Objective - Business Challenge
As a major player in the capital, Go Ahead London is committed to leading-edge operation in terms of economy, efficiency and environmental performance. In order to achieve this, the company has long sought continuous improvement in all its activities and in 2008 identified two key threats to the business; the uncertainty caused by ever-fluctuating fuel prices, and a concern that a significant amount of fuel was being lost to poor driving styles, with fuel returns varying by as much as 30 percent from driver-to-driver.
A second and related issue is that Transport for London (TfL) tenders specify the use of vehicles equipped with latest-generation emissions technology, which demand consistently high driving standards if fuel economy is to be maintained. These factors, backed by the demands of TfL's Quality Incentive Contracts, which require agreed service frequencies and standards to be adhered to, signalled the need to drive efficiency in operation to new a level.
Solutions provided - How did MiX Telematics help?
Go Ahead London's response to the challenges was to invest in telematics as a means to measure, monitor and improve driving standards and evaluate fleet performance in order to optimise vehicle selection for particular routes and/or areas.
Following a detailed market review, the company selected MiX Telematics' Fleet Manager solution as the system that would best meet its present and future needs. In addition to the core product, Go Ahead London took the optional RIBAS display system, an onboard unit which alerts the driver when five key fixed parameters – over-revving, excessive idling, harsh braking, harsh acceleration and over-speeding – are exceeded. Encouraging drivers to operate within the set RIBAS limits significantly evens out discrepancies.
As an integral part of the solution, Go Ahead London elected to work in close cooperation with the MiX Telematics consultancy team to develop a programme which would deliver the required outcomes.
Improving driving skills and fuel efficiency
Initially, Fleet Manager was used to identify which drivers were performing well and which ones needed to improve. Thereafter, a more detailed examination of the data revealed exactly where individuals were going wrong, thereby allowing detailed training and development programmes to be developed for each driver.
In order to gain the buy-in of drivers, an initiative known as the Go-Green Club was developed in parallel to the introduction of Fleet Manager. Membership to the Club is dependent on drivers achieving 'green' driving reports, (reports are generated using the 'traffic light' system, where green represents the acceptable standard), over three consecutive months and covering a minimum of 1,500 miles. To incentivise drivers, the Go-Green Club provides a range of tangible benefits including newsletters, a dedicated website, discounts, offers and access to the scheme's major incentive, the 500 Challenge, whereby the top performing 20 drivers of the year compete for a prize of a brand new car.
Fleet Manager plays an integral part in the 500 Challenge by continuously monitoring drivers' performance and producing regular league tables of results. With drivers naturally wishing to secure a place at the annual 500 Challenge final, this approach provides all the motivation required to encourage individuals to perform well and position themselves among the best.
Fleet performance has also been monitored from day one, with reports detailing fuel return variations between different vehicles operating on particular routes and areas of the capital at specific times of the day. In this way, a comprehensive picture of fleet optimisation has been developed.
Fleet Manager has enabled Go Ahead London to achieve a substantial reduction in fuel consumption backed by an equivalent reduction in carbon footprint. Since the introduction of the system and supporting programmes in 2008, Go Ahead London has reported an overall improvement in fuel performance of 12 percent. In terms of matching vehicles to particular routes and tasks, Go Ahead London is satisfied that its operations are today optimised.
Fleet Manager and the RIBAS display are now regarded as integral parts of Go Ahead London's operations and drive for efficiency. Having delivered benefits which have now been sustained over a three year period, the company is routinely fitting the system to all new buses it commissions.