Shepherd Distribution Services – ’Our Joined up approach goes from strength to strength’

Shepherd Distribution Services – ’Our Joined up approach goes from strength to strength’

Based in Sheffield our business offers specialist group-age services to the metals and engineering sectors along with palletised distribution through our Palletline member network.  Laurence Abel Managing Director of Shepherds identified that the FORS standards complimented a range of processes which already existed within the day to day operation at Shepherds; pivotal matters such as promoting safe working practices, legal compliance and a corporate social responsibility to improve the safety of road freight operations.  This ’joined up approach’ is something we are extremely passionate about and continues to gather momentum.   

SDSAs a specialist operator based in the heart of the steel industry of Sheffield; some of our customer base manufacture product for use in the construction industry. We carry out deliveries into London and became FORS bronze approved back in 2012 after a thorough on site audit which we passed first time.

FORS has enabled us to showcase our high levels of safe working methods; whilst adopting safer and greener initiatives which FORS also promote.

 We gained FORS silver in 2014 and the prestigious Gold accreditation in 2015.  As an accredited FORS company we compile literature for our customer base; we included FORS on company brochures; our website and safety presentations and use the various tool kits; performance management and training aids available through FORS.

 “We have refreshed both our driver training handbook and the Health & Safety manual to encompasses a host of FORS safety initiatives”

Some of the practical training courses we use have been delivered by FORS approved assessors/companies; for example Lorry driver induction training by Crossrail and Safe Urban driving by Fleet Source and Driver Skills Training.  The vulnerable road user awareness and safe urban driving are now an integral part of our driver training programs and are part of our CPC modules.

We also take advantage of the toolkits available on the FORS website along with the E-Learning modules in order to enhance our training and have issued the cycle safety toolkit to the Management team.

 We continue to invest heavily in safety equipment for our extensive fleet of vehicles and keep up to date with legislative changes.

‘Our training methods are very varied and we utilise a number of the guidance tools on offer from FORS

 Performance improvements are evident and there is greater emphasis on root cause analysis and corrective actions through awareness and education. The table below demonstrates improvements in two key areas; vehicle damage & penalty charges.

  Vehicle damage % (No of incidents into vehicle days) % of penalty fines & charges
Jan-Dec 2014 0.49% 0.18%
Jan – Dec 2015 0.47% 0.17%
Jan – Dec 2016 0.31% 0.12%
Improvement YOY from 2014 down from 0.49% to 0.31% equates to a 36% reduction on a larger fleet base! YOY from 2014 down from 0.18% to 0.12% equates to a 33% improvement

SDS 2Managing Director Laurence Abel (pictured left) believes FORS has given Shepherds recognition for their efforts towards improving fleet safety; driver development and environmental awareness. He recognises FORS has come a long way in a short time and would strongly recommend businesses to tap into some of the useful tool kits; training aids and practical advice available through FORS.





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