Elddis adopts Freeway’s mobile tablet technology

Elddis adopts Freeway’s mobile tablet technology

As part of a programme to digitise its workshop, Consett-operator Elddis Transport recently adopted mobile tablet technology from Freeway. CVW reports.

Elddis Transport is a well-established family firm specialising in the storage, supply and delivery of consumer goods for supermarkets and retail outlets. The name Elddis is in fact ‘Siddle’ spelt backwards, a nod to Mr Siddle C Cook, who found the company in 1971. As well as the County Durham HQ, the company has additional depots in Heywood and Doncaster.

The Consett-based company operates a fleet of 150 vehicles and 360 trailers. The firm has a long-standing relationship with Mercedes, with its technicians on site to maintain the trucks. Despite this arrangement, Elddis still has a very busy workshop dealing with the large trailer fleet, older vehicles and other assets.

As well as receiving 700 driver first-check reports each day, the workshop deals with around 60 weekly preventative maintenance inspections (PMI) and four or five MOT preparations. With the workload increasing, Elddis has been an advocate of technology to increase automation and a central workshop system, supplied by Freeway, was first implemented in 2015.

Workshop digitisation

Now Elddis has been busy rolling out new mobile working technology as part of a programme to fully digitise the workshop using software. The workshop fitters are being equipped with rugged tablets to replace paperwork. These devices synchronise in real time with the central system to provide a real-time view of workshop activity.

Another key aspect of the systems’ recent evolution is the incorporation of daily vehicle inspection data, received from mobile devices used by drivers. This, coupled with digital data from the workshop, gives visibility of the status of the fleet to anyone that needs it, from workshop managers and schedulers in operations, to purchasing managers and directors.


This visibility is particularly useful to transport operations and is the result of integration between Freeway and the Mandata transport management system (TMS). It gives operations around-the-clock visibility of the status of the fleet to minimise disruption and ensure smooth running of the fleet. The ‘information loop’ is closed thanks to integration with mobile data devices used by drivers for their firstuse- checks. Data received gives the workshop immediate information on any new defects, which are matched to the asset record which holds maintenance records including details of previously reported defects and the maintenance history.

“With the digitalisation of the workshop we are closing the information loop giving us 24/7 visibility on the status of the fleet,” says Alan Henderson, fleet engineer, Elddis Transport. “Freeway is proving invaluable as it links engineers with transport planners. This means we can reduce vehicle downtime and ensure the fleet is always operating at maximum efficiency and safety.

“For management, the system allows us to see the pressure points of resources so we can smooth things out. It’s a tremendous resource that allows us to better manage and optimise the use of all resources; assets and labour,” Henderson adds.

Labour is another area Elddis is concerned about; something that has come into focus in recent months with a shortage of skills nationally. Optimising the use of existing labour is therefore crucial and software is playing an increasing role here.


“With all the integration work we suddenly have much better intelligence and can manage our resources much more effectively. For example, there are always peaks and troughs in workshop activity relating to the highs and lows of fleet activity.

The system highlights these pressure points and allows us to dynamically reallocate labour based on availability and skills.” The system also gives us insight into the performance of individual by type of job – for example the time taken to do a particular task – so we can pick the most appropriate staff and address any additional training needs.”

Freeway stores parts data and builds records of use and performance over time. Through the mobile app Freeway, fitters have instant access to historical maintenance information so they can immediately spot recurring defects.

“Our ethos is to fix once. We particularly like the fact that we can use Freeway’s analytics functionality to drill down to access the performance and value-for- money of every asset – right down from an entire vehicle to an individual bolt,” says Henderson.

For parts purchasing Elddis uses a service from North East Trucks Spares (NETS) to manage imprest stock. It’s another area of integration, with Freeway’s software automatically sending data when parts are issued from the workshop stores. This allows stock to be automatically replenished, minimising out of stock occurrences and therefore job delays.


Elddis is also planning to integrate Freeway with its local Mercedes dealership to import details of work done and parts fitted. This will ensure Elddis has a complete vehicle history held within Freeway, but without the need for manual data capture.

Elddis isn’t stopping there. The company has just started installing TrailerMaster, a system from Axscend that combines tracking with brake and tyre monitoring. For the workshop, this system is another useful source of data to provide an even more complete picture of the condition and performance of an asset.

TrailerMaster’s tyre pressure monitoring system monitors tyre pressures and alerts users in real time, even when the trailer is uncoupled. This reduces the risk of unplanned downtime, late deliveries and blow-outs on the road. The system’s electronic brake performance monitoring component is interestingly now accepted by DVSA as evidence of braking assessment at each safety inspection. TrailerMaster also provides remote access to diagnostic trouble codes so Elddis can be aware of faults being displayed on the vehicle dashboard.

For more about Freeway, click here.

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