National distributor proves green and secure credentials for FORS certification with new TMS tracking solution


A national warehouse and express pallet distribution operator has invested in new tracking and driver behaviour technology from software specialist Mandata to reduce its environmental impact and improve security.

Cross Country Carriers, which employs 65 people and runs a 40-strong fleet of vehicles and 25 trailers, has been utilising transport management technology from Mandata for a number of years as its expanded its road haulage operations from its Bury St Edmunds head quarters.

Now, in a move to provide data to support its FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) accreditation - a voluntary scheme encompassing all aspects of safety, fuel efficiency, vehicle emissions and improved operations - the company is phasing in tracking and driver behaviour services to aid compliance and real-time reporting capabilities as it looks to reduce further its environmental footprint.

The investment comes as road haulage operators are seeing more intense scrutiny of vehicle and driver activity and their environmental impact. This includes a requirement to produce data and reports as evidence of business performance and the steps being taken towards meeting environmental and security obligations.

Ben Smith, general manager at Cross Country Carriers, said new investment in Mandata services will provide an enhanced capability, enabling him to produce the regular information and reports that he needs.

“Securing FORS accreditation is critical to our business, enabling us a fleet operator to measure and monitor vehicle and driver performance, altering our operations as and when required in line with industry best practice,” he added.

“Compliance and governance along with a pressing need to reduce our environmental impact, are critical drivers in the business. Making this investment now will improve access to information, enabling us to make the important on-going improvements.

“As well as providing peace-of-mind, it will enable us to meet our obligation to provide fleet emission reports as a FORS member. This will include evidential information about CO2 emissions data and fleet performance, illustrating how we are reducing vehicle environmental impact.”

It will also enable Ben and his team to identify any vehicles that are idling in a move that will be a welcome boon: “We will see improvements in fuel efficiency, contributing to a reduction in our environmental impact. We will also be able to see how long a vehicle has been stationary, or where it is at any time, enabling us to make quick, informed decisions that can positively effect operational performance.”

Road transport operators are continually searching for new ways to add value to customer service in a tough and competitive industry sector – and Cross Country Carriers is no different.

“We continually look to add value to our customers. Access to real-time data around fuel usage, economy and vehicle wear-and-tear thanks to tracking and driver behaviour technology, will enable us to reduce fuel and maintenance costs further, producing savings that we can then pass on to customers.”

The roll out of Low Emission Zones (LEZs), which are coming into force in cities across the UK including London this April and designed to curb the impact of polluting vehicles, also figures highly in Cross Country Carriers’ operational plans for 2019.

Ben Smith said: “The road transport and haulage industry is examining how to reduce the impact of vehicle emissions in our cities. We too are fully committed to minimising our own impact on the environment, including LEZs. There, Mandata technology enables us to set up geo-fences, so we can see when our fleet enters these zones.”

Cross Country Carriers has been a long-term user of Mandata’s transport management technology, which was specifically developed for the road transport and logistics sector. 

Bringing together operational information into a single PC or cloud-based system, which links to vehicle and driver smartphones out on the road, the technology simplifies the planning of work, tracks operations and monitors driver behaviour and vehicle performance levels, automating many critical processes. This removes time-consuming repetitive tasks, providing fleet visibility in real-time and alerting operators and drivers to any issues.

While vehicle security has long been paramount, transport operators such as Cross Country Carriers are increasingly aware of threats posed by terrorism. “Fuel theft and terrorism are real and present threats,” said Ben Smith, “As responsible operators we need to be aware of the issues and take the appropriate measures to ensure maximum security and safety.

“Adopting the latest tracking and driver behaviour technology will undoubtedly play an important part in helping us to achieve enhanced levels of security across our frontline vehicle operations. We will be able to better analyse key aspects of the business, using the technology’s features to drill down into everything, which has to be good for improved security.”

Ben Smith sees Mandata, who he believes have a deep understanding of his industry, as continuing to play an important role in his business on the road ahead in 2019 and beyond: “In our drive to achieve efficiencies, better control and an all-important cutting edge, I will continue to rely on Mandata.”

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