Thirteen says it is reaping the rewards of a five-year fully outsourced contract hire and fleet management agreement with Venson Automotive Solutions.
The company, which has its head office in Stockton-on-Tees and a number of depots in the North East, is an expanding landlord and developer, providing homes for rent and sale, managing around 34,000 properties from North Tyneside to York, with the majority in the Tees Valley.
It signed a five-year deal with Venson Automotive Solutions through to 2021 after undertaking a three-month root and branch review of its then 420-strong vehicle fleet.
Following business expansion and acquisitions, Thirteen found itself operating a wide cross-section of makes and models of vehicles - almost exclusively light commercial vehicles - on a mix of replacement cycles, acquired via a different funding channel including contract hire, outright purchase and short-term hire, utilising both internal and external maintenance management and displaying various liveries.
Joanne Johnson, Thirteen’s operational improvement manager with fleet responsibility, said: “We decided it was the right time to undertake a detailed review of the entire vehicle operation that included: the size of the fleet, how vehicles were procured, the makes/models operated, whether to fully outsource and vehicle specification.”
The review resulted in a tender via the Procure Plus framework, which was created out of a need for fairer, more predictable pricing for both landlords and their supply chains.
Venson is one of the approved suppliers on the fleet management framework and the company won the tender for a number of reasons, but notably including its thoroughness in terms of ability to deliver a comprehensive range of services; ability to ensure Thirteen’s maximum compliance with a raft of legislation, particularly work-related road safety; and competitive pricing.
Additionally, a review of vehicle manufacturers resulted in Thirteen deciding to switch to an all-Renault fleet based on total cost of ownership and price competitiveness.
Thirteen has to date slashed its fleet acquisition and operating costs by 30% - amounting to around £200,000 a year - as a result of the review and its ongoing work with Venson.
Savings were made by reducing the number of vans operated that were only driven to and from sites with employees having no requirement for a van during the day. That has resulted in the fleet reducing in size by almost 100 vehicles and employees using their own vehicle to drive to and from locations.
Today, the Thirteen fleet numbers 322 light commercial diesel vehicles from across the Renault model range - Kangoo, Trafic and Master - including panel vans and flatbeds. Approximately 85% of the fleet are Trafics and, additionally, the company operates a single Renault Clio assigned to its security team.
Critically, Venson also identified that Thirteen could slim down the size of vans operated. Johnson explained: “The majority of the fleet were large vans, but Venson identified that much of the available internal space was not being utilised.
“As a result, the majority of the vans are now mid-size Trafics which have replaced large panel vans and, where possible, car-derived Kangoo vans are also being used. Not only are the vans fit-for-purpose, but the smaller vans are more cost effective to operate, fuel bills have been cut and so has Thirteen’s carbon footprint due to lower emission levels.”
Vans are operated on a five-year/10,000 miles per annum replacement cycle and are typically allocated to operatives on a ‘one man, one van’ arrangement. Skilled tradesmen include: electricians, joiners, painters, plasters, plumbers and roofers as well as general labourers.
All new vehicles are delivered to Venson’s own ‘Equip for Service’ facility in Yorkshire where they are fitted out to Thirteen’s exact requirement prior to delivery with Tevo racking and Ctrack’s telematics system. Additionally, Venson worked closely with Thirteen’s communications team on new vehicle livery design.
Johnson said: “Venson has proved it has the knowledge and experience to work in partnership with Thirteen. The work it has done across the fleet means that the business has been able to achieve a huge cut in vehicle acquisition and fleet operating costs. Thirteen is receiving a significantly enhanced service from Venson compared with leasing suppliers the business has worked with previously.”
Venson provides a range of in-life services to Thirteen including: fleet management, maintenance management, accident and risk management including driver licence validation, short-term hire if required and Venson has taken charge of the remarketing of previously outright purchased vehicles.