MT editor Steve Hobson, John Kerrigan, CEO of Fowler Welch, and David Breeze, commercial and international director of sponsor Palletforce

Action was needed to address an increase in collision rates at Fowler Welch and improve the fleet’s fuel consumption. In response, the company turned its focus towards its people, its fleet and its technology.

This led to an investment in both the size and scope of its driver development team; its replacement programme and procurement strategy; and an upgrade of its telematics.

It chose to concentrate on three aspects of its business: environmental social responsibility; staying safe on the roads; and demonstrating good driver behaviour, as well as legal compliance.

Individual, targeted training replaced a one-size-fits-all system and encompassed in-house Driver CPC courses, user-specific post-collision training, targeted remedial training, one-to-one practical training, plus safety campaigns and roadshows.

This wasn’t just aimed at Fowler Welch’s driving staff either – agency drivers as well as non-driving employees also completed training.

In the month following the campaign it saw a 28% reduction in collisions year-on-year, reducing its annual costs by more than £416,000.

Fowler Welch introduced state-of-the-art technology to monitor and report on individual driver styles and from this designed a training programme that got the best out of its equipment and its drivers.

Introducing a Driver of the Year award helped get drivers on board and it became a “hotly contested battle”.

Its driver incentive scheme focused on individual performance, making payments for achieving measured KPIs. Drivers classed as “exemplary” receive additional payments and recognition; a benchmark that 118 Fowler Welch drivers reached, compared to just eight when the scheme began.

The result? Fuel consumption rose to 9.8mpg from 9.43mpg, and CO2 emissions were reduced by 10,000 tonnes.

Our judges particularly commended Fowler Welch’s comprehensive training programme, which spanned mobile phone distractions, bridge strikes and driver fatigue.

"I’m delighted to collect the award on behalf of the whole business. It was a big team event for our fleet, driver development and risk management teams and gave a real step change to the business in terms of training our drivers. It was also a real boost for the drivers who were delighted to engage with us on the procurement side."

John Kerrigan