National Health Service Blood and Transplant

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With a fleet of approximately 500 vehicles, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) – more commonly known as the National Blood Service – knows all about the importance of ‘on-time’ and ‘high-value’ deliveries.

The cargo of a single 7.5 tonne reefer carrying blood products is valued at £150,000, whilst, the cost of a ‘bloodmobile’ failing to arrive on-time for a team of nurses waiting with a queue of donors is impossible to calculate.

Supporting NHSBT in the day-to-day running of the fleet is a comprehensive national fleet management contract, which has been running with Fraikin since April 2002. When the contract began, it marked a step-change in the control of NHSBT’s fleet, moving from a series of locally managed regional operations to national fleet under the control of freshly appointed National Fleet Manager, Larry Bannon.

Top of Bannon’s agenda when he arrived was to partner with a supplier who could bring the fleet under a centrally managed system, supported by modern processes aimed at improving all areas of the fleet’s performance.

“As a healthcare service provider and an emergency service, we demand the highest levels of fleet availability and reliability – above and beyond what might be required by a traditional haulier,” says Bannon. “Together with Fraikin we had to move away from the traditional view of a truck. For us it’s not about a vehicle which assists us with our job, it’s an essential part of our service, and that required a change in mindset for us all.”

Bespoke design

Working with NHSBT, Fraikin developed a tailored fleet management programme to ensure that every vehicle in the fleet was kept up to date in terms of servicing, licensing and documentation, and that all maintenance work was planned with optimum availability and utilisation in mind in order to improve reliability and minimise costs. A new priority-based system was also introduced to deal with breakdowns, ensuring the swiftest possible action be taken for vehicles classed as critical in the delivery of NHSBT’s day-to-day activities.

Such attention to detail meant NHSBT was constantly aware of the precise status of its fleet, and with the benefit of historical trend data, operations and workloads could be more accurately and efficiently planned, with performance continually measured against eight stringent key performance indicators.

The tailored fleet management solution includes:

• Scheduling of all vehicles for servicing, maintenance and inspections
• Proactive chasing to ensure vehicles are available on-time
• ‘Real-time’ work-in-progress reporting
• Defect management
• Breakdown management
• Cost control
• Technical advice
• Vehicle record management
• MOTs
• Windscreen and tyre management
• Supply of rental and substitute vehicles
• Warranty management
• Advice on fleet innovation and recommendation of new industry technology

To support the contract with NHSBT, Fraikin assigned a dedicated Contract Manager, who has hourly contact with Bannon and his own team.

“We have virtually hourly contact with our Contract Manager – it’s like having an embedded employee from Fraikin as he knows our operation inside out,” Bannon explains. “This means we can operate a much smaller transport department as we have access to greater resources through Fraikin.”

Key fleet achievements (since contract began)

• Annual breakdowns reduced by 139 per cent
• Maintenance slippage improved by 118.6 per cent
• First time fix rate of 99.84 per cent
• Fleet availability running at an all-time high of 98.31 per cent
• MOT pass rate of 97.18 per cent (compared to an industry average of 79 per cent in 2008*)