Gregory Distribution has been working closely with Freeway Fleet Systems to streamline its engineering operations following Gregory’s acquisition of Scottish hauliers ARR Craib and Pollock (Scotrans). Through automating processes to improve efficiency and productivity, software from Freeway is underpinning a switch to digital working, eliminating laborious paperwork and data entry.
ARR Craib was already a user of Freeway’s workshop software making it relatively easy to import data for their 550 assets into a centralised Freeway asset repository. Pollock (Scotrans) had yet to implement specialist workshop software so instead Freeway provided pre-configured Excel import templates to fast-track the import and setup of their 400 assets.
“Freeway provided us with some very intuitive data import templates, which facilitated the integration of assets, customers, suppliers and workshop parts,” says Damian Cass, Gregory’s Technology Service Delivery Manager. “As a result, integrating the workshop operations of both companies was a straightforward process from a technical perspective and workshop technicians embraced the change as the solution clearly improved working practices.”
Gregory’s operations are now vast with over 4200 road going assets. Freeway provides real time, 24/7 information for centralised management including compliance, purchasing and business analytics. As well as managing the fleet, the system is also increasingly being used as a central repository for managing other mechanical assets (MHE) across the company.
“You can probably imagine the paperwork burden generated by over 60 workshop technicians with all their daily timesheets, job cards and inspection sheets. With direct data entry onto the tablets we’ve eliminated thousands of man hours. And now we suddenly have complete visibility and real-time of everything to do with managing the fleet,” Gemma Morris, Gregory’s Business Support Shared Services Manager comments.
Freeway is now used across 6 internal workshops and all workshop staff are equipped with rugged tablets as part of a paperless system that provides real-time visibility of fleet status, compliance and availability. The mobile devices replace paper inspection forms, time-sheets and job-cards and through their tablets the company’s 60 plus technicians also have immediate access to historic data for a vehicle such as previous defects fixed and parts used.
Gregory has been pioneering a new development with Freeway to enable a move from time-based to usage-based servicing. Kilometre ODO readings from Gregory’s Trutac tachograph system is being imported into Freeway. Part of an initiative called ‘dynamic oil changes’ Gregory can now adjust servicing schedules based on actual vehicle usage and better coordinated with other requirements such as defect rectifications, MOT’s and safety inspections. This will help to reduce unnecessary servicing costs and reduce vehicle downtime.
Freeway’s software is also used to manage stores, parts and purchasing. Parts and part bins are QR coded and the system enables easy stock takes, stock auto-replenishment, and parts requisition. Again, the tablets are proving especially useful allowing technicians on the job to directly issue parts and Gregory is excited about a new feature that allows staff to use their mobile device to directly scan and issue a part.