Gregory Distribution discusses Freeway

Gregory Distribution discusses Freeway

Gregory Distribution discusses the challenges it faces following its recent acquisitions of two leading Scottish hauliers – ARR Craib and Pollock (Scotrans) – and how Freeway’s fleet management software helped in the transition.

Acquiring another company can pose particular challenges for those integrating the businesses. It’s likely that the workshop is managed differently, with different systems, procedures and suppliers.

In the case of ARR Craib, it was fortunate that the company used the same Freeway workshop software making it relatively easy to import data for its 550 assets into a centralised Freeway asset repository. With Pollock (Scotrans), however, workshop software had yet to be introduced and management relied largely on spreadsheets. Although, adding the 400 additional assets proved relatively straightforward using specially configured templates.

“Freeway provided us with some very intuitive data import templates, which facilitated the integration of assets, customers, suppliers and workshop parts,” says Damian Cass, Gregory’s Technology Service Delivery Manager. “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.”

Gregory’s operations are now vast (the company also owns Hayton Coulthard), and there are over 4,200 road going assets. 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.

The problem solver

Gregory has been working closely with Freeway to help streamline their engineering operations through automating processes to improve efficiency and productivity. The system is underpinning a switch to digital working and the biggest impact has been in eliminating laborious paperwork and data entry.

“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 realtime of everything to do with managing the fleet,” comments Gemma Morris, Gregory’s Business Support Shared Services Manager.

Freeway’s software is already used across Gregory by up to 170 people; many simply access the system to view vehicle documentation but around 30 administrators and managers use Freeway through-out the day to access data relating to the fleet.


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.

“By using Freeway’s software nationally we have been able to very quickly standardise our approach to compliance and easily publish a daily report illustrating our company-wide position. The tablets have helped us further align everything by introducing a standard process for workshop work and reporting.” says Alan Worden, Group Technology and Contracts Director, Gregory Distribution.

“With the roll out of tablets we now have a real-time element and that adds a new and important dimension to the system from a central management perspective. Freeway gives us one stop visibility of engineering activity and is helping minimise vehicle downtime,” Worden adds. “We can monitor and introduce best practices by comparing the performance of everything from people to workshops and suppliers, right across the business.”

Gregory has 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. Part of an initiative called ‘dynamic oil changes’ Gregory can now adjust servicing schedules based on actual vehicle usage and better coordinated with other requirements such as defect rectifications, MOT’s and safety inspections. This will help to reduce unnecessary servicing costs and reduce vehicle downtime.

Freeway’s software is also 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. Again, the tablets are proving especially useful allowing technicians on the job to directly issue parts and Gregory is excited about a new feature that allows staff to use their mobile device to directly scan and issue a part.

With Gregory’s rapid growth and challenges resulting from acquiring other companies, the introduction of digital working and a centralised system was needed in order to benefit from economies of scale and improved productivity across all locations.

For more information on the fleet management software available from Freeway, click here.

Related posts