Building an efficient fleet with FORS
With more than 4,850 members, the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is well-established as the go-to accreditation scheme for fleet best practice. October saw the latest FORS Standard unveiled – Version 6.0. Here are the details
The revised FORS Standard, due for implementation from 01 July 2022, is the sixth iteration of the document, produced to outline how FORS members must meet the accreditation criteria at each stage of the progressive scheme.
The document is updated every two years to ensure the requirements of the FORS Standard remain relevant to the road transport operators it serves, now totalling some 4,850 members nationwide and internationally.
Initially due for publication in 2020, The FORS Standard Version 6.0 was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making it three years since the last full version was published to members.
And the effects of the pandemic are reflected in this latest version, which contains only modest changes to the scheme. Helen Bonner, director of FORS governance and standards, says: “Whilst Version 6.0 has been in development since 2019, the events of 2020 and 2021 have heavily influenced its direction.
“Accordingly, Version 6.0 has been designed to be an incremental adjustment from the current FORS Standard. It will ensure that FORS accreditation continues to enable members to conduct their business whilst demonstrating their professionalism, commitments and credentials in improving road safety and reducing the environmental impact of their operations.”
The FORS Standard Review Working Group consulted key industry stakeholders to identify and agree proposed changes to The Standard, before the document was approved by the FORS Governance and Standards Advisory Group (GSAG) in July 2021.
No changes have been made to the FORS mandatory training for both drivers and managers, and many of the amendments have been designed to clarify existing requirements to members. For example the addition of a new Annex listing the documents required at the FORS Bronze Audit – the first level of the progressive scheme.
Ensuring fleet efficiency
More and more operators are choosing FORS to ensure their fleet is as efficient as possible. FORS is especially important for operators keen to win work providing transport to major urban construction projects, where specifiers are increasingly using FORS to raise standards, meet CO2 emissions targets and ensure a green supply chain.
One such specifier is Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM), one of the UK’s leading building and civil engineering companies. Here, the company looks at how working with FORS has helped drive quality and efficiency across its supply chain.
Sir Robert McAlpine and FORS
Having worked on some of the UK’s most iconic buildings and projects, the SRM mandate is clear, to ensure it leaves a lasting, positive legacy for local communities, striving for efficiency and minimising environmental impacts during the lifecycle of a project.
The company, which marked its 150th anniversary in 2019, remains a family-owned business and recognises the pivotal role safe and efficient road transport supply chain plays in meeting its goals. As such, it began stipulating FORS accreditation as a requirement for all vehicles entering its sites back in 2012 and its own fleet is accredited at FORS Gold – the highest level of the voluntary accreditation scheme.
Paul Smith, logistics manager at SRM is charged with managing the company’s supply chain, and says: “Writing FORS into our contracts as a requirement for all vehicles was a step change in how we assure standards across our road transport supply chain. It is our duty to ensure our sites are as safe and efficient as possible, for those who live and work in the immediate area and for our clients and the road transport supply chain has a big role to play in that.”
The company’s delivery management system requires all contractors to register vehicles before they come on to any site and is set up to prevent the booking being made, if no valid FORS accreditation can be shown. The scale of this operation can be huge. For example, at SRM’s 100 Liverpool Street project in London, 40 road transport contractors were used throughout the project, each employing sub-contractors, totalling over 21,000 bookings created on the system over a four-year period.
These simple processes, which require all vehicles entering SRM sites to be accredited to FORS Silver, are paying off. Paul Smith adds: “The quality of vehicles which come onsite, and the safety equipment they have, is now far better than before FORS. The difference in driver quality is also very noticeable. Drivers no longer think safety and efficiency ‘don’t matter’ and understand why measures are in place to protect vulnerable road users, and how they can help.’’
The consolidation centre model is becoming more commonly used by SRM to help accurately manage site deliveries, reduce traffic flow, and lower emissions. This model sees contractors advance deliver goods to a specified hub outside the city or town in which the build is situated, with materials only arriving on site when they are needed. This reduces the need to move materials around a site, and the cost implication of potential damage to materials left onsite during the build, while also ensuring vehicles containing combined loads of materials are arriving fully loaded, to lower traffic levels.
Paul Smith says: “We have quite a complex supply chain, with many layers of sub-contractors so it’s important for us to ensure our compliance messaging feeds through from the original contract-holder, and consolidation centres really help. The company which managed the consolidation centre we used on our Bloomberg site in London for example, was FORS Gold accredited, so we knew all vehicles which came onto site automatically complied to the highest standard.
“Thanks to this model we reduced the number of vehicles coming on to the Bloomberg site by 66 per cent, from a calculated 9,099 deliveries which would have taken place using ‘traditional’ delivery methods to just 3,094 actual deliveries made via the consolidation centre. This is a huge reduction, not only in traffic but in CO2 emissions which were reduced by 53,782kg during this project.”
David Bucksley, head of health, safety and wellbeing at SRM says: “We think FORS is really important. For us, it is not a minimum standard requirement – it is a must. FORS links to everything we stand for as a business and we are keen to attract a supply chain which is aligned to these values by working to support them in their accreditation.”
The SRM fleet itself is FORS accredited, and has been since June 2013, moving up through the FORS progressive model to become FORS Silver accredited, and then onwards to FORS Gold, in 2020. The vehicles which work across the UK delivering SRM materials and equipment are based at its site in Kettering and managed by a qualified FORS Practitioner.
David Bucksley adds: “The road transport supply chain has a huge contribution to each build, and we need to know each truck is of a high standard - FORS helps us achieve that.”