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Wolseley UK tracks fleet success

A transport project which involved fitting tracking devices to Wolseley UK’s fleet has resulted in an average of 8 per cent fuel savings, it has been announced.

The long term transport pilot, which aimed to improve the efficiency of Wolseley UK’s fleet and reduce its carbon emissions, was launched in 2010 when basic vehicle tracking devices were fitted on all Plumb Center vehicles.

Data from the devices enabled the transport team to analyse how efficiently the vehicles were used – which resulted in better utilisation of the Plumb Center fleet.

The success of this initial trial led to it being rolled out to 32 vehicles in the Pipe Center fleet and selected vehicles in the Drain Center fleet, using improved technology.

Tracking devices were fitted to the can bus (the engine management system) of each vehicle, allowing for a more accurate and in depth analysis of fuel usage, efficiency and driver behaviour. Output revealed instances of poor driving such as harsh braking, speeding, and undue idling. The trackers are also able to generate a mile per gallon (MPG) figure.

Educating drivers on their behaviour, with coaching from management teams, resulted in fuel savings of 8 per cent, an increase of 1.5 mpg per vehicle, and a significant fall in idling time.

Following the measurable cost savings delivered, Wolseley UK is to pilot new, more sophisticated tracking devices into 20 DC vehicles across its fleet, which should see further cost and energy savings.

The vehicles are currently being installed with a 7-inch touch screen, which drivers can use to communicate to the DC and as a HGV satellite navigation system, carry out defect reporting and download the driver’s cards and digital tachograph remotely – helping the company comply with legal requirements, and removing the need for some paper records.

Route information, mpg figures and driver behaviour will also be fed back automatically, enabling the transport team to check on a driver’s or vehicle’s performance and progress without disrupting journeys by asking for a manual update.

Alan Newton, Head of transport Planning and Fleet Management, said: "Fitting tracking devices to our fleet vehicles in the next stage in our evolution to achieving greater efficiency and reducing our impact on the environment.

"As the one of the country’s leading distributers of building supplies, it’s important we utilise new technology to ensure the maximum operational efficiency and safety of our vehicles and drivers.

"By reducing our fuel costs we’re being kinder to the environment too."

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