The movement of concrete to and from any job site involves heavy road vehicles and fuel usage is a significant cost factor. Reilly Concrete Pumping – the UK’s largest privately owned supplier of concrete pumps – uses around 100,000 litres a month.
Based in St Helens on Merseyside, the company operates a fleet of 40 vehicles. Most are specialist units which are used to pump ready mixed concrete at the point of delivery. Since construction work tends to be transient, Reilly CP has expanded its operationsby way of a chain of depots across the north of England and Scotland. Currently activities are based in Hyde, Stoke on Trent, Cumbria, Leeds, Scarborough, Newcastle on Tyne, Aberdeen and Broxburn.
“We don’t have time to sit and play. Merridale is easy to use and provides the information we need to keep track of our fuel usage.”
Reilly CP also provides fuel to its sister company Exact Concrete, who in turn own nine volumetric truck mixers. The two businesses share the same premises at St Helens and will often work in tandem – Exact carry the raw constituents for the required concrete design, which are then volumetrically mixed on the vehicle on site and delivered as required on site to a Reilly concrete pump.
“Fuel storage facilities are installed at all the key depots. Stock control and usage was previously a paperwork process alongside delivery notes and timesheets,” explains Depot Manager, Paul Beard.
“We installed our first Merridale fuel management system at the Leeds depot six years ago. Whilst this provided the functionality, we didn’t follow it through with the internal disciplines needed to use the information effectively.
“The opportunity to implement the system fully came after purchasing a second tank for the St Helens depot. We had obtained a used tank incorporating a full Merridale fuel management system which was less than 12 months old.”
“The hardware components – the pump dispenser and control unit were checked out by a representative for Merridale and proposals were put forward to use FuelWorks – the Merridale web-based reporting software. We also upgraded the Leeds installation to bring this online as part of a centralised fuel management process.”
“Merridale provided the IT support we needed and in effect this gave us the confidence we needed to really get a grip on fuel management. We don’t have time to sit and play. Merridale is easy to use and provides the information we need to keep track of our fuel usage.”
“Another important benefit is that we can track the storage tank stock contents. We can anticipate usage and re-order levels, whereas previously we had to rely on the drivers to tell us what is left in the tank.
“The availability of fuel is crucial to the smooth running of our business and this has always been a priority. However, with a fuel bill topping a million pounds a year, the significance of effective management control becomes clear.
“We never thought about it that strongly until we bought this second tank. But now we have realised the full potential and seen for ourselves, how quickly Merridale has revolutionised our fuel usage.
“The new system has ensured that fuel drawn is booked against specific vehicles and our accounts are accurate. Everything is now tracked and the reports highlight any anomalies on fuel usage – the what’s and whys- or any abuse of the fuelling facilities, so that appropriate action can be taken.”
The quality of the fuel reporting also helps when recharging for fuel used by Exact vehicles. “We know exactly how much was drawn, when and by whom – so there is no time wasted on queries,” says Paul Beard.
Paul concludes by saying that although the Merridale solution came by default, as part of the second hand package, Reilly CP had previously operated a rival system on a different tank at St Helens.
“So we have in effect carried out an operational trial and actually worked with two leading fuel management systems. The plan is to move this tank up to Newcastle On Tyne and to standardise all future installations on the Merridale system.
“We need better control on our costs which is driving this and that is why I am keen on getting Fuel Management right. We know how much fuel is going to each depot and I want to have a system that can reconcile this against our usage.
“It is a work in progress but I am confident that by working with Merridale we are starting on a firm foundation.”