is still BMW.
We are also continuing to use parts recycling company My Green Fleet , along with other forces. In the last financial year parts recycling has saved us £10,740. Since we joined the scheme in July 2012 we have saved £57,069.
FN: You introduced 10 Vauxhall Amperas to the fleet last year – what driver feedback have you had?
SG: The feedback from staff has been really positive. They absolutely love the comfort of the vehicle and they find the power very good. They are doing enquiry work but they may be doing some covert work as well, they’re not marked vehicles.
We’ve had reports of the quietness of the vehicle helping in some operational situations where people are not conscious of them arriving.
We do need to evaluate the fuel savings, mpg-wise, but early indications look positive. We are expecting to save £25,000 in wholelife costs over four years.
FN: Will you be introducing any full electric vehicles?
SG: We will certainly consider them. It is always in our plan to look at anything new on the market and consider them where we think they’re appropriate for future replacements. We need to find the right role in terms of the mileage someone is doing and them coming back to base to recharge the vehicle.
FN: What else are you doing to reduce fuel costs and improve the environmental performance of your fleet?
SG: We have put about 150 staff through an eco driving course which has the potential to deliver a 10% improvement in fuel economy. But monitoring that is not easy. Once we have telematics we will be able to see everyone’s mpg. We didn’t analyse that during the trial because the system was only for the vehicle, it wasn’t linked to individuals.
FN: You closed your workshop in Doncaster last year and moved staff to Rotherham to save costs. What advice do you have for other fleet managers who are considering closing one of their workshops?
SG: The anticipation of change can have a negative effect on staff and can be quite scary for people but for us some of the staff relished the change and now say it’s the best thing that we’ve done because we moved them into another workshop with other staff and they now feel more focused and morale is very high.
So I would say ‘don’t shy away from some of the bigger changes’. It has brought about the savings [£402,000 capital receipt from the sale of the building/site and £70,000 on-going revenue savings from staff reduction and utilities] and staff performance and morale are up.
FN: How did you keep morale up?
SG: Staff have been involved and communicated with along the way, either through face-to-face meetings or email communication. It has been a constant drip of information. They knew what was happening when and the reasons why.
FN: How have you gone about making the remaining workshops more efficient?
SG: Through the use of the Tranman fleet management system and again involving staff – making them aware of what Tranman can do for them and what information is in there through the touchscreens in the workshops. We communicate with staff in terms of the number of services due and overdue and they have improved performance in that area.
FN: How are you tackling the grey fleet?
SG: We are planning to introduce a car salary sacrifice scheme, which is something that West Yorkshire Police has done. It is being progressed by our procurement and finance teams.
Collaboration with other police forces remains on Gilding’s agenda. She is chairman of the North East region of the National Association of Police Fleet Managers and meets regularly with the other local forces – West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Humberside, Durham, Cleveland and Northumbria.
She is due to set up a new joint sustainability forum with Humberside and the two forces are looking at other ways they could work together.
Earlier this year Humberside Police merged its fleet department with its local fire service, forming a joint venture company, Emergency Services Fleet Management (Humberside), and Gilding is considering a similar arrangement with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.
“We already service their provided vehicles and they will be looking after our HGVs,” she says. “We also provide a driver service in terms of moving things from one building to another.
“I don’t know how much we could save by working together. We have just kicked off a project to look at it in more detail, including the opportunities in terms of the estate we’ve got. We want to have some form of report by December.”
“South Yorkshire Police has achieved some outstanding cost savings over the past couple of years and has put in place the building blocks to take the fleet to the next level. Sarah Gilding has been proactive in exploring areas to collaborate with neighbouring forces and learn from those around her. She has illustrated an excellent understanding of project management and has a clear plan to continue making improvements to the fleet. SYP has a broad and continually developing skillset around all aspects of fleet management as it drives cost out of the business.”