Strata Logistics is a growing independent haulier covering the whole of the UK with a focus on the North West and East of England as well as Central and Greater London. With 12 HGVs, its fleet provides distribution services for a variety of sectors, including blue chip organisations such as Yodel, Hermes, ASDA and Tarmac.
As a new logistics business, scaling-up initially called for extensive outsourcing. But to grow to the next phase of maturity, the company needed to bring its administration processes in-house.
Strata identified that a lack of visibility over driver’s hours, working time on site and live tachograph compliance was making the management of workflow difficult. Work scheduling was also becoming cumbersome, with a reliance on using spreadsheets.
In addition, to continue eligibility for key contracts, Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) accreditation was needed.
Following an extensive market review, the company specified a fully digital, single interface, fleet management solution, underpinned by Webfleet.
The cloud-based fleet management platform from Webfleet was integrated with TDi Software’s TransMaS traffic management system and disc-check tachograph analysis software, along with connected cameras from VisionTrack.
The combined solution is now helping Strata to achieve high levels of automation-led fleet efficiency – getting the right data to the right people at the right time.
A shot in the arm for productivity
A number of separate operational tools had been previously employed to administer, schedule and dispatch deliveries, communicate with drivers and manage and record job information.
The company has simplified how these processes are carried out, eliminating duplication of effort and streamlining its workflow management by using one single, integrated, software interface. Jobs can now be scheduled dynamically, with daily job itineraries sent to drivers via Webfleet’ PRO 8 Series ruggedized terminals. As jobs are accepted by Strata’s drivers, the system automatically provides truck-specific navigation instructions and accurate ETAs, meaning customers can be notified when their deliveries are due to arrive. Drivers can also capture customer signatures electronically on their driver terminals, with proof and time of delivery immediately relayed to the back office.
We had previously relied heavily on manual planning, but the introduction of the integrated Webfleet and TransMaS solution has been revolutionary, said Paul White, Owner, Strata Logistics. We have seen fantastic gains in productivity and now have full visibility over our entire operation without the need to distract a driver from his duty needlessly.
Strata Logistics’ vehicles and trailers are usually parked off-site, which had previously required drivers having to manually report back to management on their status.
Using Webfleet’s Asset Tracking functionality, managers can now see their precise location at the touch of a button, and receive alerts whenever they’re in use to help improve security. At the same time, TransMaS will inform them whether the trailers are loaded or empty, helping improve job planning and allocation.
Improved visibility, enhanced safety and fuel cost savings
The new system is also helping to improve driver behaviour, encouraging Strata drivers to be greener and safer behind the wheel. Webfleet’s integral OptiDrive 360 functionality highlights dangerous or inefficient driving, profiling drivers based on incidents such as harsh braking, sharp cornering or speeding. All the while, VisionTrack’s connected cameras provide associated video evidence for each and every event.
This supporting footage helps paint a complete picture of where intervention, such as driver training, may be required. It also offers surety in the event of vehicle collisions or insurance claims. It is still early days but we have already started to benefit from significant fuel savings, said White.
Average fuel consumption has improved by around 12 per cent, helped in no small part by a 75 per cent reduction in speeding and a 50 per cent drop in vehicle idling incidents.
We also expect our maintenance spend to fall as we experience less wear and tear on vehicle components, such as tyres and brakes.
In a bid to incentivise further performance improvements, Strata has now produced a reward scheme, linked to drivers’ monthly OptiDrive scores. Automated weekly performance reports are shared with all drivers adding a competitive element.
In recognition of improved operational practices and enhanced standards of driver and vehicle safety, Strata has achieved FORS bronze accreditation and is now well on the way to silver certification.
To help protect the safety of vulnerable road users, the connected forward and side-facing vehicle cameras have been supplemented with side sensors and left-turn warning alarms. These measures ensure compliance with the Transport for London (TfL) Direct Vision Standard, in force from October 2020.
An app on the PRO terminals is being used by Strata’s drivers, meanwhile, to perform their vehicle safety checks. Before they set off each morning, they will digitally confirm the safety of key functions, such as tyres, exhausts and brake lights – uploading supporting photographic evidence where required.
The combination of Webfleet TachoShare with TDi’s disc-check is also making life easier for Strata to remain compliant with tachograph regulations.
TachoShare has taken responsibility away from the company’s drivers by automating the remote download of driver card and vehicle unit data, saving them time through reduced administration. Disc-check then simplifies back office tachograph analysis and reporting, helping to monitor and reduce the likelihood of future infringements.
Furthermore, Strata management has achieved greater control over working hours and shift patterns, with fewer cases of drivers staying out overnight, thanks to access real time reports for remaining driving time.
The office now receives automated alerts when drivers are due to take breaks, when shifts are due to end and, significantly, when compliance policy has not been followed.
Strata Logistics’ investment in the fleet management solution was supported by TDi Software, an official Webfleet partner.