Imperial Tankers benefits from Freeway flexible fleet management software

UK tanker haulage specialist Imperial Tankers has automated its fleet maintenance operations with special software from Freeway Fleet Systems. A member of the bulk haulage Hargreaves Group, Imperial Tankers demonstrates the flexibility of Freeway to work in two completely different ways at its Scunthorpe and Doncaster workshops. Imperial reports that major benefits of the fleet management software include companywide information visibility, instant access to critical data and reports, and ease of use. All of this is achieved electronically and without paper.

Imperial’s Scunthorpe workshop went live with the software in August 2011. It uses Freeway as a real-time system while Doncasters uses the software for administration to produce documentation that is processed after completing work. The Scunthorpe team continually update the system as work is done, which streamlines the entire workflow from job booking to final invoicing. The software has completely revolutionised the way fleet maintenance information is produced, collected and managed having replaced the workshop’s previous spreadsheet approach.

“With Freeway we have eliminated duplication of information and workloads. We no longer need to transfer data from one place to another as we now have a single centralised database that we update regularly using our terminals. It saves a huge amount of time and not only are we able to quickly update the individual records for each vehicle we are able to speed up the invoicing process for the accounts department,” said Mike Newton Operations Manager Scunthorpe & Immingham, Imperial Tankers.

“Using the workshop software, the fitters can easily produce ‘pre-invoices’ that show the work done, parts used and labour costs. These go to accounts and then out to the customers for their agreement before we send out the final invoices. This is a great service for them and it means that our final invoicing is accurate. This has been a godsend with the amount of contract work we now handle – and it means we can also confidently expand the business now that we have an automated system that is freeing our people from time consuming administration.”

Malcolm Cross, Scunthorpe & Immingham Workshop Supervisor added: “What took days to do in terms of inputting and duplicating vehicle maintenance information can now be done live in the workshop. It means that our month end vehicle maintenance reports are complete within a very narrow time window – this has been a revelation as we struggled to get the reports ready manually. All of the workshop team like the system and would not be without it now they have got to grips with it. Everyone is able to use regardless of their own personal IT skills. It has completely transformed the way we work.”

“Reports are easily accessible, allowing the fitters to self-audit their work, which enables them to check that they have recorded the correct number of hours for each job and that all parts used are listed accurately. This gives a clear view of our activity and improves our accountability. The fitters use this regularly and voluntarily as it helps them to review everything they do on each vehicle. It is also helpful for investigating previous work done as they can see what they fitted and when without delving through paper records. They press a button and the information comes up on screen.”

Another important benefit of the software has been the centralising of all parts information. Imperial runs spares inventories using imprest stock and with the software the maintenance teams can see what is on the shelves, where it is and its cost. The system quickly highlights irregularities such as varying quality parts and whether one depot is being charged more than the other for parts.

“Freeway has brought stock uniformity to Imperial. Our stock levels now read like an open book as we can instantly see what we have and we can check prices, quality of the parts and the suppliers. It means we now pay one price across the business, which is obviously saving us money and ensuring we can implement a standard quality level for the maintenance parts for all of our workshops,” said Mike Newton.