Ashford Environmental Services are the UK’s leading commissioning and water treatment specialist, providing an integrated “one-stop” service to industry and commerce. Established in early 1997, Ashford’s carries out projects throughout the UK and has field staff in excess of 150. Managing Director Roger Carlin explains how registration to FORS has enabled the company to achieve tangible benefits in relation to the operation of the company fleet of vehicles and to improve on the training of vehicle operatives, building substantively on the certification that the company already has in terms of ISO 9001 quality management, ISO 14001 environmental management and OHSAS 18001 health and safety control.
We initially heard about FORS in early 2014 through MACE and decided this would be a useful tool to enable us to build on ISO accreditations. Our philosophy has always been one of continuous improvement in service and performance so when MACE approached us in respect of our vehicle fleet and raising standards, we began investigating FORS membership. We obtained the initial FORS bronze accreditation in May 2014 and FORS silver in May 2015.
As a company we were more than happy with the bronze audit process. We had integrated the FORS requirements with our ISO 9001/14001 and 18001 systems and this integration proved successful. We welcomed the FORS assessor and were happy with the approach taken in the assessment which was very similar to an ISO 18001 audit which we are fully familiar with.
Our next steps as a FORS accredited company were to stay compliant with the FORS standards and maintain overall accreditation. We also wanted to make more use of accessories such as training schemes and workshop and to gain overall continual improvement within our fleet. In addition, it was important for us to promote FORS as Ashford’s find it extremely effective and helpful when managing our vehicles. Finally, it was imperative for us to become more environmentally friendly and reduce our carbon footprint.
“FORS provides us with a rigorous framework for the management of our fleet operations”
At Ashford Environmental Services we have identified a number of benefits and improvements since joining FORS. These include an overall improvement in fleet management, enhanced training for drivers in safe urban driving and work related road risks, new and improved daily driver check sheets together with the ability to shows clients we are committed to transport safety. Our main tangible improvement however lies in the improvement that we have noticed in the training and development of our personnel in overall transport matters with particular emphasis on transport safety issues. The safety of all parties including the travelling public is a key priority within our company and FORS has enabled us to focus on this aspect of our operations.
“FORS has enabled us to focus on the training and development of our operational staff and to ensure we place transport safety as a top priority”
We are also able to quantify the improvements we have made for example in the areas of total distances travelled as shown in the table below.
|Vehicle Distance Travelled|
|April – March 2015
|April – March 2016||14814|
A significant percentage improvement can be determined with significant reduction in fuel usage and CO2 production for the small fleet of vehicles we operate.
Becoming gold accredited was discussed in depth at Ashford’s last management meeting and it was decided it would become a high priority to apply for and obtain gold accreditation. Gold accreditation means that Ashford can demonstrate that we operate an efficient and effective fleet management system and so achieve one of Ashford’s set goals in continual improvement for this year.