Gregory Distribution has been working closely with Freeway Fleet Systems to help integrate its acquisitions of ARR Craib and Pollock (Scotrans) by digitally streamlining its engineering operations.

The company, which purchased Pollock (Scotrans) in February last year and AA Craib in 2018, has commissioned software from Freeway to underpin a switch to digital working, with the aim of eliminating laborious paperwork and data entry. The acquisitions saw Gregory’s operations boosted to over 4,200 road-going assets.

ARR Craib was already a user of Freeway’s workshop software when it was purchased by Gregory Distribution, which allowed a seamless import of data for its 550 assets into a centralised Freeway asset repository.

However, as Pollock (Scotrans) had yet to implement specialist workshop software when it was acquired, Freeway provided pre-configured Excel import templates to fast-track the import and setup of their 400 assets.

Under the deal 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.

Gemma Morris, Gregory’s business support shared services manager said: “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.”

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Freeway is now used across six 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 also 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.

As part of an initiative called ‘dynamic oil changes’ Gregory can now adjust servicing schedules based on actual vehicle usage and better coordinate with other requirements such as defect rectifications, MOTs and safety inspections, helping to reduce unnecessary servicing costs and reduce vehicle downtime.

Freeway’s software is also being 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. Technicians on the job can use their tablets to directly issue parts and Gregory staff can use their mobile device to directly scan and issue a part.

Damian Cass, Gregory’s technology service delivery manager said: “Freeway provided us with some very intuitive data import templates, which facilitated the integration of assets, customers, suppliers and workshop parts.

“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.”