Following a busy year of development, the IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) launched the highly-anticipated commercial vehicle Workshop Accreditation programme during a press conference at the CV Show.
Under IRTE Workshop Accreditation, FTA engineers will audit workshops to give transport operators the ability to choose maintenance provision with confidence. The scheme will champion and recognise best practice in workshop procedures, enabling operators and manufacturers that outsource vehicle maintenance to choose workshops that have been independently assessed to IRTE quality assured standards.
IRTE chief executive Nick Jones says: “The aim is simple; to deliver a quality, independent accreditation service supporting both maintenance providers and operators, whilst continuing to improve standards. Accredited workshops will receive the IRTE’s stamp of approval, highlighting compliance in key areas, such as premises, equipment, technical staff, management, clerical staff, documentation, quality and appearance.”
Maintenance providers receiving IRTE Workshop Accreditation will achieve a competitive advantage, benefiting from inclusion in the IRTE Workshop Accreditation Register, thereby demonstrating commitment to delivering high levels of service. This comprehensive online database of accredited maintenance providers includes information on location, services, facilities, vehicle test pass rates, RIDDOR stats, HSE notices and more.
Organisations with in-house maintenance provision can also benefit from accreditation, which can support the development of workshop standards, such as decreasing vehicle downtime and improving pass rates.
FTA director of vehicle inspections Alan Osborne says: "With around 80% of operators sub-contracting their vehicle maintenance to third parties, there is a real appetite for a “Buy with Confidence” scheme in this area. Operators recognise that, while they can sub-contract their maintenance, they cannot sub-contract their responsibilities for vehicle condition. FTA had been considering its own workshop accreditation scheme but soon saw the sense in working collaboratively with the IRTE, who had already developed their guide to Maintenance Supplier Assessment. FTA is pleased to be working with IRTE on this important initiative that will help to raise standards in our industry."
Last year, workshops operated by MAN Truck & Bus and Scania took part in the pilot programme, to ensure IRTE Workshop Accreditation meets and exceeds the needs of industry. Now, supporters of the scheme believe it will provide an independent benchmark enabling easy and informed decision-making from customers, whilst also increasing the overall standard of vehicle repair.
Wincanton Group Ltd’s technical services director, Dave Rowlands, comments: “Wincanton and other major fleet operators welcome the development of a workshop accreditation scheme, particularly one aimed at the heavy vehicle market. The ability to search geographically for accredited workshops, which have been independently assessed against a rigorous standard, and view an account of their service offering, including current RIDDOR and MOT pass rates, is an industry first.
“Accredited workshops will be able to showcase their service offerings to a key customer group, demonstrate continued improvement and establish credibility in a broad marketplace.”
Jones adds: "With so much at stake, companies need assurances they are getting the standard of workshop service they expect. Our joint cooperation will afford buyers of maintenance provision with a confidence that has been sorely lacking until now."