Company: Ashtead Plant Hire (A-Plant)
As one of the UK’s largest plant hire companies, A-Plant has clear goals to enhance the quality and efficiency of customer service and eliminate wastage whilst at the same time realising cost efficiencies. So when A-Plant approached Enigma more than five years ago to develop a purpose-built fleet management system based on Skyline, the company wanted a system that not only provided tracking and security of fleet vehicles and plant, but one that could be continuously developed to provide fleet information to help the company meet its own goals and those of its customers. The result was A-Trak, developed jointly by the two companies with security as the principal requirement but also to add value for the company and to the service offered to customers.
Ian Keam-George, Chief Executive of Enigma Vehicle Systems, said: “The UK plant hire industry is one of the major markets for Enigma and A-Plant is a major player in this market. A-Plant chose the Skyline product as the basis for the company’s A-Trak system owing to its combination of security and telematics capabilities – it is robust, powerful, compact and very cost-effective, yet offers great flexibility, allowing the user to choose from a clear menu of services.”
A-Trak is one of an expanding number of fully integrated on-line services that A-Plant customers can access through the Extranet at the company’s website. When the customer accesses the A-Trak system via the Extranet, they can obtain a wealth of information about the status of the equipment they have hired, to check that the equipment is operating as required, is being used properly and that it is at its intended location.
Using A-Trak through the A-Plant Extranet, the customer can generate an aerial photograph of the site where the equipment is located. Photographs like this are also being used to guide the police when they are attempting to recover stolen plant. The information on these photographs is so good that it has led to many recoveries of equipment, even when it is hidden. Together with the tracking abilities of the A-Trak system, A-Plant has succeeded in achieving a recovery rate of nearly 98% on stolen plant ensuring reduced costs for customers and the company alike.
Technology developments provided by Enigma through the Skyline system have allowed A-Plant to maximise the benefits offered by the A-Trak system. For example, using A-Trak, A-Plant fleet managers can request fleet reports that alert them to exceptional events such as unexplained journeys and movements outside a certain sector. The system has identified vehicles travelling an excess distance or time and reduced the number of overspeed incidents, allowing the company to take the appropriate action where vehicles have been driven at over the stated limits.
Asif Latief, A-Plant Marketing Director, commented: “Many of our customers are seeing the Health & Safety advantages – we spotted one of our compressors being towed at 100 mph recently and the customer was very grateful to have this information backed up by A-Trak. As well as ensuring the health and safety of our own staff, we are working with customers to implement triggers in A-Trak that alert to dangerous events of this nature so they can maintain their own health and safety regimes.”
The extended reporting options available through A-Trak allow A-Plant to customise the data retrieval and reporting offered by A-Trak to provide reports that suit their specific purposes. Fleet Summary reports can be generated to analyse utilisation across a fleet, recording idle vehicles, speed events, average journeys and so on. The reports coming from A-Trak are delivered weekly, by e-mail, without any intervention from the users. Using this data, one of a number of different types of information that can be provided by the A-Trak system, A-Plant can greatly reduce fleet costs and gain a better understanding of their operations.
The A-Trak reporting system provided data that A-Plant used to identify which vehicles in the fleet were being under-utilised, leading to savings of close to £1500 per week. The information also allowed A-Plant to focus on unauthorised and excessive out-of-hours use and this has resulted in further savings due to a reduction of about 4500 kilometres of unnecessary use of company vehicles every week. Linking A-Trak to the on-board weighing system provides alerts for overloading on vehicles above 7.5 tonne.
Asif Latief added: “We can also help customers to save money by showing that equipment they have hired is not being used and should be off-hired. It works the other way, of course, as it can provide us with the information we need to locate a machine needed by another customer – it’s a win-win situation. The historical usage data available through A-Trak can also be very useful in solving disputes. This technology is here to stay and we are committing to using it…developing it… and demonstrating significant added value to customers dealing with A-Plant”