The MIRA Proving Ground in deepest Warwickshire played host to the inaugural Microlise Field Service & Fleet Conference last week.
Two messages resonated through the entirety of the conference: 1) vans are integral to the UK’s economy, and 2) there is room for significant improvement in the way they are managed and operated.
Demonstrating this fact, Mark Cartwright of the Freight Transport Association Van Excellence scheme shared that more than 49% of vans currently fail their MOT first time round. Throughout the day delegates also heard from the DVSA, the Head of National Roads Policing Intelligence, DHL and former Stig Ben Collins; alongside Microlise Director of Product Stephen Watson.
Later on attendees were split into workshop groups to learn useful and practical information on everything from driving style and the use of technology, to driver engagement and real world case studies of fleet management best practice.
During the day delegates were also given the opportunity to find out how skilled at driving they are. We fitted a fleet of vans, supplied by event sponsor Hertz, with telematics so that guests could be let loose on the MIRA City Circuit, which simulates the driving conditions found in an urban environment. The objective was to drive economically and safely; with drivers scored on how well they achieved this.
These scores were then added to the results from an interactive quiz run through the day in which delegates were tested on their knowledge of everything from van fuel usage to braking distances.
In Top Gear style the conference finished with the roar of a sports car guided by former Stig and current James Bond stunt driver Ben Collins; giving 10 lucky (or unlucky) winners the thrill of their lives around MIRA’s dry handling racetrack.
After an action packed event, we are pleased to have received lots of excellent feedback and are already looking forward to hosting the event again next year. With driver engagement top of the priority list in this year’s event, I wonder which new topics will shape next year’s sessions.
Many thanks to event sponsors Hertz, as well as supporters FTA Van Excellence and Field Service News.