Innovative fleet management has seen HSS Hire downsize its vehicle fleet, cut spend with third-party logistics partners and reduce operating costs while still growing the business and delivering improved customer service.
Ensuring product availability to meet customer demand is key to the company’s multi-million pound business and the fleet plays an integral part in delivering that service.
With around 40,000 account customers and more than 800,000 deliveries a year, running an efficient fleet is crucial to the success of the national tool and equipment supplier.
The fleet strategy took a new turn in 2010 when HSS Hire installed Matrix telematics software.
It revealed that one in five vehicle journeys were used to source and move equipment from site to site rather than simply delivering products to customers so the company set out to investigate how it could maximise vehicle utilisation solely for customer deliveries.
By using the information gained from the telematics software, HSS Hire embarked on an ambitious transformation of its logistics operation.
In a departure from the traditional equipment hire model, the company consolidated all front-line vehicles and all transport activity from more than 100 smaller branches into 33 dedicated distribution centres and made the decision to move to a 24-hour operation.
As a result, HSS Hire is now able to move equipment from one hub to another anywhere in the country between 5pm and 7am, helping it to better respond to demand and ensuring best-in-class product availability.
“We identified a real peaks and troughs approach to our vehicle utilisation by having them based at various sites and we found that by consolidating our transport centres and not spreading the vehicles so thinly we were able to improve utilisation and reduce costs while improving the way we serviced the customer,” says fleet manager Lee Jackson.
Reducing the number of transport sites has also enabled communication and training for drivers to be delivered faster and more efficiently with more employees based at fewer sites.
In addition, because the company now operates a 24-hour business, it has little need to use third-party contractors to help with internal distribution movements as these are now carried out during the night.
The HSS Hire fleet consists of 380 light commercial vehicles, 250 cars and 120 HGVs, primarily funded via contract hire. All LCVs are 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinters.
With the company offering more than 2,000 product types for hire, ranging from handheld drills and carpet cleaners to mini-diggers and generators, its vehicles need to be versatile.
Jackson works closely with manufacturers to identify and specify the right vehicles for the job.