Amalga Ltd is a family run business, based in Stockley Park near London Heathrow Airport, established in 2001. Amalga provide a unique range of bespoke project support services in logistics, construction, airport retail and media projects, as well as Staff Services; offering sustainable and innovative solutions in challenging and demanding situations working across UK Airports, from our Logistics Centre. James Walker, Operations Manager, and FORS practitioner, is the key contact within the Organisation for FORS, and explains how Amalga have improved the fleet, for efficiencies, effectiveness and safety through FORS.
We first learnt about FORS at a trade convention in 2013, but initially felt it was not appropriate for us, as we operate a small none LGV fleet of vehicles. However we quickly realised that the program had a great deal to offer us as a growing company, under new ownership, since 2014, allowing us to focus our attention to our fleet mix, scheduling, CO2 & NOx output, and provided a platform for a strategic shift from simply monitoring fuel use & mileage.
Having discussed the FORS program with our major clients, Mace & Balfour Beatty, who formally recognise the program, we made the decision to pursue a Bronze FORS accreditation, believing that it was a commercial opportunity for ratifying Amalga as a professional fleet operator.
As a non LGV fleet, we had concerns about some of the elements of FORS so, Director, Lucy Walker, arranged to observe a FORS audit for another operator, in 2014 and was impressed with the practical application demonstrated by the auditor, and so we started work to achieve a FORS bronze accreditation of our own. Following a great deal of effort from all involved, we were delighted to pass at the first attempt, and the auditor encouraged us to continue development of the logistics team and pursue FORS Silver, which we were delighted to obtain in July 2016.
The senior managers at Amalga, took the decision to send key logistics administrators, and company drivers on the FORS approved training, in order to improve general understanding and seek more clarity of pertinent roles and responsibilities, for this area of the business. The mix of classroom study and practical training, including cycling in London, provided the team with a broad understanding, and respect for what each of us does.
The ongoing monitoring of fuel use, mileage, FPNs and general fleet utilisation led us to ask more questions, who, why, what, when & where, became common vocabulary resulting in fewer unnecessary journeys, virtual elimination of FPC & PCN and the introduction of a formal fleet review model.
Nick Walker, Managing Director of Amalga said,
“Maintaining our FORS accreditation, allows us not only to focus on the safety of our fleet, staff and the public, but also the environment, and our future generations. Being part of the FORS scheme ensures we will maintain our continuous improvement ethos as a company, which leads in our sector”.
Our decision to progress from Bronze to Silver was an easy one, as we met almost all of the requirements with very little additional activity required. Our pursuit of Gold is based upon a more holistic approach to our FORS program. Chris Hope, Operations Director, describes the process as ‘The difference between living with FORS, and breathing FORS. Obtaining FORS Gold, highlights to our clients and regulators, that we are serious about what we do, and want our staff to be recognised for the extraordinary job they do.
Amalga have a continuous improvement culture, and as such, numerous improvements have been made, to our fleet of vehicles, to our emissions, the journeys we choose to make, the technology we use to monitor and manage, the use of data to roll out lessons learnt, and a new internal league table for driving excellence. We have made improvements to the standard of drivers recruited, have implemented mandatory staff health checks, improved company management of the fleet and drivers. We have extended our driver training, which includes the FORS training as well as others, we have a new integrated transport policy in place, and a constantly evolving drivers handbook, to name but a few. All of our policies and procedures are reviewed with regularity, and form part of our wider company Quality Programme.
Since our Bronze Accreditation in 2014 we have seen many changes and improvements, including:
Amalga’s MPG has seen no significant change since the first recorded results for FORS Silver in 2015. An increase of 1mpg, however, Amalga have changed numerous vehicles for more practical vehicles to increase capacity of men/load to reduce number of vehicles on the road and therefore potentially increasing the MPG per vehicle per trip, therefore pleased with the outcome.
There has been a significant decrease in mileage due to the points mentioned above. Despite taking on projects further afield, such as Stansted and Luton airports, due to the reduction and change in vehicles Amalga have been able to decrease mileage by 34% in 2 years (2015 – 2017) from 169,001 to 111,955.
Average Co2 –
Due to the change in Amalga’s fleet from Euro 5 to Euro 6 with Adblue, Amalga are pleased that our Carbon Footprint has decreased too by 27% down to 40 for 2017.
Average NoX –
Reduction in NoX by 36% from 99 in 2015 to 64 in 2017.
Ad-Blue – We have replaced our existing fleet of vehicles with Vehicles with Ad-Blue Technology
Modal Shift – We have trialled Electric Vans twice through 2017 and have a new electric van scheduled to join the fleet later in 2018
Fleet Reductions – We have improved our consolidation of loads to reduce the number of vehicles/journeys that we make as part of our delivery service to airports in the last 12 months, and we utilise smaller vehicles, to reduce the use of HGVs as far as practicable.
o 2016 = 13 vehicles
o 2017 = 11 Vehicles
o 2018 = 8 Vehicles
PCN Reductions – We have worked hard through training and education to reduce the number of PCNS across the company, as follows:
2016 = 9 PCNs
2017 = 6 PCNs
2018 = 1 PCNs Year to date
Telematics: Software –
Amalga’s Telematics software is supplied by our FORS Bronze supplier LCV Hire Solutions, due to their understanding of the FORS requirements, the dashboard is easy to navigate and export data required for FORS. This allows Amalga to run and analyse reports on Mileage, Idling, speeding, braking and GPS journeys. In addition Amalga use “Hows My Driving” for feedback from other road users on our drivers road behaviour which is uploaded into a dashboard for review and performance management.
Driver Recruitment – As part of our recruitment process for staff who will drive our fleet of vehicles, we undertake full disclosures, DVLA Licence Checking, Eyesight and Driver Competency Testing, on the road, and Airside, as well as online training modules and then the FORS Practical training. We utilise a trained Advanced Driver Manager who is also our Health and Safety Advisor to sign off driving competency before new drivers are taken on.
Looking to the future, the Company Directors have committed to phase out any Euro V vehicles from the fleet by the end of 2018. Amalga will introduce our first electric vehicle for Heathrow Airport operations, in the very near future, and will further analyse the viability of electric vehicles for wider geographic use. Making this change, will help reduce vehicle noise, our company carbon footprint, and the diesel particulates that reduce air quality.
It is a challenge, ensuring we are always utilising the best vehicles and technology to support our business requirements, our company ethos, and our commitment to continually improve, but importantly, we are also very aware, that our greatest asset are our staff. We recognise the pressure of work, as well as family life, and this year, we have introduced a mental health support program across the company, to help maintain our staff, as well as provide an experienced, stable and happy workforce to our clients.
FORS, together with our other Industry accreditations, supports a more focused approach, driving, and supporting our improvement journey, and ensuring we are adopting industry best practice whilst staying flexible and responsive to the complex needs of our projects. We, as a company are proud of what we have achieved through FORS so far and are looking forward to moving to the next stage.
Becoming a FORS Gold member is a natural progression for Amalga, as we continually strive to improve all that we do and exceed the needs and expectation of all our stakeholders, both internal and external. We firmly believe, that our future is driven by improvement and Innovation, and key to that future is FORS.