Merridale fuel management is core to the Leiths Group Integrated Management Systems
As one of Scotland’s principle quarry and construction materials suppliers, the Leiths Group takes environmental issues very seriously. Central to this is the monitoring of fuel usage which is at the core of the group’s accreditation to the ISO 50001 standard for Energy Management.
“These procedures start at the gate with the bulk purchasing of fuel which is held at strategic locations to ensure that vehicles and plant can be refuelled efficiently,” explains fleet manager, Bob Adamson.
“Our overall objective is to minimise our expenditure on fuel. By tracking our usage electronically, we have a clear understanding of the impact of our operations. By gathering this evidence, we can review transport policies and make the small adjustments that will help us to achieve continuous improvement.”
“The monthly throughput of road diesel for our combined operations is currently running at around 300,000 litres a month – amounting to some 3.5 million litres a year. We track this usage with the help of centralised office management software. This enables us to account for the usage of every litre of fuel purchased.”
Bob Adamson continues. “Although the group has continued to expand its business, Merridale makes it easy to review our data, and to ensure that we have sufficient fuel capacity at the correct locations.
The management software, together with depot fuelling equipment has been supplied by Merridale. Fuel is dispensed from nine operational centres across Scotland. Each of these fuelling points is equipped with a Merridale pump control unit which records every fuelling transaction. Details such as vehicle identity, date and amount of fuel drawn are recorded for transmission by telecoms links to the group fleet department in Aberdeen.
The Merridale software provides the tools needed to process the details against cost of fuel at delivery. The vehicle odometer reading is also captured on every fuelling transaction. This enables the calculation of fuel consumption in terms of miles per gallon (mpg).
“As well as cost accounting requirements, this analysis and the monthly reports ensure that we spot any anomalies. For example, any unusual deterioration in a vehicle’s mpg performance would call for further investigation. Even a small change might signal a potential service issues with the vehicle. This can easily be checked by cross reference with the data provided from the vehicle’s telematics tracking service. Under normal operation, the vehicle tank contents should show a smooth curve as it drops over distance travelled.
The fuelling points at the company’s locations use both underground tanks and self-contained over-ground tanks providing around 400,000 litres capacity for road diesel and red diesel for off road plant and machinery.
The group’s vehicle fleet comprises 165 HGVs, including tippers and concrete mixers for the transportation of quarry materials and 160 light commercials and support vehicles. Each of these is allocated a vehicle datatag which the driver uses to access fuel. A number of company cars are also accommodated as fleet vehicles.
Bob Adamson continues. “The majority of our work is based in the north and north east of Scotland. There are also some locations in the central belt region. Whilst we have arrangements for external fuelling, using key account services, most journeys are planned within the range of the nearest group depot fuelling point. Currently 92 percent of the fuel we purchase is dispensed through our own depot fuelling points.”
Fuelling points are located at all the main operating centres, including Aberdeen, Dufftown, Forres, Fort William, Skye, and Lugton in Ayrshire. Also, part of the network are subsidiary companies, Markon Ltd, Cumbernauld, A Ross & Sons of Midlairgs, Inverness, and Joss (Aberdeen) Ltd, all with Merridale systems.
“The most recent depot installation at Forres was set up by Leiths following the review of fuelling data. The site had been using a key card account previously and from our analysis, we knew that depot fuelling would be far more cost effective.”
Bob Adamson concludes by summarising the benefits of using the centralised fuel management system, saying. “Merridale supports our business processes by providing the information we need for recharging fuel usage internally. We know how much fuel has been used for a particular job. This information is extremely useful to our contracts team when bidding for new business.
“Our overall objective is to minimise our expenditure on fuel. By tracking our usage electronically, we have a clear understanding of the impact of our operations. By gathering this evidence, we can review transport policies and make the small adjustments that help us to achieve continuous improvement.
“And of course, as we manage our fuel usage we are also ensuring that we are working to protect the environment by minimising CO2 emissions.”