HCT Group uses Freeway solution to manage assets

cpy Mark Bourdillonweb

HCT Group began life in 1982 as Hackney Community Transport (HCT), with a handful of volunteers providing low cost minibuses for local community groups. Ten years later, the company started competing for commercial contracts, and has since grown into a large scale social enterprise with over 900 employees, ten depots spread across London, Yorkshire, the Southwest and the Channel Islands, a fleet of 500 vehicles and a 2014/15 turnover of £45.4 million.

HCT Group is a Social Enterprise, using its commercial contracts to generate funds for community transport and training projects, which operate under the name of HCT Group or local community transport brands such as Bristol Community Transport. The commercial arm operates under the name of CT Plus CIC, with subsidiaries CT Plus (Yorkshire) CIC, CT Plus Guernsey and CT Plus Jersey.

With such a wide ranging operation, HCT needed a comprehensive system to manage its transport operations, from vehicle maintenance and costing to stock control and accounting. “We did have a system prior to implementing Freeway, but the decision to upgrade to Freeway was made in order to improve management information,” said Mike Swan, Materials Controller, HCT Group. “Freeway also came with credentials; people within the HCT Group had previously used Freeway at National Express, Connex Bus and Abellio UK.”

Intelligent software

HCT Group currently uses Freeway for scheduled maintenance, parts and labour costing, stock control and replenishment, purchasing, invoice matching and financial document management and storage. Freeway is fully integrated, so information is entered only once. For example, a spare parts request generates a purchase order, and when the item is received the inventory and the accounts package are automatically updated.

Freeway’s fleet maintenance programme enables the workshops to plan and schedule routine servicing, inspections and MOTs. The software provides full visibility of the company’s existing parts inventory and helps to control the cost of restocking.

The Freeway software keeps track of maintenance, repairs, parts used and running costs for all vehicles within the HCT Group, building up a detailed history for each vehicle and enabling management to identify any recurring problems or under-performance. Freeway also calculates fuel efficiency, producing a fuel cost analysis by vehicle, by route or by user-specified period. Such results indicate underperformance as well as providing a cost-based comparison between real and projected costs.

These results and vehicle histories are useful to management when making decisions about purchasing new vehicles.

The Group also has a number of projects currently in the pipeline, including integration of its fuel management system as well as an in depth inspection and defect data capture application.

Benefits

Freeway enables easy analysis of vehicle maintenance data, and the level of detail it provides helps managers to maintain a highly efficient fleet and provide their customers with excellent service.

“Freeway draws the user’s attention to key problem areas, such as a particular vehicle or category of vehicle,” explained Patrick Tandy, Managing Director, Freeway Fleet Systems. “The system then identifies areas of high cost, which could be anything from fuel or tyres to repairs and maintenance. Then, direct causes of inefficiency are pinpointed, for example, unusually high expenditure on brakes, allowing the user to take immediate and fully informed action.”

“The information Freeway provides allows for improved management of our vehicle assets throughout the Group,” said Swan. “Freeway correctly allocates costs, and we can track assets and their history.”

“What makes Freeway unique is its flexibility,” said Steve Perks, Group Head of Engineering, HCT Group. “Freeway listened to our business needs and adapted the product according so it meets our requirements.”

“Freeway’s versatility sets it apart from other fleet management solutions,” concluded Swan. “It is also refreshing to work with a software provider who listens to and understands our business needs and tailors development of their programme to meet those needs.”

Freeway At A Glance

    • User friendly
    • Quick implementation
    • Workshop control
    • Parts inventory management
    • Maintenance schedule management
    • Warranty tracking
    • Asset tracking and management
    • Cost management and analysis
    • Analyse profitability per vehicle, vehicle type, route, etc.
    • Flexibility to add new functionality