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T-cards and spreadsheets no longer sufficient for van compliance, says Epyx

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Epyx has warned that traditional methods of tracking van service and maintenance are probably insufficient in the light of recent comments from VOSA stating their determination to drive up standards in the sector.

The warning follows a statement from Gordon McDonald, head of enforcement policy at the Vehicle Operator and Service Agency that the body would be increasing the number of roadside checks on vans as well as ramping up other areas of compliance activity.

Phil Franklin, business development manager for 1link Service Network, Epyx’s e-commerce platform, said: “VOSA’s statement is probably no surprise to the industry. There is a large gap between the strict enforcement regime for HGVs and the relatively lax one for LCVs, especially considering the growth in recent years of home delivery and utility company fleets.

“While the standards of service and maintenance among some sub-7.5 tonne and sub-3.5 tonne LCV operators are very high, in others, there is a degree of very high mileage, heavily used vans being maintained in a fashion that is simply not as thorough.

“The industry has moved to address the matter with the FTA’s Van Excellence scheme, which is a superb initiative, but there is still more that needs to be done. It is an issue.”

Franklin said that fleets wanting to raise their standards in the light of the VOSA comments needed to take a good look at their systems.

He explained: “We visit a surprisingly large number of fleets that rely on processes based around poorly maintained spreadsheets or even T-cards. Our belief is that in the 21st century, these methods are unlikely to deliver the kind of thorough van maintenance regimes that are now needed. They are too prone to user error.

“Certainly, it is very easy using these procedures to forget to check whether a van has been serviced on time or undergone a basic check by a driver. This is true whether you are working to minimum legal standards or want something more comprehensive.”

Epyx recently added a scheduling and compliance module to 1link Service Network as part of a programme of enhancements aimed at increasing the platform’s appeal to commercial vehicle fleets.

Franklin added: “The new module has been a very timely addition to the platform and is already in use by a number of major fleets to ensure that they are meeting compliance standards for commercial vehicles of all sizes, including light commercial vehicles.”

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