Fuelling the big green parcel machine
Tuffnells Parcels Express is one of the UK’s longest serving national freight carriers with over 100 years experience in driving businesses forward.
As part of the £bn Connect Group, the company has built an enviable brand reputation for the provision of competitively priced services for customers throughout the UK and overseas. Their vehicles, branded ‘Big Green Parcel Machines’ are a familiar sight on British roads.
Tuffnells Parcels Express continues to update and expand its operational network and there are plans to open six new depots during the next two years.
“Fuelling the company’s road transport fleet is key to the company’s commitment to reliability,” explains Head of Management Services, David Emsen. He adds. “We want to ensure that the business has absolute control of this vital resource. This includes the provision of a safety buffer against any possible disruption of fuel supplies because of events beyond our influence.”
Within the national network, 40 Tuffnells depots are equipped with diesel fuelling facilities. Depot fuelling has been an integral part of the infrastructure for more than 25 years. The fuelling facilities are all based on above ground storage tanks, most of which have been supplied by Ledbury Welding & Engineering.
“This infrastructure is under continuous review to ensure that it meets the current operational requirements, not only locally, but also as part of the national network. Ledbury Welding have played an important part in several depot upgrades to increase fuel storage capacity. In some cases, priorities have changed. For example, fuel storage at Newark has been decommissioned to make better use of the yard space for trailer parking and vehicle movements.
Fuel management procedures have also been improved. Historically this function was localised and the depots were responsible for their own vehicles. Provision was made to allow visiting vehicles to fuel. David Emsen continues.
“We now have a common web-based platform serving the entire network. This means that the driver of any Tuffnells vehicle can draw fuel at any of the group’s depots. As well as tightening up fuel usage monitoring, this measure has eliminated the risk of unauthorised fuelling by taking out the need for a ‘visitors’ key.
“Fuel is now being procured on a group basis and the depots are charged on the usage of their vehicles irrespective of where they fuelled. Depots are required to monitor stock levels and inform the head office when to reorder. We are achieving further economies by installing larger tanks at the busier depots. This additional capacity enables us to obtain best possible bulk prices for complete tanker deliveries instead of partial loads.”
For example, Ledbury Welding supplied us an increase in fuel storage capacity at Tuffnells’ Haydock hub depot from 23,000 litres to 80,000 litres. The rationale being that this will allow for increasing requirements because of visiting vehicles. The Ledbury tank also has multi compartments supplying both AdBlue and lubricating oil for the Haydock fleet. Since these upgrades are replacing existing above ground installations, Tuffnells has saved on decommissioning costs by selling used tanks for refurbishment and resale in the aftermarket.
Another upgrade at Leighton Buzzard, involved the replacement of a tank, which was previously located alongside the perimeter fence. Ledbury installed a larger capacity, multi compartment storage tank within an existing building. The new tank provides 40K litres storage capacity for diesel, 2,500 litres AdBlue and 1,000 litres for engine lubrication oil.
This project was a complete turnkey solution which included a relocated fuelling island, class 1 interceptor and underground pipework connections to a tanker delivery point located alongside the service pump dispensers. A similar Ledbury solution and tank installation is going in to the Tuffnells depot at Ipswich.
“Various factors are considered before making the decision to upgrade or install depot fuelling. Clearly we must make a solid business case in terms of a return on investment,” says David Emsen.
“The rationale for bulk purchasing, versus third party fuel card accounts, is more to do with ensuring we always have a reserve or contingency stock. Apart from the convenience and making the best use of drivers working time.
“There will be a cost and time involved should drivers have make a special journey just to obtain fuel. So providing convenient facilities is part of our responsibility as employers. Fuel cards can also cause us problems because of the potential for abuse and the risk of misfuelling at petrol stations.
“Depot fuelling gives us absolute control. The fuel management system we use enables us to account for every litre. Working with Ledbury Welding over many years now, we have made sure all our new fuel installations are technologically up to date, operationally sound and fully environmentally compliant.
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