London & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q) recognises the importance of having a dedicated fleet manager. When it decided to bring its property maintenance work back in-house it knew it would need to expand its van fleet and appoint its first fleet professional.
Since experienced fleet manager Maurice Elford joined the housing association in May 2014, the fleet has nearly trebled from 80 vehicles (17 cars and 63 vans) to 230 (18 cars and 230 vans) and Elford spends all of his time managing the operation.
The vans are split into three operating areas: direct maintenance (responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of L&Q’s properties), caretaking services (refurbishing empty properties between tenants) and Quadrant Construction (the construction arm of L&Q).
Previously the vehicles were racked similarly, irrespective of trade but, with Elford’s guidance and input from the drivers, the organisation has introduced 12 combinations of vehicle and fit-out, dependent on specific job functions.
Elford has introduced a number of other changes, including fleet management software, a vehicle walkaround check app, online modules and fitting telematics to its vans to improve fleet safety and lower costs (helping L&Q to also be named ‘most improved fleet’, see page 60).
But, where appropriate, Elford has maintained the status quo. The vehicles continue to be on contract hire with maintenance agreements as it allows L&Q to invest money in new housing rather than depreciating metal. However, he has extended the contract term as the vehicles do low mileage, resulting in significant savings.
L&Q has reduced its environmental impact through the use of hybrids (almost half of the car fleet is petrol hybrid) and Elford is open to the idea of replacing diesel vans with electric for certain sites in London.
Picture caption: L&Q fleet manager Maurice Elford (left) collects the award from Neil Broad, general manager, Toyota & Lexus Fleet
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L&Q has undertaken a thorough review of employee needs and how they translate into the fleet policy. It has designed solutions that meet their requirements and has the buy-in at a senior level. Diversity, inclusion and engagement are the key themes at L&Q.