Blog > October 2016

One of the big challenges facing operators is planning annual tests when the fleet is close to 100 per cent utilisation. Christmas is just such a time. Indeed, if you operate a large fleet, you will be very familiar with the need to schedule these in at this time of year in such a way as to cause the minimum disruption to deliveries.

As we hit the seasonal peak, it becomes more and more challenging to take vehicles off the road and into the workshop for pre-MOT preparation, not to mention the annual test itself. For food and drink distribution and, it’s fair to say retailers generally, this peak is generated by pre-Christmas deliveries and with every asset being ‘sweated’ to the max.

This seasonally induced pressure on capacity means that achieving the maximum possible first-time pass rate has never been more important for hard-pressed logistics companies at this time of year.

Fortunately, Volvo has a fantastic suite of uptime solutions to help operators who are working flat out to maintain the highest levels of customer service they deliver year round. In addition to the top level customer experience offered by the Volvo ‘Gold’ Repair and Maintenance contract, our ‘connected’ trucks can help ensure that uptime isn’t compromised by unscheduled downtime. What’s more, our user-friendly Volvo Service Point Online software manages service schedules, MOT prep appointments and daily defect reporting. Crucially, many operators juggling vehicle availability for time critical schedules in the run up to Christmas have found these solutions from the Volvo dealer network to be of major assistance in keeping their fleet moving and earning its keep.

The good news is that, thanks to a great deal of hard work and investment by our dealers, Volvo has a fantastic MOT first-time pass rate of 96.9 per cent. In addition to state-of-the-art workshops and the top technicians in the business, many of our dealers also have their own ATF lane. That means there is usually less distance to travel for the annual test, especially if the vehicle or trailer is maintained by the Volvo dealer. I like to think of the brilliant solutions from our dealers which I have focused on in this blog as a great example of ‘joined up’ thinking, where our customers are always the winners – whatever the time of year.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association).

Posted: 28/10/2016 14:39:42 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

If you take both FTA tachograph analysis and PCN administration services, and either the driver card or the vehicle unit data has been uploaded that covers the date and time that the PCN occurred, then the driver name will automatically be displayed on the PCN and will be reflected by displaying an icon on the both the vehicle and driver calendar, as well as showing the driver name on the PCN detail.
The name can be edited provided you have the “Add driver” permissions. If you do not have this and need it please contact

Assigning a driver manually
If the driver or card data has not been uploaded to cover the date and time of the contravention, or you do not take FTA tachograph analysis on this account you will still be able to add a driver manually to the PCN, provided the driver exists on this account. Click the + button and select a driver from the list or search for a driver using the search tool and typing in the drivers surname.
Adding a new driver
If the person responsible for the PCN does not appear in your search then you may need to add their details. You must first make sure that you have Add driver permissions. If you do not contact
Go to Manage my drivers and select “Add driver”
Then simply add the drivers’ details to the modal
Select save. Go back to the PCN overview in the Mange my fleet pages and select the PCN detail. The drivers’ details will now be available.

Posted: 24/10/2016 16:09:16 by Global Administrator | with 1 comments

Monthly engineering blog sponsored by Texaco

EU commercial vehicle legislation will be the focus at the forthcoming FTA Fleet Engineer Conference later in October, with Volvo Trucks as headline sponsor.

Providing delegates with a unique opportunity to hear about the very latest developments in commercial vehicle technology, the conference will look at forthcoming maintenance legislation changes and best practice advice. Attendance is recommended for those with responsibility for specifying commercial vehicles, ensuring roadworthiness compliance and maintaining vehicles.

The conference will be chaired by Andy Mair, FTA’s Head of Engineering. “This event offers practical help to enable engineers to better manage their fleet for the next year and beyond,” he said. “A packed programme includes technical issues currently affecting fleet engineers, as well as future legislative changes, to ensure vehicle fleets and maintenance procedures operate to their highest potential in a safe, efficient and sustainable way.”

Attendees will also get the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Sarah Bell, Traffic Commissioner for the west of England, who will be talking about the importance of maintenance provision and meeting compliance standards.

FTA Fleet Engineer is sponsored by Texaco, Brigade Electronics, Goodyear, Isuzu Trucks and Reflex & Allen and supported by IRTE. The conference takes place on Thursday 27 October at The Park Royal Hotel, Warrington.

The cost for FTA members is £325 + VAT for the first delegate and £275 + VAT for subsequent delegates.

For my information and to book your place visit Fleet Engineer Conference 2016
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)


Posted: 24/10/2016 14:44:45 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

B is for Borders

Getting your head around all the issues for logistics thrown up by Brexit is a big job. So FTA is helping by grouping its ten biggest concerns in an alphabetical listing, A through to Z and explaining each one in a monthly blog. Our second blog focuses on the most politically contentious issue of them all, the nation’s borders.

“Take back control of our borders” was the mantra of the Leave campaign during the Referendum. And in the immediate aftermath of the vote to quit the EU French politicians are queuing up to help the UK do just that! Literally, relocate the British border controls that had been ‘juxtaposed’ into Northern France since 2003 back onto UK soil. But to do so would reduce cross-channel traffic to a trickle and jeopardise vital UK supply chains reliant on frequent reliable services across the Channel. So whilst having no view on the merits or otherwise of immigration, FTA is mightily concerned on members’ behalf about the prospects of repatriation of the UK’s border controls.

The trouble with bringing back the border onto UK territory is that checks on vehicles for illegal immigrants would be carried out after the ferry or Shuttle train arrives in the UK. Detected stowaways concealed in trailers would be removed and become the problem of the UK government, rather than the French government as they are now. And getting the opportunity to claim asylum in the UK is the goal of most of those encamped around Calais and other French ports. So taking back our borders in this way would make the problem of illegal stowaways on trucks far worse rather than solve it.

But it gets worse. There is nowhere to put any new border controls in the congested and confined terminals at the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone and the road layouts have all been built without the need for further checks once ferries and trains have arrived. Even if space could be found, introducing immigration and customs controls would reduce the throughput of the terminals and slash the frequency of crossings – there would be no point leaving France if the vehicles couldn’t get off in England because the queue for passport control had backed up onto the quayside or arrival platform!

As a result, the service frequency would collapse from the 40- 50 or so ferry and Shuttle crossings a day currently available to whatever could be accommodated through a limited number of immigration booths and vehicle screening bays. Long queues would build up in France, presenting migrants with lines of stationery lorries vulnerable to attempts at breaking in and stowing away to Britain. Just look at how quickly the queues of cars and trucks built up in Kent earlier this Summer when French passport inspections were stepped up at Dover but not enough inspectors were rostered to cope.

Hopefully, this depressing scenario can be avoided. The French President has promised to retain the current border arrangements and is also committed to rehousing the migrants away from the makeshift Jungle camp at Calais and begin processing them through the French asylum system. He aims to do this by February, which if achieved will mean the principal source of threats to international truck drivers passing through Calais has finally been removed before the Presidential elections take place in March. This could be enough to make the repatriation of the border controls a politically pointless exercise for whoever wins.

This is how it should be. FTA has consistently put responsibility for sorting out the humanitarian crisis and the near-collapse in public order that is Calais squarely at the door of the French government. It is simply unacceptable that truck drivers going about their lawful business are subject to violence, threats, attempted hijackings and intimidation. The UK’s borders are likely to become even more difficult to cross after Brexit and FTA will be ensuring the safety and protection of drivers and vehicles and supply chains are high priority issues in any negotiations. But it is demeaning and disrespectful to the hundreds of truck drivers who, in the meantime, put up every day with the frustrations (and much worse) of those denied entry, to suggest that the UK does not already have a high degree of control of its borders.

Next on FTA's A-Z of Brexit: C is for Customs

You can find out more about what Brexit means for logistics via FTA's dedicated Brexit centre where you can find the latest news on Brexit and logistics, see what FTA is doing and join our regular webinars and events around the potential effects on your business.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 19/10/2016 15:05:11 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Sometimes in life you meet somebody with such a positive attitude in circumstances that would make most people crumble into a world of self-pity.

Elaine Corner is one of those positive people, and whilst I'm sure most readers will never have heard of her - she is one of the singularly most impressive people I've ever met.

Elaine was introduced to FTA when we were planning the content for our recent Van Excellence Operational Briefings, and she agreed to speak to our audiences about the day that changed her life.

By way of background, Elaine served in the military for many years. She has, as you'd expect, a very confident and forthright personality with a zest for life. She strode on to our stage and in a very matter of fact way told our audience about her love of riding her motorbike.

One morning she was out on her bike near her home in Wiltshire, when a van from a very well-known commercial fleet, pulled out on the road straight in front of her. The driver hadn't seen Elaine - he was on the phone - in breach of his company's policy.

The accident literally changed Elaine's life in a split second, all because that driver thought that taking a phone call was more important than paying full attention to the road. That decision cost him £600 and 6 points on his licence. It cost Elaine her leg and her career.

It's worth noting that no legal action was taken against the company even though they had previously reprimanded the driver for using his mobile. This probably wouldn’t be the case now with the Health & Safety Executive making the intention very clear that it will be looking more closely at work related road incidents and, with the recent changes to the sentencing guidelines for Health and Safety prosecutions, the penalties are potentially severe.

If this incident had been prosecuted under the new guidelines there is every chance that the driver, culpable managers and directors would have been looking at custodial sentences and the company looking at a considerable fine.

If you and importantly your directors aren't aware of these guidelines then you should be!

Elaine now works tirelessly to promote road safety, and speaks passionately and openly about the potential consequences of drivers not paying full attention to what they're doing behind the wheel.

So - next time you decide to just take that call - think again - you could change someone's life forever.

Take a look at Elaine speaking at FTA’s Safety in Logistics conference:

(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 18/10/2016 14:52:52 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments