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Hughes Electrical secures Van Excellence accreditation

Hughes Electrical, one of the UK’s largest electrical retailers, has secured accreditation to the Freight Transport Association-managed Van Excellence scheme with the help of Activa Contracts.

A newly liveried Hughes Electrical Van Excellence vehicle with Lowestoft depot manager Chris Brooks and driver Darren Rice

Hughes Electrical operates a fleet totalling some 150 light commercial vehicles as well as 44 company cars, all of which are fully outsourced to Activa Contracts, the Milton Keynes-based division of the Arnold Clark Group.

The all-diesel light commercial vehicle fleet comprises Ford Transit and Transit Custom and Vauxhall Vivaro and Movano models. Vans, which are all equipped with dashcams and Lightfoot’s driver behaviour technology, operate on a four-year replacement cycle and now display the Van Excellence logo.

The Van Excellence accreditation required the Hughes Electrical fleet to pass a procedural audit (recertification is undertaken annually), which saw  Activa Contracts provide the exact un-laden weight of each vehicle after the completion of conversion work undertaken by specialist supplier Bott.

Activa Contracts’ sales and marketing director Lisa Temperton said: “Activa Contracts’ focus is on helping customers such as Hughes Electrical to operate to the highest possible standard. The company, by achieving Van Excellence accreditation, is a clear example of best practice being delivered in day-to-day fleet operation.”

Hughes Electrical was also praised on its “impressive dedication to safety, compliance and driver welfare” by Mark Cartwright, head of vans at the Freight Transport Association.

Dave Stokes, Hughes Group procurement, fleet and property services manager, added: “Achieving Van Excellence provides confidence to the company and our clients that our van fleet operation is compliant with current legislation and best practice particularly in respect of displaying a duty of care towards our staff and all other road users. That, consequently, reduces exposure to corporate and operational risk, delivers cost savings through adopting best practice procedures and improves operational efficiency with increased driver competence.”

He continued: “I hold toolbox talks with our drivers including showing them Van Excellence’s ‘One Fateful Day’ video. Our drivers are professional drivers and they are the company’s ambassadors on the road.

“It is essential for the company that our vehicles are fit-for-purpose and looked after, our drivers are looked after and are empowered and we do the right thing for everyone.”

Future work by the firm will see its Washco business, created by the merger of Solent Laundry Systems and the recently acquired commercial laundry equipment supplier James Armstrong, apply for Van Excellence accreditation in its own right in the near future for its 49 light commercial vehicles.

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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