Adam Gaunt is always on the lookout for new technologies, ideas and ways of doing the same job better. As a Fleet Controller at Greencarrier Freight Services in UK, his job does not only involve overseeing all aspects of vehicle management, it also includes training, safety, finance and environmental issues. As regards the latter, Adam is convinced that Greencarrier has only just begun to brush the surface of what is achievable within the logistics and transport industry.
Hi Adam! You are a Fleet Controller. What does that involve?
My role has evolved greatly from when I first started here. Originally I was brought in to control our fleets’ operating costs such as fuel, maintenance of trucks and trailers along with equipment used such as forklifts, pallet trucks, workwear, floor cleaners, loading ramps and load security items, hence why I have the title Fleet Controller.
As of now, I still deal with all the items already stated, and a lot more. I am the registered CPC Transport Manager (Certificate of Professional Competence) for both our operating centres in the UK, which is an industry recognised qualification needed for the company to operate in the UK. This makes me responsible for all aspects of the operations undertaken by Greencarrier UK such as drivers’ hours and records, legal compliance and costing.
I am also responsible for health and safety within the company and have written company manuals for both drivers and warehouse staff outlining their roles, company procedures and rules. I am responsible for the company’s insurance cover and claims procedure through our operations along with staff training, to name a few.
It sure sounds like you have things to do! What qualities are great to have in your job?
You have to have a fundamental understanding of how things work within the business in order to apply yourself correctly to the tasks you are involved in, and being able to react quickly to issues. But also take the time to assess the best route forward in the future when planning key operation changes, such as vehicle and equipment replacement, is key to my role. You have to be a fan of figures and statistics, as a big part of your time is spent compiling and comparing figures and records, whether it may be from the vehicles, trailers, or staff.
What is your primary area of expertise?
Trucks, trailers and equipment are where my expertise is best – understanding what are the best axle and gearbox ratios, chassis heights, cab heights and design, GPS cruise control, axle loads and tyre configurations to use in our vehicles, in order to gain the best fuel performance and cargo loads, as well as maintaining the image of the company.
Talking of image, taking responsibility for the environment is part of Greencarrier’s way of working. Why is it so important?
For so many reasons! We are all aware of the effect the human race has had on the world we live in; polar ice caps melting, sea levels rising, the ozone layer depleting, to name a few. Greencarrier as a company has to be active in its operations and identify ways and means of reducing its effect on the environment, if for no other reason than our very own generations to come. Customers expect it, staff expect it, owners expect it, everyone expect it. Having the name Greencarrier means we have to be proactive in what we do.
What improvements have been made in recent years to maintain environmental protection?
We as a company have only just begun to brush the surface of what is achievable within our industry. We have now moved into the next era of vehicle emissions with Euro6. This latest emission regulation has now brought a 97 percent reduction in vehicle emissions since 1993, when Euro1 was first introduced by the EU. We already have three vehicles of that standing on fleet and by August 2016 the entire fleet will be of the Euro6 standard.
If you then take into account axle and gearbox ratios, running heights, rolling resistance and new technologies such as GPS cruise control, radar braking and lane assist, they all add up to improving the vehicles’ efficiency. This in turn, reduces fuel used and the footprint it has on the environment. Add into that lower running heights of trailers, GPS tracking on trailers and vehicles, driver assessments and performance reviews, minimum standards for sub-contractors to meet, alternative transport options for customers, emission calculators and so on, they all add up to quite a difference.
Can you see any specific trends in the logistics and transport industry right now?
In the UK the big issue is the growing shortage of HGV drivers. In September 2014 the driver certificate of professional competence was brought into action. As a result of this, we as an industry today, are estimated to be 40,000 drivers short of the total figure this time last year. This is becoming a growing concern for hauliers and industry groups within the UK, to which pressure is being put on the Government to help the industry, before it becomes a major issue.
How does this affect Greencarrier and your customers?
Road haulage makes up the vast majority of the transport solutions throughout the UK and Europe for every and any customer; from factories to supermarkets to the end user. If we do not have the drivers and staff to operate the equipment to put products on the shelf, where will this leave the population of the world? Let alone the haulage companies that are tasked to deliver it all.
As an industry we will get to the point of having to tempt the drivers remaining in the industry to work for our company. In order to do this we need to look hard at how we operate, and find ways to attract them to work for us. We realise that our environmental concerns and the work we do, help make us more attractive as an employer for our drivers. But we as a company also need to make ourselves attractive to the next generation in order to fulfil our customers’ needs, and supply the world with its products.
It sounds like a challenge that doesn’t happen overnight, I guess. What is the biggest challenge in your position as a Fleet Controller?
Controlling company costs is by far the biggest challenge. This is the one area where we have complete control and a lot of time is spent sourcing the right items at the right price and term. But this is only part of the battle. You have to get all staff members to buy into this important item and look at it as if it is their own money that is being used on a day-to-day basis. Because if your staff don’t look at it the same way as you do, you can never truly control the operation efficiently and effectively.
Greencarrier’s promise to the market is “Yes, it’s possible”. How do you comply with that?
By doing everything I just mentioned! Part of my role is to continuously look into new technologies, products and systems in order to make us more effective and efficient in our operations. This in turn, allows staff to fulfil the company promise by having the right equipment and tools at their disposal.
So, when you are not busy overseeing all aspects of vehicle management, what do you?
My spare time is taken up with my family. Having three children eats up most of that, as there are always games to play and places to go. When I get the time I like to play a bit of golf and always enjoy a good meal with my wife.
What is your greatest passion – in both business and life?
My family is my passion and everything I do is for them. I work hard to put myself in the best possible position in my working career, in order to give my children the best possible future and to enjoy my time off with them and my wife.
Any exciting news or happenings you would like to share with us?
Well, not sure how exciting it is, but in May this year I have been invited to join one of Greencarrier’s suppliers TIP Trailer Services in a charity cycle ride! This will start in Manchester, UK and end in Galway, Ireland. This is a total of 521 km in three days. All to raise money for the air ambulance service and cancer research – two very worthwhile charities – and something I am looking forward to, and not, at the same time!
It sounds like an important and challenging thing to do. I wish you the best of luck riding that bike, Adam!
If you enjoyed reading this blog article, please leave a comment in the field below. Do you have questions about Greencarrier and our services or want to know more about how we take responsibility for the environment, don’t hesitate to contact me!
/Johanna Judkins, Greencarrier
Photo: Krone UK