Do not under-estimate this man. In the hectic fleet arena it’s tempting to assume that Jug Johal’s got quite a cushy gig.
The winner of this year’s Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year Award (in the sub-100 vehicles category) has 96 vehicles on his fleet proper – a small number by industry standards.
As he works in the public sector, it’s also easy to imagine that Jug has a team of administrators on hand and buckets of funding at his disposal.
In reality, Jug and his assistant are tasked with saving North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust around £150,000 a year and managing the travel requirements of more than 1,200 employees –enough to make any seasoned fleet veteran baulk.
However, when I’m shown into Jug’s office I’m met by an irrepressible smile and a can-do attitude. “Let’s grab a coffee and get down to business,” he beams.
From humble beginnings working as a tea boy in a chicken factory, Jug went on to gain experience in logistics before working as a depot manager.
Then two years ago he thought he’d try his hand at transport management.
Before Jug got to work, Scunthorpe and Goole hospitals were racking up £750,000 in grey fleet costs every year.
“I was brought in to help reduce the overall cost of transport and look after the sub-100 fleet,” he explains.
His first step was to review both his actual and his grey fleet, with a critical eye on grey fleet mileage.
“My biggest challenge was collecting data for all 1,200 of our grey fleet users, which meant looking through every single expense claim. It took a lot of time and effort.”
He also had input from the Energy Saving Trust, which helped him formulate an action plan to integrate transport and reduce grey fleet miles.
“Managers need to be clear about where they are with their fleet and where they want to be.
“My advice is to step back from the job and get a review done.
“The first issue for me was to address the number of people moving between trust sites and claiming mileage for the trips.
"We installed a shuttle bus which has had more and more staff using it every month.”
Seven months after introducing the bus in September 2007 fleet mileage had been reduced by 14%, or 200,000 miles.
Martyn Moore, editor of Fleet News and chairman of the awards judging panel, was particularly impressed by its popularity.
“If TV programmes like Holby City and Casualty are anything to go by, persuading surgeons and consultants to give up their prestige cars and ride a minibus is no mean feat,” Mr Moore says.
A general travel plan was drawn up, and video-conferencing and car sharing schemes have also helped cut transport costs.
The 96 trust-owned vehicles are pooled and used by hundreds of nurses, consultants and general workers, all of whom had to undertake individual risk assessments and training.
And the fleet became greener. At renewal time, old vehicles were replaced with lower-emitting diesels and Jug is a firm believer in the money-saving benefits of going green.
“Addressing environmental issues naturally brings savings and that’s the line you have to take to convince finance bosses,” he says.
“Managers need to make some quick wins by greening fleets when they come up for renewal.
“Smaller, greener vehicles will save you money and working out best-in-class and wholelife costs are not that scary – just talk to leasing companies.”
Being relatively new to transport management, Jug has found the advice of fellow fleet operators indispensable.
“Everything that I’ve learnt about managing fleet has come from sharing best practice with others.”
Ultimately he is a more than a fleet operator.
Jug has to deal with the total transport needs of trust employees and he believes that to cut costs, save the planet and keep staff safe, fleet managers could benefit from a wider transport perspective.
“Managers need to have a broad mindset and not just think about the fleet. Consider transport plans, public transport and vehicle alternatives.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Jug has been busy since winning the award in March.
He’s now finalising a new leasing deal for the fleet and ratifying driver handbooks, as well as arranging a park and ride scheme for hundreds of workers.
“Once you see results you really get a buzz out of the job,” he says.
“Seeing that we can save millions in transport costs and then invest that money back into patient care is the real reward.
“Private businesses should have the same approach. Good transport logistics should save money which can be put back into business growth.”