Fleet News

Housing group places its people in new hi-tech fleet

A MAJOR review of transport needs at a housing specialist has prompted it to create an all-new fleet using the latest technology.

The Places for People Group introduced the changes after deciding to shift away from daily rental arrangements, which it had used to support the expansion of its business.

The Places for People Group is one of the UK’s leading housing and regeneration specialists, with responsibility for more than 53,000 homes in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Preston-based firm had launched its own in-house maintenance company to improve the repairs and maintenance service provided to customers. Previously, all work had been outsourced.

For the past year, it has been recruiting plumbers, electricians, joiners and multi-skilled workmen, who have driven short-term hire cars following the launch of the division, called Places for People Home Maintenance.

Its move to a long-term fleet arrangement included an in-depth analysis of nine different leasing firms.

It has awarded a three-year solus full maintenance contract hire deal to ALD Automotive and the first 130 vehicles of a potential 300-vehicle deal are being delivered this month.

Derek Watters, the firm’s operations manager, said: ‘While the rented vehicles provided mobility it is more cost-effective for us to come to a long-term leasing arrangement which also means all vehicles will be liveried, racked out and equipped with lighting to our own specification and meet our duty-of-care ‘fit for purpose’ obligations.’

The initial fleet comprises Ford Transit 280 medium- wheelbase, medium-roof vans for workmen and long-wheelbase Ford Transit Connects for supervisors.

Watters said: ‘Initially, 130 vans are being delivered but over the next 12 to 18 months there is the potential for us to operate a fleet of up to 300 light commercial vehicles as the new division expands and we recruit more staff.

‘Our ability to access a range of online management reports will greatly assist in fleet efficiency and will significantly reduce the administration burden.’

ALD’s ProFleet2 system uses a telemetry unit to monitor mileage and vehicle use.

The technology will ‘flag up’ a two-month/2,000-mile warning that a service is imminent, enabling ALD Automotive to contact drivers and book vehicles into dealerships. Mileage and journey times are automatically recorded and can be accessed online exclusively by drivers.

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