R. Wilkes transition from foundation to applying for FORS Gold

R. Wilkes transition from foundation to applying for FORS Gold

R. Wilkes Transport & Storage Ltd is a small general haulage company based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and is a part of the Chiltern Group, whose Head Office is based in Bedford. We currently operate 15 vehicles and have around 22 employees.

My name is Trevor Croxon and I am the Transport Manager here at R. Wilkes. The Managing Director, Richard Wilkes, first started out working as an order picker at Cadburys Trebor Basset at Holmewood Distribution center for a number of years, as he was in this work he thought he could see an opportunity within the Chesterfield area for general haulage and storage.

1In March 2005 at the age of 22 he and close family members started a company called R. Wilkes Transport & Storage from a spare bedroom in a semidetached house with two Mercedes sprinter vans. From this the company expanded rapidly. Within the first five months we had moved into a 3500 sq. ft. unit based in Clay Cross Chesterfield and increased our vehicle fleet to four Mercedes sprinter vans and one 7.5t lorry. As well as general haulage we also provide a service of specialist medical equipment transportation and provide a 24/7 cover for this element. We operate throughout the United Kingdom and the majority of our work takes through London on nearly a daily bases.

We became aware of FORS and what benefits it could offer us as a growing company by our C.E.O. Edward McMullan, who is also a barrister in London. He explained that he had presided on a couple of cases, where transport companies had been in question and that part of the verdict was if they had adopted some of the FORS scheme measures, then they wouldn’t have been found culpable for their omissions.

With Edward’s comments in mind, we as a company decided to look into the FORS scheme in some depth and to see what it could offer us and help us develop. We soon realised that even though there was a cost involved, the cost was nothing compared to the benefits and accolade the scheme would give us.

So towards the end of 2015 we embarked on applying for FORS accreditation after reading the requirements and insuring that we had all our systems and training in hand. And on 25th February 2016 we were audited by John Fairy and passed the audit first time and was therefore awarded Bronze FORS status. We were given 4 minor action points and 1 observation during the audit and quickly actioned them on receipt of the audit report After we had obtained our FORS Bronze status, we didn’t rest there, because during My name is Trevor Croxon and I am the Transport Manager here at R. Wilkes. The Managing Director, Richard Wilkes, first started out working as an order picker at Cadburys Trebor Basset at Holmewood Distribution center for a number of years, as he was in this work he thought he could see an opportunity within the Chesterfield area for general haulage and storage. 2 the period from applying for FORS and obtaining our status, we recognised that we still had some way to go to make our systems and policies better.

We adopted a stiff approach of looking at our policies and systems and this wasn’t an easy task. We tried to involve all staff and gathered as much information as possible to help with the improvements. We still look at improvements to our policies and systems, as we consider them to be key to productivity and safety. Safety not just to the company also our employees, our vehicles, our customers, other road users, the general public and the environment.

All of our vehicles are tracked and depending on the size of the vehicle, are fitted with cameras, various other safety and warning devices designed to improve the safety of our drivers and vulnerable road users.

2Because of the nature of our business we will transport nearly anything to anywhere within the United Kingdom, within reason and therefore our loads will take any shape, form and/or weight. With this in mind we have had to look at different ways of securing the loads and try and adopt the most safe and cost effective. We currently have Guardian Load Systems fitted to the majority of our vehicles. This system is very effective to a number of the loads that we move, but not to all. Therefore all of our vehicles are also equipped with tension straps and ratchets. All employees have received training on loading and restraint and periodic refresher training is given. We recognise that good loading and restraint techniques can be extremely valuable to protecting the load, vehicle safety, safety to vulnerable road users, the general public and the environment. We have found that with the employment of good loading and restraint techniques has helped with our productivity as it can improve fuel efficiency and therefore help to reduce our carbon emission footprint, it has also helped to reduce general wear to our vehicles. We are also encouraging APS whom carryout our maintenance to use up to date Tec 4 engine cleaning machines and fluids to help reduce the emission pollution created by our vehicles.

Training is a very important item to our company and because we are a small company we have to be very selective to whom we train and decide if a particular course will be of value to the company and the person we train. All training that is conducted, whether in-house or contracted out is recorded when training is completed and records kept. We conduct in-house “Toolbox Talks” and topics vary. We conduct Driver CPC courses at our premises, which are contracted out to an approved training provider. To make the courses viable and cost effective to potential candidates, we ask other companies and/or driver agencies if they have persons that wish to attend. We have also asked our training provider if they can put on a Driver CPC course for First Aid and also get this course validated with Qualsafe to get the majority of our drivers an Appointed First Aider qualification.

Monitoring and supervising of employees is very important to ensure that the training they have undertaken has been of benefit to them and that they employee the All of our vehicles are tracked and depending on the size of the vehicle, are fitted with cameras, various other safety and warning devices designed to improve the safety of our drivers and vulnerable road users. 3 techniques that they have been taught. Performance data – The table below shows that we have made some credible improvements to our MPL and incident rates. However, we have not done so well in the number of PCNs which we have been issued with just year so far. This is therefore clearly an area where we need to educate our drivers.

 

 

MPL Incidents per 100,000 Kms Number of PCNs
Oct 2015-Sep 2016 4.1886329 2 6
Oct 2016- Jun 2017 4.3770456 1 6
Percentage improvement 4.5% 100% 0%

We made significant changes and improvements from the point of obtaining FORS Bronze and then decided that we should try for FORS Silver. We researched the criteria for FORS Silver and realised that we had already reached the majority of it and in some cases beyond that. Knowing then what we had to do to achieve FORS Silver we set about further enhancements and continue improvements. We collated all the information required by the online FORS Silver Audit and early October 2016 we pressed the send button and our application was submitted.

On 28th October 2016 we received confirmation that we had reached yet another mile stone and was accredited with FORS Silver.

Since obtaining FORS Silver we have been able to secure some new contracts, which has helped develop the company. Knowing now that this accreditation has helped us, we are now strongly focused in attaining the next stage of FORS Gold. We have looked at the criteria for FORS Gold like we did for FORS Bronze and Silver and have already revamped our letterheads, business cards and signs to our premises.

We are currently investing in a few newer vehicles, which will be more fuel efficient and hopefully have less CO² output. We are currently looking at driver related courses, including Safe Urban Driver and ECO Driving. In addition to this we are sending management staff on Transport Seminars, to gain essential new and up to date information on transport related topics.

Achieving FORS Gold would be like icing on the cake for us. We have no doubt that this accolade would help to secure more contracts. Since joining the FORS scheme we believe that road safety and driver awareness has dramatically improved with continuous employee training and supervision. In addition, we are also focused on reducing the amount of PCNs and fuel usage.

Our vision is “To provide a transport and storage organisation that can not only provide a service to the customer through reliability and safety. But one that is also friendly to the environment”.

Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim.