ABE Ledbury is officially an ‘exemplary’ operator in the UK’s freight distribution sector having been accredited on the DVSA’s highly prestigious Earned Recognition Scheme.
The road haulage company, which is wholly owned by Palletline, received its government endorsement this week, having proved both its drivers and vehicles meet the elevated standards of the scheme.
Gaining the accreditation has been a couple of years in the making for the business, which employs 75 people and has a fleet of 50 vehicles and 60 trailers.
ABE has made a considerable investment in updating systems and technology to ensure it met the standards demanded by the DVSA – which includes safety inspection records, MOT logs and measuring driver activity.
The accreditation brings a wealth of advantages for the haulage firm, not least the guarantee that ABE is a safe and trusted operator that provides a premium service to its clients.
Jeff Pryce, ABE’s Transport Compliance Manager, said: “Whilst we already operated to a high level, we had to take it up a gear to gain the accreditation. A lot of work went into the getting this earned recognition, but it’s worth it.”
Jeff was instrumental in bringing about a lot of the improvements to ensure the accreditation. Among the many changes he brought to the business was the implementation of a truck maintenance system – Truck File – which utilises tablets to record and store information which was previously kept on paper.
“We have pretty much moved everything from paper to digital, which makes it so much easier and robust when we have our audits,” added Jeff. “By getting this accreditation, you are really putting your head above the parapet and making the business very transparent, but we knew that we already performed to a very high standard, so had nothing to worry about.”
The business also introduced a new driver management tool called Smart Analysis to ensure compliance with drivers’ hours, working time legislation and tachograph regulations. A considerable investment was also made to update its new telematics system with CCTV cameras to help Jeff build reportable data instead of relying on paperwork.
Jeff said: “I felt it was incredibly important to ensure the business had two years of digital, robust data that could be used to evidence the earned recognition status. The operators risk appliance form is a scoring system, which works very much like a traffic light system, and we have been a green operator for quite some time now.”
Jeff also put himself and two other members of the team through an Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) course to ensure that the business was up to date with the DVSA’s policies. The online modular course enabled the business to create an anti-terrorism policy and deliver toolbox talks to drivers and members of the transport team.
Clive Brooks, Managing Director at ABE (Ledbury), commented, “There is a lot involved in gaining the earned recognition status, including demonstrating high levels of compliance with the latest legislation. It covers everything from vehicle maintenance logs, vehicle safety, driver checks as well as ensuring the site is fit for purpose.
“The level of detail we have to submit every four weeks is high, but it is a great way to prove our high standards are consistent. The DVSA’s scheme is in place to encourage operators to be the best of the best and that is exactly what Jeff and the team have been able to prove.”
ABE Ledbury was established in 1972 and initially serviced mainly agricultural customers before expanding into smaller consignments, groupage loads and tankers.
Last year, the business purchased the site is has operated from for 20 years, as part of its continued growth plans, which has seen it expand into the site’s warehouse, offices and workshops – a space totalling 30,000 sq ft.
ABE Ledbury joined Palletline in 1994 and thrived as part of the network, before being acquired by Palletline in 2017.