Lockwood Group of Belper, Derbyshire has been using the Merridale fuel management system for over ten years. One of the initial requirements was for supplying fuel to third party operators, which necessitated resale quality pumps. Lockwood was also one of the first customers to link their Merridale keys into the vehicle wash facilities. As well as improved supervision for Lockwood vehicles, this integration also enabled the group to share these facilities with third parties.
The system software has been adapted continuously to meet changing operational requirements. In 2013 an additional depot at Sutton in Ashfield was brought online and administration switched over to FuelWorks, which is Merridale’s web-based reporting service.
The latest upgrade at the Belper depot has been the installation of a dual compartment storage tank for white diesel and a second multi-product tank, custom built with separate compartments for gas oil, AdBlue, engine oil and screen-wash.
“Used in conjunction with Merridale FuelWorks reports, the telematics service enables us to rate individual drivers for ability, style and economy.”
Additional hardware included Merridale pump dispensers and tank management systems, for the new tanks, enabling real-time stock control for the diesel and AdBlue products.
“With an annual fuel spend of more than ￡2Million, we prefer to be masters of our own destiny, explains managing director, Robert Lockwood.
“All our main fleet vehicles are fitted with 600 litre tanks, to minimise the need for external fuelling. Next to wages, fuel is a significant on cost and we have to take fuel consumption very seriously.
“The Lockwood fleet is managed with a telematics tracking service, which helps us to optimise route planning. External fuelling is really a last resort. Clearly it would be counter-productive for vehicles to go out of their way to get fuel.
“Used in conjunction with Merridale FuelWorks reports, the telematics service enables us to rate individual drivers for ability, style and economy. And this feeds into our training and drivers’ incentive scheme.”
“Monthly league tables are published showing economy performance. The top drivers are rewarded from a bonus fund. As an additional incentive, the driver of the year is allocated the ‘special cab’. This is a full specification unit with all the bells and whistles, which we order with each batch of fleet replacement vehicles.”
Robert Lockwood continues. “A saving of just one mile to the gallon is equivalent to about ten percent, which adds up to a saving on fuel costs of between five or six thousand pounds per year for every vehicle. In my opinion, any competent driver can easily get from 9 mpg to 10 mpg just by driving the vehicle properly and in particular, taking it easy on the accelerator.
“If we can achieve that then the amount we spend on incentive schemes pales into insignificance. And the drivers know that. But we constantly have to remind them about driving style and the benefits of ensuring that the vehicle is properly trimmed. It’s the little details such as correct tyre pressures, tight curtain sides and making sure they are close coupled to reduce wind resistance, that can make up the difference.”