A case study with United Utilities
The flow must go on
United Utilities provides water and wastewater services in the North West of England. Delivering 1.8 billion litres of water a day to homes and businesses requires a vast behind-the-scenes operation. This involves hundreds of reservoirs, treatment works and pumping stations, thousands of kilometres of water pipes and sewers and a 5,000-strong workforce. As their employees are often on-the-go to cover the entire area, they operate a large fleet of vehicles including 2300 vans, cars and trucks, plus 500 specialist plant items. Their Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) carry drinking water supplies and also convert waste into energy, while their mobile operational staff use Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) to move around.
Keeping drivers, vehicles and road users safe
When a burst water main needs urgent intervention, there’s no time for technical issues. United Utilities’ staff and vehicles always need to be ready to deal with urgent situations and provide their customers with on-time and in-time support. They knew that predictive maintenance and optimised route planning would not only help them make their services more reliable but also reduce operational costs. And there’s something even more important than optimising their fleet: making sure that all drivers can get home safe at the end of the day. So, United Utilities wanted to support them in becoming more mindful on the road.
Making the move to electric
United Utilities is committed to sustainability and social responsibility. That’s why they decided to move from diesel vehicles to a fully electric fleet by 2028 as part of their journey towards carbon net zero. But switching to an electric fleet can come with a lot of uncertainty for businesses. To avoid unnecessary disruptions, they wanted to find out how a change like this would affect their business, e.g. how many of their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles could be replaced with electric ones and how this would affect their drivers’ schedules. The company needed real-time analytics to make the move a smooth one. Vodafone Business Fleet Analytics (powered by Geotab) was right there to support their green ambitions.
Trusted in automotive and sustainability
We’ve over 45 years of experience in developing vehicle security and telematics solutions and manage 38.5 million connected vehicles around the globe – and, as Vodafone Business is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2040, we were keen to support the UK water supplier with their own move to Electric Vehicles (EVs) using Vodafone Business Fleet Analytics. “Working with Vodafone is really helping our fleet become sustainable. For us, being able to maximise business efficiencies, protect employees and give our customers a great service, while doing this has been game-changing,” says Stephen Wolstenholme, Head of Fleet at United Utilities.
Insightful. Efficient. Business
Predicting the future can be tricky, but not impossible. Vodafone Business Fleet Analytics provides United Utilities with real-time telematics data to help them spot and fix issues. Regular predictive maintenance helps the company minimise vehicle wear-and-tear, avoid unnecessary off-the-road time in service depots and cut repair costs – resulting in more vehicles being available when they need them and a smaller total fleet to run. Real-time insights have also given them reduced idle times and fuel consumption. So, data-driven decisions are helping them to optimise their fleet size. As our team really understands sensitive data management, United Utilities have peace of mind that their data is in good hands too.
A mindful journey towards safer road
Our telematics data is also essential to help United Utilities protect their employees on the road. Thanks to Vodafone Business Fleet Analytics, they have access to driving behaviour reports and can give drivers feedback on their driving styles such as cornering and speeding. These insights can be used in driver training and education programmes to encourage mindful driving habits and behaviours. This not only helps them reduce the possibility of accidents but also has a positive impact on their relationship with customers. “There’s a reputational benefit here. Our vehicles are one of the most recognisable aspects of the brand. It’s important that they’re driven responsibly. It shows that we care about what we do,” explains Stephen.
Going electric for a sustainable future
Our Vodafone Business Fleet Analytics platform gave United Utilities the comprehensive data they needed to understand which, how many and what types of their ICE vehicles can be switched to electric ones. They could plan how to reduce their carbon emissions using the reporting features of the Green Fleet Dashboard, which was paired with the Electric Vehicle Sustainability Assessment. These insights combined with consultancy and collaboration, allowed them to know which vehicles to switch - those driven by employees who were driving a pool van and living on a property with a driveway. They could also understand how the change would impact their business infrastructure, e.g., dwell times (when a vehicle is stationary at a scheduled stop) to decide how to manage their charging infrastructure across their depots. “Vodafone’s reports and expertise helped us understand what was possible while making sure changes supported our charging infrastructure, to make the right decisions for our business,” says Carl Doyle, Green Fleet Business Lead at United Utilities.