When environmental services provider Ubico underwent a fleet transformation programme in 2020, the company adopted intelligent fleet management from CMS SupaTrak to help reduce emissions, save costs and ensure safety and compliance on behalf of its shareholder councils.
Ian Bourton is the Head of Fleet Operations for Ubico, and he explains that Ubico was looking for a holistic solution to transform the emissions profile of the fleet while delivering value and service excellence to Ubico’s shareholder council residents, businesses and visitors.
Ubico is owned by eight shareholder councils: Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, and most recently, Gloucester City Council. After entering a strategic consultancy programme with CMS, Ubico embarked on a connected, intelligent fleet approach.
EcoTrak for safer driving
David Moorfield, Key Account Manager at CMS SupaTrak, explains that the connected fleet vision starts with the enhanced track-and-trace vehicle solution called EcoTrak. ‘EcoTrak is our advanced telematics solution. Operators can log into our application and view all vehicle activity on one platform, along with extensive CANbus data that allows for advanced driver performance monitoring. EcoTrak is a significant part of the Ubico operations, especially regarding driver performance management. The solution looks at CANbus data from Ubico vehicles, including odometer, fuel performance, and CO2e emissions.’
EcoTrak is integral to the Ubico operation because it measures driver performance, and provides guidance on how to manage drivers, which impacts everything from environmental effects to driver wellbeing, risk management, accident reduction and insurance premiums.
‘Driver performance management benefits the operation across the board,’ says David. ‘We have also installed the Safer Driving Assistant (SDA), alongside the EcoTrak solution, which provides in-cab targeted feedback through visual and voice alerts.
Ian Bourton says the voice element is essential. ‘You don’t have to take your eyes off the road. Rather than the common beep and a visual prompt, the Safer Driver Assistant tells the driver the actual alert that is affecting their environmental driving performance’.
Ubico and CMS established a robust operational protocol, working effectively with the drivers and promoting intelligent driving performance. David says it is not about targeting the driver but about helping them make subtle tweaks to their driving style to improve safety, fuel efficiency and the management of risks.
Connected Camera solution
Ubico also has CMS SupaTrak’s Connected Camera solution installed on its fleet. This multi-camera facility enables live streaming from cameras covering every angle of the vehicle. This allows Ubico supervisors to conduct crew inspections remotely, saving time and harmful emissions. Supervisors can also undertake activities such as remotely downloading footage from reported near misses and road traffic incidents. The truck does not need to return to the depot to view any footage.
CMS SupaTrak developed the random automatic download feature with Ubico, whereby footage from randomly selected vehicles is automatically downloaded daily. The system captures a short clip from each camera, which enables supervisors to check that all cameras are working and to ensure the correct camera view. It also identifies that safe work procedures are being carried out correctly and identifies any training requirements.
Ian Bourton says that Ubico has seen significant efficiencies in using this feature for crew inspections. ‘Our main objective when using the cameras and the reversing and vulnerable road user assistance that they provide, is to keep drivers, crews and other road users safe. We also have onboard weighing solutions on our trucks, but not all features are CMS solutions. Nevertheless, CMS enables us to view everything on one platform in a connected, intelligent manner, which is why we call it UbiConnect.’
The Connected Camera solution has been a handy tool for aiding police prosecutions. When drivers have been put at risk or injured, Ubico will hand over images captured by the cameras to the police. It also uses video footage of near misses and dangerous occurrences, for example, where vehicles have mounted curbs or grass verges to speed past RCVs in tight gaps. ‘All these things are pretty scary for the drivers, crew and pedestrians. We capture this data and have put it on social media to create awareness about the risks of this behaviour to our crews and to the public.’
This facility is essential, as Alex Walsh, Fleet Workshop and Maintenance Manager from Ubico explains, because it is crucial to find out who was at fault when incidents occur. ‘When we receive complaints of damage to stationary objects like walls and parked vehicles, we always have evidence of fault via the Connected Camera system, which our insurance company finds invaluable. It’s a fantastic system for providing evidence, and drivers and crew feel it protects them, which is essential to a successful operation.’
Drivers at the heart of the operation
Alex emphasises that drivers and crew are at the heart of Ubico’s efforts to achieve climate targets, compliance and safety goals. ‘Optimising driver performance by subtly prompting people in the right direction is critical. Rather than time-consuming driver training, our drivers self-manage their abilities by getting information through the SDA. We do offer refresher CPC training in the classroom, but the vehicle provides the best training daily. The system is constantly and subconsciously improving driving styles.’
He adds that at the start of the project in 2020, it was challenging for some drivers to accept the system. ‘However, now they don’t even mention it. We are getting some impressive figures coming through from a fuel saving and CO2 reduction perspective, and they also know that they have back up from the camera in day-to-day incidents and for investigations.’
As well as providing carbon savings in various fleet and vehicle initiatives, Ubico’s carbon reduction has produced significant economic savings. Since introducing the driver performance software, Ubico has saved over £70,000 on fuel.