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Feature: All Systems Go!

In a bid to bring a number of systems under one umbrella and drive borough-wide efficiency, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council has invested in a new fleet management software system.

While the system only went live in May at Wakefield, transport services manager Pete Johnson first identified the fact that the council would need to change its existing fleet management system two years ago. He said: “We needed a more sophisticated set-up that would bring all our vehicle and workshop activities under one system, as well as enable end users to have online access.”

Wakefield opted for the FleetFocus M5 system from US-based Maximus, and it has been successfully implemented at Wakefield by the Leeds-based arm of the Maximus UK operation. Johnson and colleague Tom Shipp, project manager for vehicle fleet plant management systems, believe that the potential cost and operational efficiency savings in the future through the system will result in the payback of their investment within five years.

“We needed a set-up that could cover all transport- related matters as a total solution for our end users,” said Johnson. “In our case, the end user consists of three fleets: the district council’s fleet, Wakefield District Housing Fleet, which is independent, and the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation fleet. The previous Wakefield Council fleet management system could not provide all these requirements and only covered the maintenance aspect of the council’s fleet.”

Shipp added: “We were looking for the best of breed solution to encompass everything we do at transport services. We were also seeking something that was forward-thinking and which could integrate with existing systems and grow in tandem with the business. We wanted to be able to future-proof where we were going.”

The Wakefield fleet consists of around 800 vehicles, from small light vans up to 32-tonne rear-end collectors. The Yorkshire Purchasing fleet consists mainly of 17-tonne demountable vehicles and about 60 vehicles. The housing vehicle fleet consists of 260 vehicles that are up to 3.5 tonnes as well as some tippers. Wakefield operates an in-house waste disposal fleet of 42 refuse collection vehicles. In addition, transport services looks after all the grass cutting equipment and items for the highways engineers. If these are included, the internal fleet increases to 1,500 vehicles.

Wakefield also operates 200 vehicles that are externally hired in addition to its in-house fleet. This will also be integrated on to the Maximus system.

Johnson said: “We have been delighted by the response from our employees. They are very pleased with the set-up and cannot speak highly enough about it. We will soon have all our various systems under the one solution. That will be a major achievement and a quantum leap for the business.

“It will place Wakefield Council at the leading edge in fleet management and ahead of every other local council in the country in terms of fleet efficiency. We have striven to be the best in every area of our business, and the Maximus system has provided us with the tools to bring measurable cost and efficiency benefits in transport services.”

Martin Greaves, managing director of Maximus, said his team “hit the ground running” with the new Wakefield contract, which he sees as a first step into the local authority sector in the UK.

“We demonstrated the system to Wakefield Council in January, were informed of its

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