1st MPU Archives - Fleet Summit

1st MPU

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: The Clean Car Club, from Wilcomatic

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The Clean Car Club is an exciting new service for commercial car and van fleets, from the industry experts in automotive cleaning in the UK, Wilcomatic Wash Systems.

Through their easy to use mobile app, you can find, navigate to and use any of their 550+ UK-wide Automatic and Hand-held Jet Wash sites, for up to 50% less than retail prices.

With customisable wash programmes to suit your needs, alongside monthly centralised billing, you can see who is adhering to your corporate wash policy and who is not. The Clean Car Club is changing the way organisations keep their fleets clean.

For more information please visit: https://daboom.app/cleancarclub/.

To enquire about getting your own Fleet Access Code to unlock the nationwide discounts, please reach out to sales@wilcomatic.co.uk today.

If you specialise in Driver Training we want to hear from you!

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Each month on Fleet Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the fleet market – and in March we’ll be focussing on Fleet Driver Training solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help fleet buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Driver Training solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Nick Stannard on 01992 374092 / n.stannard@forumevents.co.uk.

Here’s our features list in full:

Mar 24 – Driver Training
Apr 24 – Risk Management
May 24 – Fleet Management Software
Jun 24 – Telematics/Tracking
Jul 24 – Contract Hire & Leasing
Aug 24 – LPG/Alternative Fuel & Fuel Management
Sept 24 – EV Charging & Infrastructure
Oct 24 – Duty of Care
Nov 24 – Grey Fleet
Dec 24 – Service, Maintenance & Repair
Jan 25 – Electric & Hybrid Vehicles
Feb 25 – Security & Dash Cams

Driving Success: How haulage businesses and fleets can utilise finance facilities in 2024

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The UK haulage and freight sector has faced a number of challenges over the past few years – inflation and fixed costs have rocketed, and the uncertain legacy of Brexit has made UK exports less lucrative to EU importers.

Now, as we move towards a more sustainable future, the impetus lies with UK fleet operators and haulage businesses to update their operating practices in line with our net zero goals. However, with the myriad challenges facing the sector, making the significant internal investment required can be a challenge.

Here, the asset finance experts at Anglo Scottish take a look at the 2024 landscape for the UK’s haulage businesses and consider some of the facilities available to increase agility, grow sustainably, and adapt in the face of change…

The outlook for UK haulage

A number of UK haulage firms have entered administration over the last six months – in September 2023, Lloyd Fraser, one of the UK’s largest milk haulage firms, was forced into administration. That same week, multiple members of the KNP Logistics Group suffered the same fate.

A variety of firms have also entered administration in the first month of 2024, with Harleston-based Bomfords Group and Suffolk’s Magnus Group amongst the companies forced into administration.

Road haulage has come under further threat in recent months with the Transport Secretary’s commitment to growing the UK’s rail freight industry by 75% by 2050. Part of this claim hinges on the removal of petrol HGVs from UK roads.

Combatting these issues

In spite of these cases, there are examples of UK logistics and haulage businesses using external funding facilities to improve their future outlook and spearhead further growth.

In recent months, family-run companies like the North West’s Fox Brothers and Northamptonshire’s Linkline Transporthave benefitted from the injection of third-party funding. This helps to spread the cost of further investment in the company and fast-track growth plans.

“In line with rising overheads, maintaining financial agility is utterly vital for today’s haulage businesses to survive and ultimately thrive,” comments Carl Johnson, UK Sales Director at Anglo Scottish Asset Finance. “Often, firms are unaware of the available options to help them become more competitive going forward, and which of these options are best suited to their circumstances.”

Utilising invoice finance

Businesses working in the haulage sector are often susceptible to cash flow issues, thanks to the common practice of invoicing. 87% of businesses complain that their invoices are paid after the due date, highlighting that over-reliance on invoice payments is becoming a serious issue for businesses.

Late invoice payments make it difficult for haulage or logistics businesses to maintain a healthy cash flow, which can hamstring the company in the event of unforeseen costs such as breakdowns or collisions.

Invoice financing allows your business to access up to 90% of the value of your unpaid invoices. This enables your business to become more agile and adaptable in the face of potential difficulties.

Accessing favourable terms

Opting for third-party funders over more traditional sources of finance, like banking institutions, could provide your fleet with the flexibility required to remain agile in the current market. A wider range of funding arrangements are likely to be available, with a greater range of options for firms in different financial circumstances.

Anglo Scottish notes how haulage businesses can combine different lending facilities, such as asset finance, with more traditional commercial loans to diversify risk. Longer lending terms or lower interest rates may also be available, depending on a business’ situation.

“Given that the UK’s economic outlook is still uncertain,” says Johnson, “it’s unsurprising that firms are reluctant to invest in their fleets. Flexible lending terms for asset finance agreements can help alleviate some of the pressure on these firms, with contract hire agreements increasingly used by haulage fleet bosses to reduce the risk to their fleets.”

Transitioning to electric

A report from the Green Finance Institute in November 2023, found that we must take “urgent action” to electrify 500,000 HGVs across the country in order to meet the UK’s net zero goals. With HGVs constituting 20% of the UK’s transport emissions, haulage firms have a key role to play in decarbonising the UK’s roads.

Dedicated green finance arrangements, in the form of green loans and green bonds, can be a valuable facility for fleets looking to become more sustainable going forward. Under these agreements, your company can access finance agreements that are specially tailored for

“There may be additional benefits for haulage companies operating within the UK and the EU,” notes Anglo Scottish’s Renewables Specialist Charlotte Enright. Under the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, EU countries must submit information on any carbon emissions created through the production and importation of certain goods.

“Making the switch to an electric fleet would limit the emissions attached to a given export, making it more lucrative for EU importers,” comments Johnson. “It’s not just green loans that UK haulage companies stand to benefit from. Using these facilities in combination is a great way to insulate your company against the challenges facing the haulage sector.”

Photo by Roger Bradshaw on Unsplash

Data data data – The key for logistics and transportation businesses to meet their sustainability goals in 2024

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By Serge Schamschula, Head of Ecosystem at Transporeon, A Trimble Company

It is fair to say that the EU has certainly been in full ‘green mode’ in recent years, with the aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. And, in its bid to meet this ambitious, long-term environmental and climate goal, they have published a raft of sustainability regulations and guidance.

An example of one of these regulations affecting the logistics and transportation sectors is the Greening Freight Package, launched in June 2023. This package contains a number of measures – including the CountEmissions EU chapter, which creates a common methodology for measuring door-to-door greenhouse gas emissions and, in turn, requires an enhanced focus on sustainability reporting. For shippers, carriers and logistics service providers alike, compliance requires three things – data, data and yet more data. Serge Schamschula, Head of Ecosystem at Transporeon (A Trimble Company) explores this further.

What does this mean for the logistics industry?

The EU is aiming to enhance supply chain transparency and equip all stakeholders with sustainability data to factor into their decision-making processes. When it comes to sustainability, being data-driven is crucial. For instance, large investments within hydrogen, autonomous vehicles and exhaust heat recovery are just three decarbonisation measures that we see touted as ‘innovative’ and ‘industry-leading’. But these have limited tangible impact on lowering emissions – at least in the short term.

When it comes to sustainability, it’s crucial to look below the surface. Headline-grabbing decarbonisation measures aren’t always the most effective. And the only way to sort the wheat from the chaff is through accurate, in-depth data and reporting.

Scope one, two and three emissions reporting

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (a global, standardised framework) stipulates that emissions fall into three categories – scope one, two and three.

Scope one emissions originate from a company’s owned assets, like the fossil fuels burned by their own fleet of trucks. Scope two includes indirect emissions from purchased energy generated offsite, like the electricity used to charge electric vehicles. Lastly, scope three includes all other indirect emissions from a company’s upstream and downstream value chain. It’s by far the largest source of emissions for most organisations – more than 70% of their entire footprint on average. For instance, the services of a carrier or logistics service provider would fall under their clients’ scope three emissions.

Until now, most EU companies have only reported on scope one and two – just a third measure their scope three emissions. But, due to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, this is changing in the 2024 financial year. Under the proposed value chain sustainability reporting, companies will also be required to report on scope three, as well as their reduction targets and progress for reports published in 2025.

What does this mean for shippers, carriers and logistics service providers?

As scope three reporting is due to become the norm, we’ll likely see end-user customers pressuring shippers to decarbonise. Why? Customers will want to reduce their own scope three emissions, while preserving their reputations among increasingly environmentally savvy consumers.

Similarly, the services of carriers and logistics service providers are often a considerable source of scope three emissions for shippers. Since they’ll also be under more pressure to account for and reduce their emissions, they too will prioritise sustainability by voting with their wallets. This could mean contracting carriers based on their sustainability practices, offering longer freight contracts to carriers with lower carbon emissions or even paying a premium for lower carbon transport.

All this demonstrates that implementing a robust decarbonisation plan and accurate process for reporting emissions isn’t just the ecologically sound path. It makes smart business sense.

Reducing emissions – two parallel paths

In Europe, the vast majority of freight is still transported by road. When it comes to road freight, there are several routes to decarbonisation. One route is to improve the efficiency of vehicles and another is to boost the efficiency of transport logistics operations.

Obviously, a combination of both is needed for successful long-term decarbonisation. But EV and hydrogen technologies are still relatively immature, and require substantial infrastructure investment. Meanwhile, digital solutions to drive efficiency can be implemented now at marginal cost and with hardly any upfront investment. So, it makes sense for shippers and carriers to first ensure their operations are as efficient as possible. This means reducing empty mileage, tackling unnecessary dwell times and optimising operations in the yard – that integral inflexion point between the road and the warehouse. And of course, shippers and carriers should look at how to combine multiple transport modes intelligently to minimise carbon emissions.

How can companies ensure they’re making the right decisions?

To ensure companies are making smart decisions on decarbonisation – and to level up its reporting capabilities – shippers, carriers and logistics service providers will need to rely on technology. Although, this seems to be a big leap for many businesses. Transporeon’s 2024 Transportation Pulse Report revealed that 60% of carriers and shippers named AI as their top concern shaping supply chain management in the next five years.

To ensure accuracy, companies will need to rely on sensor-based (mostly telematics) data – also known as primary data. In recent years, the industry precisely measured 20% of its emissions – scope one and two – using this kind of sensor data. But it falls short on calculating scope three – the remaining 80% – with the same level of precision. With the automation and data analytics capabilities of a smart transportation management platform, companies should be able to solve this problem.

Given the abundance of data points involved in sustainability reporting, companies can further enhance accuracy and minimise employee workload by automating workflows. Similarly, sophisticated data analytics capabilities enable companies to capture real-time insights and make informed decisions throughout the process of managing transportation logistics.

But the road to decarbonisation is a long one, and there’s only so far that companies can travel alone. Adopting a ‘network’ approach is key, as it enables connected information flow between otherwise disparate companies and ensures that emissions aren’t measured in isolation from other factors. It also enables shippers, carriers and logistics service providers to work together to reduce unnecessary driving time by streamlining processes like freight sourcing, transport execution, dock scheduling, and freight matching. As the saying goes, if you want to go far, go together.

Photo by Mads Eneqvist on Unsplash

Harnessing IoT technology for stolen vehicle recovery

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The battle between car thieves and those committed to preventing vehicle theft is an ongoing struggle. Every day in the UK, an average of 159 cars are stolen, and the culprits are often professional gangs of thieves. This figure represents a 20% increase from the previous year in 2022.

In this high-stakes game, the role of technology in tracking down and recovering stolen vehicles has become increasingly critical for police and investigation teams. While established tracking technologies such as GPS have been widely used to combat this, they are not without limitations, and can often be thwarted by savvy criminals.

Gareth Mitchell, UK Partner Manager, Heliot Europe, discusses the role of Sigfox’s sub-gigahertz (OG-Wan) radio technology in providing a discreet, robust, and effective solution for stolen vehicle recovery across Europe…

The Challenges of Modern Car Theft

The audacity of car thieves is not to be underestimated. They have a keen sense of which vehicles are parked in garages, where they are located, and when is the best time to strike. In a matter of minutes, a thief can pick a lock and short-circuit the ignition, making off with the stolen vehicle without leaving a trace. And with the recent adoption of proximity sensor keys among new car models, duplicate keys can be easily programmed using inexpensive software, and a car can be stolen in less than five minutes. Trucks, trailers, and construction site equipment, such as excavators and power generators, are also prime targets for these organised gangs, with this criminal activity costing the construction industry around £800 million annually.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 130,389 vehicles were stolen in 2022 alone, highlighting the scale of the problem in the UK. Once stolen, thieves often move the goods rapidly, and often across international borders, which makes timing critical when responding to this criminal activity. This is where investigation teams and police forces come into play, to locate and secure the stolen vehicles before they reach international borders, where they are often broken into parts to pass through border controls more easily.

The Evolution of Tracking Technology

Commonly known systems such as GPS tracking, LTE, WiFi, GSM-R, and passive tracking have been in use for some time among investigation teams and police to aid in the recovery of stolen vehicles. These systems offer various advantages but also have their limitations. A relatively new alternative, Sigfox’s Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, is gaining attention for its efficacy in stolen vehicle recovery.

Unlike GPS and WiFi signals that thieves are familiar with, Sigfox’s LPWAN radio signals remain undetectable and are less susceptible to interference. Professional car thieves have access to devices that can quickly detect and disable GPS, LTE, and WiFi signals using jammers. Such jamming equipment is readily available, and is relatively inexpensive. In contrast, OG-WAN based sub-gigahertz technology is more robust, transmitting signals reliably and conserving energy at the same time. This resilience stems from the unique properties of LPWAN technology, which allows the transmission of small data packets over vast distances with minimal interference securely.

Undetectable and Energy-Efficient

One crucial aspect of stolen vehicle recovery is the ability of tracking systems to remain undetected by thieves. These criminals often find and deactivate transmitters placed in conspicuous locations within vehicles, such as the glove compartment or fuse box. Traditional tracking technologies, including GPS, have a disadvantage in this application due to their comparatively high energy consumption. They require a power source for continuous operation and are usually limited to easily accessible installation points, which thieves are well aware of.

In contrast, OG-Wan radio technology is comparatively more compact, and its low-energy transmitters can operate for up to four years without maintenance, without needing an additional power source from the vehicle’s battery. This feature allows for installation in hidden and less accessible areas of the vehicle, such as cavities in the vehicle underbody or within the engine compartment, which the thieves are unable to detect, resulting in the faster recovery of the vehicle.

Wide-Spanning Network Coverage

The Sigfox network is available almost nationwide in many European countries, including the DACH region, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and the Baltic States. Sigfox is continuously expanding its network, even into Eastern European countries like Poland, Romania, and Hungary. One notable initiative includes the expansion of the Sigfox network along the Trans-European Rail Corridor. Sigfox’s recent acquisition of network operations in Denmark and the UK further enhances network expansion, making it an attractive choice for international stolen vehicle tracking for investigation teams across the continent.

The frequency range in which Sigfox operates, 868 MHz, enables signals to cover distances up to around 30 miles. This wide reach is particularly beneficial in rural areas where the standard mobile network’s expansion is often limited. Furthermore, the radio signals are capable of penetrating materials like concrete ceilings and steel, making them highly effective in challenging environments. This makes it possible to track a stolen car across international borders, even in the event that the thieves have taken precautions to disable any tracking devices in the car itself.

Multi-Layered Security

In the realm of stolen vehicle recovery, diversifying tracking technologies is key. It is recommended to rely on multiple technologies, since thieves adapt quickly and find ways to circumvent them. Sigfox’s radio technology and LPWAN stands out as a valuable addition to the arsenal of tracking systems. It excels precisely where thieves feel most secure, making it a particularly intriguing technology for the investigation and insurance industry.

Conclusion

The battle against car theft continues to evolve and is on the rise, with criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods. However, as technology progresses, investigators and the police are becoming better equipped to locate and recover stolen vehicles.

Sub-gigahertz radio technology offers a discreet and robust solution for tracking stolen vehicles, allowing investigation teams to operate effectively in this high-stakes game. With the Sigfox network’s extensive coverage and resilience, stolen vehicles can be located even in remote locations and across international borders. As car thieves adapt, the multi-layered security approach that incorporates Sigfox technology proves to be a vital tool in the fight against vehicle theft. With the right technology and tools, it is possible to retrieve stolen cars more effectively, providing car owners, leasing companies, and insurance firms with a better chance of recovering their prized possessions.

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash