The Awards, sponsored by Alphabet, Autoglass, @uto-Online, AutoWindscreens, BP, DaimlerChrysler UK, Global Telematics, Nationwide Network Services, Northgate, Peugeot Fleet, Toyota and Volkswagen, are now in their 13th year and are firmly established as the industry 'Oscars'. The winners were announced at a star-studded dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night (Wednesday, March 21).
- UK Fleet of the Year - BT
BT is the UK's largest vehicle fleet, operating a total of 56,800 vehicles, including 38,200 commercial vehicles. It is also one of the most high profile fleets in the country and as such best practice across its operations has been recognised at the highest level. This month's Government-backed Work Related Road Safety Task Group discussion document highlighted some of BT's road safety policies and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions spotlighted the fleet's environmental performance as an example of best practice in its recent 'Climate Change: The UK Programme' document.
- Fleet Manager of the Year (Over 250 Vehicles) - Phil Redman, fleet manager, IBM UK
Six years' work as fleet manager at IBM UK have culminated in Phil Redman winning the Fleet Manager of the Year Award at the first attempt. In charge of a multi-badge fleet of 6,700 vehicles, leased from and fleet managed by ARVAL PHH, Redman has introduced an advanced driver training programme and launched a company car tax information programme. Judges believed he has used his industry knowledge to ensure IBM UK operates a model fleet.
- Fleet Manager of the Year (Under 250 Vehicles) - David Pochin, director, Pochin plc
Pochin plc has adopted the principles of managing a large fleet and adapted them to ensure the company operates an ultra-efficient small fleet. David Pochin is in charge of the fleet of 100 cars and 51 commercial vehicles and for more than 22 years the company has operated a dual Audi/Volkswagen badged fleet - all diesel and all on a four-year/100,000-mile replacement cycle.
- Fleet Environmental Award - Garry Middleton, fleet and engineering manager, Hull City Council
For the second year in succession this Award goes to a Hull-based fleet. Last year it was won by Alan Hocking, fleet and supplies manager at Humberside Police. Garry Middleton is in charge of Hull City Council's near all-diesel fleet of 740 vehicles and which will soon include 40 electric cars and vans to make it the biggest EV fleet in the country. Although a council-wide environmental strategy remains in draft form, Middleton has taken environmental policies to the heart of the authority's fleet operations.
- Fleet Risk Management Award - Keith O'Connor, group fleet services manager, Nightspeed Services/Amtrak Express
Never in the 13-year history of the Fleet News Awards gas someone with just seven months' experience of a fleet won one of the industry's Oscars. However, Keith O'Connor moved to take charge of the courier companies' 1,600 vans, 200 company cars and 143 tractor units after serving his apprenticeship at multi-Fleet News Award winner TNT UK. With a brief to transform the fleet into a 21st century operation he has introduced radical measures to improve the company's public image.
- Fleet News Special Award - David Graham, chief engineer and head of transport, Royal Ulster Constabulary
Two years ago the 2,800-vehicle Royal Ulster Constabulary fleet won UK Fleet of the Year. This year David Graham wins the Fleet News Special Award for his specific focus in transforming the RUC's transport department into a global centre of excellence in the development of armoured vehicles.
- Fleet Service Company of the Year (over 50 employees) - BCA Europe
Being at the heart of UK fleet BCA Europe has taken new steps to play a crucial role in industry success. A combination of hi-tech measures and practical measures ensured that no BCA auctions were lost as a result of September's fuel crisis, leading the company to declare that it provided 'pro-active, effective, customer-focused activity aimed at generating buying power for our vendors'. The remarks were wholly endorsed by the Awards judges.
- Fleet Service Company of the Year (under 50 employees) - Acorn Fleet Services
With a staff of 21 and a turnover of £850,000 a year, High Wycombe-based Acorn Fleet Services specialises in vehicle servicing, repairs, tyres, bodywork and valeting. Now in its 10th year of operation, the company is led by founders Lyn Peperell and Richard Goodchild and was described by the judges as a 'well run, niche company with an aggressive expansion plan'.
- Best Online Fleet Initiative - BCA Europe
BCA Europe's Auction View has evolved over five years to become a 'bible' of information, delivering the UK industry's definitive online stock locator catalogue service and auction composite prices. The judges agreed with BCA's assertion that 'Auction View is an essential tool for the industry'.
- Best Daily Rental Company - National Car Rental
Fleet industry demand has led to the return of this category after an absence of several years. Daily rental companies, like contract hire and leasing businesses, have been in the financial doldrums in 2000 largely due to plummeting vehicle residual values. However, National Car Rental claims to be profitable, saw significant growth last year and continued to innovate, particularly with regard to the online reservation and termination of rentals.
- Best Contract Hire Company - Lex Vehicle Leasing
A Fleet News Award re-introduced this year due to industry demand in what has been arguably the most difficult ever time for contract hire and leasing companies. But Lex vehicle Leasing has continued to innovate, develop, expand and move the industry's boundaries, committing time, money and energy to its own environmental fleet policy.
- Best Mobility Support Company - Kwik-Fit Fleet
A new category in the Fleet News Awards this year and the first-time winner is Kwik-Fit Fleet. The award is designed to recognise the company which provides the best physical support to fleet car users either in an emergency roadside situation or in an 'urgent-operational role' - or both.
- Innovation of the Year - The AA
If a car cannot be fixed at the roadside, it is vital the car, driver and passengers are quickly taken to a safe place. Therefore, the AA has developed a revolutionary towing system - the Automatic Recovery Equipment (ARE) - at half the cost of a conventional power lifts. - it is expected that AREs will be rolled out across the AA's fleet to 3,500 patrols.
- Environmental Initiative of the Year - RAC
Environmental issues can no longer be viewed as 'nice to have' but as a 'must have'. In an industry where cost control is continually in the spotlight, the RAC has a commercial approach to championing environmental issues which includes a weighting in favour of more fuel-efficient company cars, trialling dual-fuel patrol vans, re-introducing motorcycle patrols in London and investing in satellite technology.
- Fleet Manufacturer of the Year - Ford of Britain
In a year of unprecedented difficulty for manufacturers, Ford was listening to its customers. A major survey led to the company re-inventing its 'In Business' documentation - essential information for fleet chiefs - and a fleet-friendly CD-ROM. Ford's Talkback magazine continues to win popular