Josh Punchard Haulage is a family run business based in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, offering specialised transport services throughout the UK and Ireland. Established in 2004, the company has expanded rapidly to offer a diverse fleet of vehicles to satisfy the various requirements of customers across many industries. Owner Josh Punchard explains how the company has benefitted from joining the scheme.
We first became aware of FORS following a request from a customer querying our accreditation. As we are constantly looking for ways to improve our safety and quality standards, becoming FORS accredited was an obvious choice for us to achieve best practice.
We realised the many potential benefits of joining the FORS scheme for our company including improving operations, reducing emissions and increasing driver awareness and knowledge through training.
While using the FORS Standard to prepare for our first audit, we were able to identify areas that needed improvement, in particular, our document review process. We also took advantage of the various eLearning courses available on the FORS website which proved an excellent tool for improving driver knowledge. Upon successfully achieving Bronze accreditation in 2015 after our initial audit, we had already begun to see the benefits.
After completing the bronze assessment, we committed ourselves to further improve standards by minimising our environmental impact and increasing safety standards, so we began to work towards gaining silver accreditation. We found the performance tools to be particularly useful in helping us to effectively record and manage information such as driver training records and PCN’s. The training available has benefitted all employees including our accounts manager, Michelle Marshall, who became our FORS practitioner after attending the workshops.
‘The knowledge I have gained upon attending the practitioner workshops has been invaluable. As a result of the training, which covers all aspects of fleet management, we have implemented a number of key developments to improve operational safety and efficiency.’ – Michelle Marshall, Accounts Manager.
Since joining the scheme, the benefit of developing and implementing policies and procedures was immediately noticeable within the everyday running of the business, which has become much more structured and effectively organised. The FORS newsletter provides us with information on industry developments so we can continually review our documents to ensure they are up to date.
‘FORS has provided an invaluable management system for our entire operation, helping us to maintain effective compliance and identify any areas for improvement.’ – Josh Punchard, Owner.
Achieving the Silver accreditation has proved extremely beneficial to us and motivated us to improve further and become a Gold operator. By collecting and recording various data using tools available through the FORS website, we can observe the performance of the fleet, and progressing towards Gold has encouraged us to use this information to improve efficiency.
We collect and record data regarding MPG, CO2 emissions, collisions and transport related fines and charges. Although the figures don’t reflect an improvement, collecting and summarising the information has encouraged us to implement actions for improvement. We are in the process of having our entire fleet fitted with a telematics system which will accurately record fuel consumption and monitor driver behaviour. As the information recorded will be reliable, accurate and always up to date, we can more closely monitor performance and clearly see where we can make adjustments to reduce our carbon footprint.
The incidents which occurred were not down to errors by our drivers but using the training and systems available through FORS we now record all relevant details relating to incidents and have fitted all vehicles with cameras to capture collisions and/or near misses.
Our increase in PCN’s was mainly due to an account error resulting in Congestion Charge fines which has now been rectified. By recording data for the other fines, including the type of contravention and the area in which it occurred, we were able to deliver tool box talks provided by FORS to our drivers to ensure they were aware of all parking and moving traffic offences. Since this, we have not received any PCN’s.
|MPG||Incidents per 100,000 Kms||
Number of PCNs
Nov 16 – Nov 17
Nov 17- Nov 18
*Annual improvement in MPG and Incidents per 100,000 Kms
- Driver health and fitness review – To minimise the risk of incidents it is vital that our drivers are always fit to drive and our vehicles are operated safely. We communicate our ‘Driver Fitness and Health Policy’ to all drivers to ensure they are aware of any condition which may impair their driving. We have implemented a ‘Driver Health Questionnaire’ which we ask drivers to complete every six months. We also carry out driver eye sight checks every six months.
- Strategy for recruiting drivers – When recruiting new drivers, we subsidise training to encourage inexperienced drivers into the industry. We believe that a crucial aspect of driver retention is investing in our employees and so we provide ongoing progressive training and continue to update our fleet to satisfy the needs of drivers.
- Noise assessment – Operating from a busy industrial estate, noise pollution is not problematic in the area. We understand our responsibilities to the wider community and educate our drivers in how they can reduce noise. In addition, all vehicles are fitted with white noise reversing alarms.
- Modal shift and alternative vehicles – Having assessed the modal shift and alternative vehicles available, we have not yet identified anything suitable which would satisfy the needs of our customers or be financially practical to our business. However, alternative vehicles are something we will consider in the future as technology evolves and they become more financially viable.
In order to make continual fleet improvements we will replacing our older vehicles with new Euro VI HGV’s to improve reduce our emissions and reduce our environmental impact. By using our new telematics software, we also hope to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce running costs. We shall continue to invest in our drivers training and use FORS tools to continuously improve our operational compliance.
In conclusion, the FORS scheme has helped us to improve driver knowledge, increase safety and recognise areas for improvement whilst providing an excellent management system. Achieving FORS Gold would show that we are dedicated to continually improving our operations and achieving best practice.