We were engaged by Trimble Inc. to develop an efficient and timely installation plan to fit 30,000 telematics devices across the Royal Mail Group’s fleet of vehicles. These devices were to be installed in batches of approximately 10,000 vehicles at a time.
We put in place a dedicated Project Manager, together with a multi-person administration team, to help support a project of this size. Given that such a large rollout was required by the end user, we relied upon the customer to provide us with the cooperation and organisation required to deliver on the job within a reasonable timescale.
Since we were solely responsible for the delivery of the project, it was vital that we entered discussions with the other stakeholders as early as possible to develop a practical and attainable solution.
The nature of Royal Mail Group’s business puts significant restraints on the availability of vehicles for installation. Certain times of the day saw their vehicles in peak demand, though these peaks occurred at different times of the day for different parts of the fleet. Furthermore, we were not able to access the vehicles outside of standard working hours or during weekends. The customer’s fleet was dispersed throughout the UK, with more than 700 depots where their vehicles were stored nationwide.
We worked with the customer to identify the off-peak times for each vehicle, determining that there were generally two three-hour slots available: one in the morning from around 05:30 to 06:00 and one in the afternoon from around 15:00, so we endeavoured to arrange installations within those slots.
Any engineers that were assigned the morning slots were allocated to an early shift pattern, meaning they could clock off around 14:00–15:00. Once they had completed their installations for the Royal Mail Group, they would be allocated work for our other customers.
This installation plan was successful for several reasons. Most importantly, it meant that installations could be completed with no disruption to the customer and no costly vehicle downtime. Our engineers could work a relatively normal shift, enduring an early start with the promise of an early finish that minimised the impact on their personal lives. This is crucial if you wish to keep consistently high levels of attendance, which is essential when maintaining momentum with a large-scale project like this.
What’s more, our engineers were able to perform a full day’s work, with early installations for Royal Mail Group followed by work for other customers throughout the rest of the day. That’s great for them from a financial perspective (our engineers are paid good money for a day’s work); great for us because our team has a full work allocation; and great for the customer as our efficient work schedule meant we were able to provide a very competitive price per installation.
In a project as large as this (over 30,000 units to be installed across the UK), stock management is important. Our stores team received all the components at our Manchester storage facility, inserted the necessary SIMs into each unit, and fully tested and configured each device. They then created individual installation packs for each vehicle on our list and dispatched them to the relevant locations for our installation engineers.
We record all SIM and unit details electronically to ensure an accurate log of our stock. Such a record is essential to the smooth running and implementation of the project.
Our administration team plays an important role in any large project, responsible for recording the movement of equipment, including when it reaches our storage facility, where it is dispatched, and which vehicle it ends up installed in. Accurate record-keeping is key so that we don’t end up missing installations or doubling up on work. We have several unique processes in place for cross-checking our data and ensuring we are keeping on top of the project.
Aside from recording stock movement, our admin team compiles daily reports for all stakeholders to keep them informed of our progress. They also ensure that equipment deliveries are closely monitored by our stores team and that all locations are constantly supervised.
Thanks to our innovative scheduling, this mammoth project was fully completed within four months. Our average deployment rate was 30 installation engineers per day. We sent a single installer to each site, as, despite the large number of locations (over 700), there were typically low numbers of vehicles at each depot.