Rejuvenated UK construction sector investing in fleet technology


The UK construction sector, continuing on its post-recession recovery track, used a relatively strong 2014 to invest in reviewing fleet operations.

Fleet software provider Chevin Fleet Solutions (Chevin) explained that this was really the first time following the recession that construction companies had the means to take a fresh and thorough look at how they run their commercial vehicles, cars and plant, looking at fundamental objectives.

Ashley Sowerby, Chevin’s managing director, (pictured below) said: “Clearly, construction had a really rough ride throughout the recession and fleet operations suffered as a result. Vehicle lives were frequently extended on a short term basis, for example, and there were few opportunities to examine policies covering key areas such as overall environmental impact.

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“However, this pattern appeared to finally change in 2014, according to feedback from the construction companies with which we work. There was sufficient funding and breathing space available to take a ground-upwards look at fleet operations.”

Sowerby stressed that important areas that were given the most attention included vehicle replacement cycles, CO2 footprint, compliance with legislation and various schemes, and accident management.

“There is a lot of interesting thinking going around. So, for example, we are seeing increasing use of our latest mobile technology not just to meet O licence obligations such as daily driver checks but also newer though similar obligations in LOLER (Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations) and the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme.”

“Additionally,” he said, “there is a growing recognition in the sector about the need for better management of accident risk, both in terms of reducing the likelihood of incidents and also getting vehicles back on the road more quickly when they do occur. Again, technology available through fleet software is playing an important role in making this possible.”

Sowerby added that there appeared to be a recognition within the industry that business levels may well fall away again and that investment was needed to make sure that companies were in the best shape to thrive during the next few years.

He said: “We have certainly seen an increased level of spending in the kind of fleet technology that we provide. The thinking appears to be that investments made now, while conditions are relatively good, will help to ensure that fleet efficiencies are optimised, whether the economy soon flatlines or the recovery picks up speed.”