WAST currently have four in-house workshops and a fleet of around 830 vehicles made up of both emergency and non-emergency response vehicles. Typically, the frontline ambulances are Mercedes Sprinters, whilst the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service is made up of Renault Masters.
We interviewed Andrew Jones, Regional Fleet Manager in North Wales, to find out how FleetWave has enabled the Welsh Ambulance Service to make a year-on-year saving on procurement and administration, streamline their fleet management processes and reduce their environmental impact.
We are the national ambulance service for the people of Wales and without the fleet, we don’t have a service. The Fleet team literally do provide that, we keep the wheels of the organisation in motion.
Regional Fleet Manager
The current world we are in is creating challenges for fleet managers. There are parts and vehicle supply shortages, leading to issues with replacement programs. Andrew states: “The market is being driven up, the cost of fuel is the obvious one, but everything else based on the price of oil has gone up. So, everything’s gone up, The semi-conductor shortage also led to a backlog of parts which required a planned approach to ensure we had the parts ready for when they were needed.”
However, FleetWave can help you save time, save money, stay compliant and keep your fleet moving. Andrew states: “It allows us to plan which is fundamental for a fleet manager. It provides me with simple visual tools, we use key performance indicators (KPIs) which are all displayed with simple visuals in the dashboard and all our compliances are there. It’s a great tool.”
Increased Workshop efficiency
The Welsh Ambulance Service has made changes to its servicing regime after FleetWave identified unexpected mileage reports due to the increased number of hours vehicles were idling whilst waiting to handover patients at hospitals.
WAST undertook an investigation into its running hours in addition to mileage for its planned preventative maintenance programme (PPM). After using FleetWave and telemetry data, WAST identified that a change to the PPM was required using a factor of every hour the vehicle is running and miles driven combined. Andrew states: ”So, now our frontline ambulances get an oil change every six weeks and that information all came from vehicle maintenance history data in FleetWave and our telemetry provider.”
Mitigating the Pandemic
When the pandemic hit it was business as usual for the Fleet Team at WAST, who were labelled as one of the main pillars of response, due to their vital services. Over the last two years, WAST managed to maintain 100% of its Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) plan, as per schedule without needing to implement any contingency planning. Andrew states: ”We didn’t need to implement any of our contingency plans or change our way of managing at all from a fleet perspective, which means that we haven’t got to try and play catch up now we are coming out of the pandemic. Chevin helped enable this as FleetWave allowed us to forecast what was coming so we could forecast and plan with the data we had.”
Before FleetWave, regardless of whether a job was completed by a contractor or in-house workshop, a physical job card was raised and sent to the fleet office. However, the reporting was flawed as it was free typed, so reports ended up missing information as the language wasn’t in the computer. To solve this, WAST built its own set of codes using FleetWave.
Andrew states: ”Now, if a technician wants to install brake pads, they can use a a tablet and select ‘brake pads’ as a labour function, which has a code attached. Likewise, if a vehicle goes into the Mercedes dealer, they can’t use their language, they have to pick from our coding on our system, which creates an accurate report. That was a massive improvement for us, as it allows for accurate reporting and projections for planning.”
Previously, paper invoices used to arrive in the fleet office for parts or repairs, and the administration team would have to manually assign them to a cost centre and then post them off to the accounts payable team.
We’ve built our FleetWave system to do all the cost centre coding on job cards. We can now run in excess of 100 invoices every day, at the click of a button.
Regional Fleet Manager
WAST will also be using our FleetWave integrations to monitor route mileages. Currently they are relying on their Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) and job cards, which are all human interfaces. By using Can Data from the telematics from the vehicle every 12 hours, they will receive accurate vehicle mileage every day as an API that will automatically feed into FleetWave, and take away any human error.
Greener Fleet Management
FleetWave enabled WAST’s fleet team to become more sustainable and 99% paper free. Due to the supply chain challenges experienced in the last 12-18 months, WAST needed to optimise the motor vehicle replacement parts that were available to them, and reduce as many unnecessary parts delivery journeys as practicable. The parts and stores function of FleetWave provides visibility over all of their stock nationally, allowing them to make internal parts transfers. Andrew states: ”In the past, we would have been blind to what was on the shelves pan-Wales. We could have had an abundance of a particular part in one location, whilst another location desperately need that part to make a vehicle roadworthy, whereas now we have visuals all over Wales and can get vehicles turned around quickly and more efficiently”
Andrew states: “Having used and developed FleetWave over the past six years, we are confident that we can develop it further to assist in managing an emerging electric pool car scheme that will be rolling out pan-Wales in the near future. FleetWave will provide the planning and booking function We’d have the vehicle, maintenance, and insurance data accessible on Fleetwave enabling the drivers to be assigned in and out.”
Transitioning to Electric Vehicles
Fleet managers are facing various challenges with the industry transitioning to electric vehicles. FleetWave is helping WAST prepare for this by providing key metrics. Andrew said: ‘‘We’re using the data in FleetWave to set trends because we get the daily, weekly and monthly mileages. We’re going to be using that as part of our business case projection for what size vehicles we will need.” For the Welsh Ambulance Service, one of its biggest challenges is charger localities and knowing where they are going to need the infrastructure in Wales. “The local bus or transport company will know they are going from A to Z via C, D and F, but the difference for us is that we don’t know when or where our next jobs are coming in.”
Some areas in Wales are very rural, with some stations being an hour and a half to a hospital. Andrew states: ”The distance from many parts of rural Wales to an Emergency Department can be significant. We need to ensure that there is good charging infrastructure available to charge our vehicles when we need it before we can operate a full EV fleet.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service has the Welsh Clean Air Plan 2028 as its target. They have just invested in 23 plug-in hybrid cars, the Trust is believed to be one of the first emergency services in the UK to do this and their next step will be transitioning to the full EV car. Andrew states: “We know we’re going to have difficulties going to full EV and achieving the dates set, but we are making small steps. We are already using FleetWave for mileage trends, usage reports, and maintenance requirements. This data is the basis for our business cases going forward, to allow us to demonstrate the need for additional capital money.”