Case Study

Safety-focused Shred-it cuts crash costs by £80,000

Driving image

The world’s largest mobile shredding and recycling company has cut its UK collision costs by two-thirds, saving almost £80,000 after embarking on a road safety crusade.

The initial introduction of quarterly employee driving licence checking by Manchester-based Shred-it in 2007 was followed early last year with a driver training programme.

The financial savings have been so significant that Shred-it is now working with occupational road risk management partner DriveTech to introduce additional safe-driving initiatives in 2009.

This is a massive saving and almost straight off Shred-it’s bottom line. The programme has been a resounding success and the financial savings prove that having a focus on road safety works. I expect our 2008/9 insurance premiums to reduce as a result.

Mr.Cassel Shred-it Operations Effectiveness Leader

Shred-it operates a bespoke fleet of 82 15.5 tonne trucks and 10 light commercial vehicles from 13 branches across the UK. The Canadian-owned company, which operates in 16 countries worldwide, manages the confidential waste destruction of private information and documents from a diverse portfolio of organisations including hospitals, banks, police forces, intelligence and security organisations.

Shred-it’s safe driving strategy has been masterminded by Colin Cassel, Operations Effectiveness Leader, who said: “While the mobile document shredding trucks are Leyland DAF 55s, their bodies are built to our own unique specifications because of the equipment on board we use to destroy on site confidential documents/data on behalf of clients. Each vehicle averages about 30,000 miles a year and it is crucial that they are on the road as much as possible. We cannot simply rent a replacement vehicle because they will not be fitted with the shredding equipment that is essential to our work.”

With vehicle downtime making it impossible for Shred-it to operate, Mr. Cassel said the company introduced DriveTech’s driving licence verification service as a starting point for driving safety campaign. That sees the validity of the licences of approximately 250 full-time professional Customer Service Representatives (drivers), car allowance employees and occasional drivers being checked four times a year against the DVLA database.

“Shred-it has previously relied on taking copies of employees’ driving licences, however with the increasing legislative focus on at-work driving, we believed it was time to introduce a comprehensive auditable licence checking process,” said Mr. Cassel.

The company then introduced DriveTech’s two-day driver training assessors’ course, which has seen two employees at each branch trained so they can assess the on-road driving skills of all existing employees and new recruits.

Mr. Cassel continued: “Our assessors are friends and work colleagues of the people behind the wheel, which has helped with the introduction of training for our professional drivers.”

The driver training programme means that all new recruits must pass a driving assessment in order to get behind the wheel of a truck. Should any employee be involved in a road traffic incident, including wing mirror damage, they have their on-the-road skills re-examined the following day, or soon after, by an assessor.

Figures provided by Shred-it’s insurance company, AIG, reveal that from January 1, 2007 to September 1, 2007 there were 46 insurance claim payouts as a result of damage to the company’s vehicles or third party vehicles at a cost of £112,063.06. For the equivalent period in 2008 there were 21 payout claims amounting £34,630.90 - a saving of more than £77,000.

Mr Cassel again: “This is a massive saving and almost straight off Shred-it’s bottom line. The programme has been a resounding success and the financial savings prove that having a focus on road safety works. I expect our 2008/9 insurance premiums to reduce as a result. Road crashes were costing Shred-it a lot of money and we had to reduce those costs. We explained that to all our drivers and they understood.

“But it was not just about cutting costs; our safe driving initiative is also about an investment in our professional drivers, an investment in their safety and an investment in developing their future with the business. Our staff are valuable, as Shred it is built around its people.”

Meanwhile, in the first quarter of 2009 Shred-it is introducing a fleet of 35 Audi A3 company cars for its sales consultants - they currently benefit from a car allowance - and before staff take to the road they will all complete a driving assessment.

In addition, branch-based Customer Service Supervisors (Operations Managers) are being tasked with carrying out post-collision investigations in a bid to see if lessons can be learned in avoiding a repeat incident.

And, finally, Shred-it is considering introducing DriveTech’s Driver Certificate of Professional Competence course when Driver CPC training becomes mandatory for large goods vehicle drivers from September 10 this year.

Mr. Cassel concluded: “As well as the measurable financial savings there have been numerous indirect cost benefits, such as ensuring vehicles are working and not off the road, improved productivity and service levels, improved company image and reduced sick leave among employees as a result of fewer crashes. Road safety initiatives like this undoubtedly make sound business sense.”

DriveTech Business Manager Suzanne Linturn said: “Shred-it has proved in a short space of time the unarguable business case for implementing an occupational road risk management programme. With Britain entering recession companies cannot afford to waste money on road crashes.

“But, by putting in place a series of tailored interventions, that cost can be significantly reduced. The benefits are not just financial though. They ensure that a business is not only compliant with all health and safety legislation but also boost staff morale in tough trading conditions.”