Rotronics has been working in partnership with the Norfolk County Council workshop management team since October 2018. CVW takes a look into how this relationship has benefitted the council.
Norfolk County Council asked Rotronics to introduce a battery management process into its workshop in order to improve vehicle reliability and, specifically, the testing and charging practices.
In the council’s yellow fleet, the 54 gritters were being brought out of hibernation and the workshop team wanted to ensure that they would start first time, every time, throughout the winter months.
If a vehicle was out on the road and experienced a failure, a technician would be despatched, and they could be tied up for at least two hours trying to restart or recover the vehicle in potentially hazardous conditions through the winter months. This is a situation that the council was desperate to avoid.
Norfolk County Council asked Rotronics to introduce a battery management programme to the yellow fleet as an immediate priority, before focussing on the red fleet. The red fleet is the fire engine fleet, with over 80 vehicles attending fires and many other emergency situations across Norfolk. The workshop is responsible for maintaining over 200 vehicles in its yellow, red and white fleets, with the white fleet made up of general council vans and company cars.
Norfolk Council recorded 40 non-starts in its entire fleet over a five-month period. The average non-start recovery cost is around £200, equating to a non-start cost of £8,000, and a total cost of around £14,000 for battery-related non-start issues.
The Rotronics solution
With the Rotronics Battery Management Programme, the team aimed to considerably reduce those costs by increasing the serviceable life of the fleet batteries, identifying defects before they happened, and implementing proactive testing and charging practices within everyday workshop maintenance.
Rotronics introduced the Midtronics EXP1000FHD and ROBIS into the workshop environment to aid proactive testing and charging practices. Following this, the ROBIS upload of test results, carried out by the workshop team, showed the trends and improvements in battery performance and highlighted any batteries that needed to be replaced or charged. This significantly increased the reliability of the fleet maintenance programme, with all vehicles now being tested and charged as part of regular maintenance, and poor batteries removed from service.
The benefit to Norfolk County Council
The impact of the implementation of this programme is that, between October 2018 and March 2019, there were only two further vehicle non-starts, which is a 95% reduction in non-starts and an 80% reduction in battery replacements. This equates to a saving of £4,800 in replacement batteries and a £7,600 saving in non-starts.
The Rotronics Battery Management Programme cost Norfolk County £2,500 in equipment alongside a monthly subscription to ROBIS of £20 per workshop, per month.
Most importantly, this programme has made the entire fleet more reliable and ensures that all vehicles get to where they need to be on time, which enables gritters in the winter and fire engines throughout the year to be able to serve their community in the way they should.