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Case study

First Mile cuts idling by 70%

The average speed of drivers has now dropped by seven to eight miles per hour since we implemented the platform.
Ed Ring
Academy Manager

Founded in 2004, First Mile was established to make it easy for businesses to recycle and be more sustainable. It helps companies with their waste management, providing them with high-quality customer service and then recycling the materials it collects. First Mile specialises in working with offices, shops, bars, restaurants, public venues and cleaning companies to help them stay green.

Based in London and Birmingham, First Mile works with over 20,000 businesses across the UK. It has been named one of the 1,000 companies to inspire Britain by the London Stock Exchange for the last three years in succession – an award that recognises some of the most dynamic SMEs in the country.

As First Mile looked to expand across the UK, it needed a fleet management solution which could help it keep an eye on its environmental impact and train drivers to maintain its ‘First Mile Standard’ of driving – an internal programme designed to help drivers maintain safe and environmentally friendly driving standards.

The Challenge:

As a recycling business, First Mile is very mindful of its impact on the environment. Many vehicles in its fleet weigh up to 40 tonnes meaning any idling leads to significant amounts of wasted fuel. In some instances, drivers would arrive at their destination and leave the vehicle’s engine running while they loaded it with waste for processing. First Mile needed a solution that provided better visibility of these behaviours, helped increase fuel efficiency and reduce fuel costs.  

Monitoring driver compliance was also a critical issue for the business. However, its previous software was unable to accurately categorise driving, other work and idling time. For example, drivers were required to engage a power take off (PTO) in order to use equipment on a vehicle such as a hydraulic lift, but its previous system would inaccurately class this as idling. As a result, First Mile was unable to generate an accurate assessment of driver idling time and take active steps to reduce it.

Furthermore, driver safety was front of mind for the business. First Mile needed a solution that allowed it to track driver behaviour in near-real-time, detect potentially dangerous driving styles and use this information to alert its drivers and educate them on how to adapt their driving style. Sourcing reports from its previous solution was a complex and lengthy process which could take up to half an hour per report. This was unacceptable for First Mile, which needed insights into driver activity in near-real-time to promote safety and improved sustainability across its fleet.

The Solution:

First Mile opted for the Verizon Connect Reveal fleet management solution, which proved a resounding success in helping solve the fleet challenges the business faced.

Using the Verizon Connect platform, it was able to accurately monitor vehicle use and create idling scores. Now, both managers and drivers receive instant phone alerts when excess idling occurs, so they are able to adjust their behaviour accordingly and reduce fuel costs to the business.

The Reveal solution can also monitor in near-real-time if a driver is speeding, and this functionality has been of huge benefit. If a driver is exceeding speed limits, for example, managers automatically receive a phone alert attributing the behaviour to a specific driver and vehicle. The information is also logged in their daily reports. In addition, these phone alerts help them identify any patterns of behaviour or repeated inconsistencies in driving style – such as speeding and excessive braking – and provide managers with a more accurate overview of driver performance, allowing them to take appropriate action.

As part of this process, reporting has become much simpler. Verizon Connect’s fleet management solution has provided First Mile with customisable reports that are much clearer and easier for managers to understand. These reports are also integrated into an app, allowing First Mile’s operations managers to access reports where and when they need them.  

The new system has also helped drivers become more aware of their own driving behaviour. This makes it easier for them to make necessary improvements to their driving style to increase safety and reduce their environmental impact. By focusing on educating and engaging drivers, Verizon Connect’s REVEAL platform has been an extremely effective tool for promoting safety across the business.

The Results:

As a result of working with Verizon Connect, First Mile has seen idling, its biggest priority, drop by 70 percent, reducing its fuel usage and its environmental impact at the same time. This has been hugely beneficial to a company like First Mile, which regularly operates within London’s low emission zones.

The solution has also had a substantial impact on improving safety and compliance amongst its drivers, as Ed Ring, Academy Manager at First Mile, explains:

“The average speed of drivers has now dropped by seven to eight miles per hour since we implemented the platform.”

Reporting has also been massively simplified. Commenting on the usability of the platform, Ring said: “Reports used to take up to half an hour to run. Now, with Verizon Connect’s solution, these take less than two minutes to be completed.”

Thanks to the accuracy and timeliness of its new reporting system, it was able to implement a programme called the ‘First Mile Standard’, designed to help drivers overcome their previous suspicion of telematics and demonstrate the benefits it can generate for both them and the business.

This programme is broken down into bronze, silver and gold levels and tracks indicators such as driver safety score, idling, tacho infringements and incident data. Using this information, which is quickly and easily sourced from the Verizon Connect Reveal platform, First Mile is now able to build detailed driver profiles based on tracking information, and design one-hour classroom sessions that focus on issues such as hazard and risk, accidents, defensive driving and the importance of rest. Each quarter, the top drivers receive generous rewards. The programme, which was only made possible with Verizon Connect’s platform, has resulted in more engaged drivers and cultivated a ‘friendly competition’ yet safe working environment – all whilst reducing their environmental impact.

Despite only being deployed since November 2018, the success of Verizon Connect’s Reveal software has positively impacted the business. First Mile is now looking to continue its relationship with Verizon Connect, and is currently considering further solutions to help streamline driver routing and scheduling.

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