Science of compliance

Just as the arrival of digital tachographs accelerated the use of on-line bureau services, the rapid growth of contract maintenance has prompted commercial vehicle manufacturers to develop their own compliance tools in conjunction with dealers.

These typically involve the remote storage of a customer’s vehicle maintenance data on a central server, viewable down-the-line via the internet, with passwords and logins ensuring that only authorised users can access the data.

Available data can range from a simple pdf copy of a service worksheet, e-mailed to the operator when the job’s done, to complete fleet service records including annual tests and driver defect reports and remedial actions, all held on the truck makers' or dealers’ server.

For the record, maintenance records must be kept for a minimum of 15 months, although traffic commissioners can insist on longer periods as part of an individual operator’s undertakings.
The sophistication of such on-line tools looks set to rise even further.

In support of its latest FH, Volvo has developed a new telematics gateway that remotely links the truck to a workshop, allowing its service condition to be monitored in real-time, out on the road.

As the workshop is continuously advised of the wear of key components, servicing can be better targeted, and more timely, not least when it’s a safety-related item.

Likewise, current compliance-friendly systems provided by MAN focus on safety - such as forward-facing cameras - speeding, incident data recorders like accident black boxes and safety league tables, "all of which are of great interest to Vosa”, says the manufacturer.

Brian Weatherley will examine the topic in an article that will appear in the 28 February issue of Commercial Motor.

Citroen vans impress Vela Group

Housing provider Vela Group is to refresh its 200-strong vehicle fleet with 129 Citroën vans. The Disptach, Relay and Nemo vans will be used to provide customer services across Stockon-on-Tees and Hartlepool for the 17,000 properties managed by Vela Group.

Eight Citroën Relay 35 L3H2 vans, 123 Citroën Dispatch L2 1200s and a Nemo 1.3 HDi 660 LX will all go into service across the Tees Valley. Each of the vans has been specified with passenger airbags, full steel bulkheads, reversing warning systems and parking sensors, and will be internally lined with plywood to protect the loadspace. The have also all been equipped with Teletrac satellite tracking.

Eighty of the vehicles have also been fitted with roof bars or tilt and slide ladder racks, while half have been purchased through Citroën Contract Motoring on either a three or four year contract hire agreement. The remaining vehicles being purchased outright.

Mike Kay, group director of property services at Vela, said: “We went through a rigorous selection and procurement process, which included user groups made up of trades operatives, managers and supervisors to evaluate the options offered by the leading vehicle manufacturers. The decision to go with Citroën was based on a comprehensive assessment of suitability, vehicle data, ergonomics and cost.”