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Thirteen: How to save 30% on fleet costs

A five-year contract with Venson has seen Thirteen Housing Group dramatically cut its fleet costs while enhancing its operational efficiency. Van Fleet World finds out more.

Thirteen has cut the number of vans on its fleet and downsized vehicles.
Thirteen has cut the number of vans on its fleet and downsized vehicles.

When business expansion and acquisitions left Thirteen Housing Group running a disparate mix of vehicles and funding methods, the expanding landlord and developer decided it was time for action.

The vehicles on its fleet – which were almost exclusively light commercial vehicles – were on a mix of replacement cycles, acquired via a different funding channel including contract hire, outright purchase and short-term hire, utilising both internal and external maintenance management and displaying various liveries.

With the help of Venson Automotive Solutions, the firm has now switched to running a single-badge, uniform fleet operated on a five-year/10,000 miles per year replacement cycle to bring consistency across the operation while also delivering major savings. In fact, Thirteen has slashed its fleet acquisition and operating costs by 30% – equating to a saving of approximately £200,000 a year.


Partnership approach

The five-year deal with Venson, which runs through to 2021, was signed following a detailed review of the entire vehicle operation through a third-party fleet consultant. The deal was awarded on the basis of a tender via the Procure Plus framework, which saw Venson singled out for its competitive pricing and range of services.

Following its appointment, Venson’s detailed review of the fleet identified an opportunity to cut the number of vehicles operated, chiefly by reducing the number of vans operated that were only driven to and from sites where there was no requirement for employees to use a van during the day. That has resulted in the fleet reducing in size by almost 100 vehicles and employees using their own vehicles to drive to and from locations.

The Thirteen fleet now numbers 322 light commercial diesel vehicles from across the Renault model range – Kangoo, Trafic and Master – including panel vans and flatbeds. Approximately 85% of the fleet are Trafics and, additionally, the company operates a single Renault Clio assigned to its security team.

And Venson not only concluded that Thirteen could cut the number of vans on its fleet but also the size. While the majority of the fleet were previously large vans, Venson identified that much of the available internal space was not being utilised. Instead, the majority of the vans are now mid-size Trafics and, where possible, Kangoo vans are also being used, slashing fuel bills as well as Thirteen’s carbon footprint.

Venson also worked with Thirteen and its operatives to ensure vehicles were specified to meet the precise job need – the firm runs a number of skilled tradesmen including electricians, joiners, painters, plasters, plumbers and roofers as well as general labourers.

Additionally, Venson organised ‘demonstration days’ so that Thirteen and its employees could review the market choice relating to both van racking and telematics suppliers. That led to Thirteen opting to work with Tevo and Ctrack respectively.

All new vehicles are delivered to Venson’s own ‘Equip for Service’ facility in Yorkshire where they are fitted out to Thirteen’s exact requirement prior to delivery.

Venson also worked closely with Thirteen’s communications team on new vehicle livery design.


Wide-ranging services

Venson also provides a comprehensive range of in-life services to Thirteen, including fleet management, maintenance management, accident and risk management and short-term hire if required. Venson also dealt with the remarketing of previously outright purchased vehicles.

Under recommendation by Venson, Thirteen also implemented BP fuel cards for operatives following the expiration of a previous fuel card arrangement.

Meanwhile the raft of data available through the Ctrack telematics system is enabling Thirteen to both monitor and assess the driving performance of its operatives, and the firm is also looking at whether introduce a reward initiative as part of a wider review of pay and employee benefits.

Weekly teleconferences between Thirteen and its account manager and project delivery manager at Venson are supplemented by face-to-face meetings if required.

Commenting on Thirteen’s work with Venson, Joanne Johnson, Thirteen’s operational improvement manager with fleet responsibility, said: “Thirteen’s fleet has been transformed as a result of the partnership with Venson. Previously a mix of vehicles and funding routes with an element of in-house management and outsourced management, the company now has complete consistency.

“From a management perspective, we have confidence that the fleet is operating in accordance with best practice, while the vehicles also promote the image of Thirteen as a smart, forward-thinking and efficient business.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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.

Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.

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