NTC Plant Ltd t/a Thameside Freight Services is based in Barking and we deliver building supplies throughout London and the South East of England. Roy Cowlard, Transport Manager, explains how Thameside Freight Services has achieved significant improvements through FORS through fuel monitoring, driver training, road safety record and dealing with penalty charge notices.
Around 2009, some of our customers started asking if we were FORS accredited, that is how we found out about the scheme, we looked into what this entailed, we adjusted our procedures and became FORS Bronze accredited.
Thameside Freight Services passed their initial audit first time round, this demonstrated to us and our clients that we had all the right systems in place to provide a professional environmentally friendly and road safety champion in our industry. We then decided to see how far we could progress with FORS to continually demonstrate our commitment to road safety, the environment, our clients and the general public.
Once we were Bronze, we invested heavily in the fitment of road safety equipment to our vehicles, at a subsequent Bronze audit, the auditor note this investment was paying off as they was a sharp decline in the number of incidents in particular with nearside front damage we used to get when vehicles were manoeuvring in tight spaces on construction sites and the auditor suggested that maybe we should look at going for the Silver accreditation. We took the auditors advice, look into it and became Silver accredited.
We have seen many benefits by being a FORS Silver accredited business, it made us look deeper into our operational practices, it made us aware of processes for monitoring fuel, driver training, vehicle safety equipment, our commitments to road safety and the environment. It also enabled us to access contracts that non FORS accredited business could not. Being FORS accredited allowed us to achieved ISO 9001, 14001 & 45001 accredited.
FORS changed the way we looked at our operation and streamline our systems – Roy Cowlard – Transport Manager.
FORS allowed us to demonstrate our commitments to road safety, the environment, our staff and everyone we deal with – Jane Wilkinson – Director
- Performance data – We have seen a slight decrease in our MPG performance and PCN’s issued. Incidents, CO2, NOx & PM10 output have all improved but this is due to lees fuel used and distances covered over the last 6 months.
|Incidents per 100,000 Kms||
|Number of PCNs||Proportion of fleet that uses alternative fuels|
- Driver health and fitness review – All drivers are provided with remedial training following any incidents, they are required to inform management of any health issues or mental health issues that may affect their driving capability including sleep apnoea, stress, anxiety or any other issue notifiable to the DVLA regarding their entitlement to drive. Driver are encouraged to keep to regular sleep patterns.
- Recruitment of drivers – We have drivers who have been with the company for years with only a small turnover annually of around 16%. We recruit driver through our website, social media, local press and through our existing drivers. We also encourage our drivers to recruit family member who may be looking for a change in career.
- Noise assessment – We carry out noise assessments at our operating centre, offices, vehicles (internal & external) including while on the move. Drivers have been issued with a Code of Practice on noise reduction measures such as turning off the audible left turn speaker and reversing alarms in noise sensitive areas, early mornings and late at night. Not to slam doors and turn their radio sound systems off.
- Modal shift and alternative vehicles – We have warehouse where loads are consolidated for single vehicle deliveries only. We have contacted our vehicle suppliers and informed them that when suitable electric vehicles for our type of operation are available we are interested in making purchases. Currently it is not suitable for us to move goods using the railways or canals due to our customers locations
Our aim is to achieve the FORS Gold accreditation, maintain high professional standards. Due to the new emissions standards, we now have a fleet of EURO 6 vehicles only with the older polluting vehicles disposed. Cleaner air benefits all so we are totally behind all initiatives that help lower emissions. We are also talking with our vehicle suppliers about alternative fuelled vehicles especially those powered by electricity. We are also looking at vehicles that have Direct Vision Standard cabs.
FORS is mentioned several times on our website and the FORS Logo is proudly displayed on our headed paper, email signatures and all company vehicles.
Gaining the FORS Gold accreditation would demonstrate our commitment to road safety, vulnerable road users, our clients, employees, the public and last but not least the environment. It would also demonstrate that we are a very professional organsiation and one that all Thameside Freight Services staff can be extremely proud of for years to come.