Spotlight on Fleet, with Head of Fleet Operations, Ian Leonard
Our Fleet Operations team are right at the heart of what we do. From ensuring that all our vehicles from vans, tractor units, rigid units and trailers, are properly maintained, to keeping our colleagues safe and compliant when out on the road. The Fleet function is essential to our day-to-day operations in both transport and final mile.
Since 2016, and in order to support the overall business strategy, there has been a transformation spearheaded by Head of Fleet Operations, Ian Leonard, which has seen a reduction in company cars, delivery vans, and rigid trucks. Not only has this enabled us to invest in other areas, but it has drastically improved efficiency and enabled us to identify partners to help us to deliver our promises.
Take a quick look at some of the changes we've made...
- In 2016, we had 200 company cars, today, we have 1
- In 2016, we had 22 18 ton trucks, today, we have none
- In 2016, we had 106 7.5 ton trucks, today, we have 15
Ian states why the above benefits Yodel, saying: “The advantages of this are simply explained, it has allowed the business to concentrate on the areas of activity that most benefit our clients and their customers and has provided an ability to view vehicle deployment in a more strategic way. Gone are the days where we retained assets because of something that happened in years gone by and now the focus is very much on supplying the right vehicle for the right occasion, which is the essence of fleet management.
One action from the Fleet team was to switch the Tractor Unit Fleet from the larger 6x2 configuration to the smaller 4x2 configuration. The subsequent removal of costs in this area has enabled us to introduce and invest in SmartDrive camera system, which are central to accident mitigation and a fantastic driver learning tool. In addition, fuel consumption has reduced and the smaller fleet provides a more manoeuvrable Tractor Unit to the Yodel driving workforce.”
Ian is thrilled with the team’s approach and is excited for what is coming next as Yodel looks to the future, saying “As we continue with our current strategy, the department finds itself transitioning towards a heavier fleet, with less emphasis on the smaller panel vans in the last mile operation, to more of the heavier trucks and trailers in the transport side of the operation”.
“Vehicles in this heavier category require far more care and attention, and, as an operator of such vehicles we are required by law to ensure that we are the best at what we do and how we do it. Working closely with our Health, Safety, Environment & Quality teams, we’ve dedicated tailored training to ensure our drivers are comfortable and competent when it comes to operating heavier fleet. Clients can also expect to see huge benefits as our capacity to transport higher parcel volumes grows.
Work has already started in bringing Fleet closer to our colleagues in Transport and together with the Compliance function I am encouraged by the progress so far but also understand how much work still have left to do. Members of the Fleet team will be upskilled to meet demand and this creates a great platform for both personal and team development.
We also face the challenge of future fuels and increasing legislation around Clean Air Zones and increased focus on Driver & Road User safety, via initiatives like the current DVS restrictions imposed on Fleets that operate within the capital. We have achieved a great deal to date with still more to do and given the relatively small size of our team we punch well above our weight. We love what we do and we enjoy the interaction with our colleagues at all levels, and we very much appreciate the support we get from all parts of the organisation.
We are small, but perfectly formed for the future.”