Tight Ship | On-Site Emergency Hose Repair | Pirtek
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Transport & Logistics

Tight Ship

With a decreasing budget, increasing workload and a growing fleet of vehicles that should have been replaced, Belfast City Council has joined the ranks of local authorities that have to give every greater levels of value for money.

Assistant Fleet Manager, Kieran Callaghan had the thankless task of rationalising services and preparing the tendering documents for various aspects of external maintenance work. "When it came to the hydraulic services I made a particularly tight document to ensure that only the best equipped and dedicated companies could compete for the tender. In the end just three companies were able to supply the services we wanted and of those Pirtek stood out as the clear winner." he says. "We have 380 vehicles ranging from ride-on mowers to 32 tonne skip loaders, road sweepers to RCVs (dustbin lorries) to look after with a workshop maintenance crew of just 12. We do all our own preventative maintenance work, servicing and damage repairs. What we can't do is external on-site repairs, so if a refuse truck breaks down miles from the depot, we need to get an engineer to repair it fast - that's Pirtek's job."

Callaghan reports that Pirtek’s task will be made more difficult by the ageing fleet with which they will have to contend. "We have 50 vehicles that should have been replaced this year but we don't have the budget to replace them, especially when a single RCV will cost in excess of £130,000. So we are keeping them in the fleet for an extra 2-3 years which means there is more maintenance work to keep them on the road. We also have the problem that we are committed to give better value for money without jeopardising any service or reducing any safety aspect. We can't take vehicles out of service but we are constantly looking at how to get more out of them and how to make services more efficient.” The council has been extremely pro-active in its cost-cutting, investing in driver training and slowly switching to automatic vehicles to reduce fuel and operating costs. The company also calls upon Pirtek to carry out regular inspections of its vehicle and equipment fleet to minimise unplanned downtime. “Pirtek Belfast is in every Saturday and Sunday to make sure everything is working for Monday morning. Every vehicle is inspected every 10-12 weeks. When that involved working in -25 degrees last winter that shows real dedication,” Callaghan asserts. “Our regular MSSTs have established a really good relationship with our fitters and it’s not unusual to call them in for one repair and find them still here working on two or three others on the same visit. They give a brilliant service, otherwise they wouldn't still be here."

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