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Band of Brothers

Fleet size: 200 vehicles

What’s the history of Gratte Brothers?

From small beginnings as an electrical contractor, started by two brothers in the post war years, Gratte Brothers has now become one of the leading Building Services Contractors in the UK, while still remaining a family owned business, employing more than 650 personnel with a turnover in excess of £100m per annum.

You have other functions to manage as well as fleet?

Yes we are a department of two, and we look after 200 vehicles, 320 mobile phones, 100 Laptop Data Cards and eight buildings. We look after all the hard and soft services of the buildings, including electrical and mechanical systems, furniture, floor printers, cleaners etc. We surprise ourselves some days when we see how much we are responsible for!

What are the two main fleet issues for you presently?

Reducing fuel usage and trying to get our fleet back to a three year/80,000 mile cycle, after we changed it to a four year/100,000 miles cycle when the recession started.

Someone said I should ask you about FORS. Care to expand?

FORS stands for “Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme” which is an accreditation scheme that aims to improve fleet activity in London and throughout the UK and beyond. Accreditation could help you tender for business, save you money, improve safety and reduce your environmental impact. We achieved our Bronze Certificate in May 2013 and are now working towards our Silver accreditation by January 2014. All main construction companies have now registered and also made it compulsory for their sub contractors to be FORS accredited in order to work on their sites across London and the UK. We are proud to be FORS Accredited and would urge other companies to follow suit.

Do you lease or buy your vehicles, and why does this work for you?

We outright purchase the whole fleet and will keep on buying them as it means we are able to move them about and sell them when we want. When the recession hit we were able to sit down and discuss what we wanted to do and implement the changes straight away. By buying them we also have the vehicles on our asset register which is really good as we are a cash rich company and don’t need to lend or borrow any money to fund our fleet.

Are you a carrot or stick person – penalise “offenders” or reward good behaviour?

Across our fleet we only have 15 accidents a year of which roughly 50% are driver fault. So we are pretty lucky that we have a good record and we are able to look at each incident and assess what we need to do to prevent it from happening again.

If you had one piece of advice to a new fleet manager, what would it be?

Analyse your fleet and look at where you are when you start and where you want to be in two years’ time. That way you can see what you are currently doing and what you can change to make it run smoother and more cost effective.  It takes time and fleets are always evolving, so you will find there is always something you can do it make it better. See it as a personal challenge, that’s what I do.

Time for a hobby outside of work?

Time outside of work, what’s that?! No, I try and spend my weekends and days off with my gorgeous kids and wife. We never have a spare weekend as it is which is lovely. We are always up to different things!