09:10 28 Nov 2015



Met Maintenance Contract

Running Repairs

The Metropolitan Police Service's fleet of vehicles take a lot of punishment during their working lives. Providing the maintenance and repair resources to keep them on the road is a challenge in itself.

To put that into some kind of day-to-day perspective, think of it in terms of a vital policing resource that covers more than 63 million road miles a year, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Getting the best out of that resource was the responsibility we undertook when, in 2006, we started to deliver a support-services contract to manage some 3900 vehicles (including all specialist equipment) and provide associated services extending to lease and hire.

The pressing issue at the time was to provide a safe, available and reliable fleet. We took a number of steps to increase availability and to get every asset working as closely as possible to its full potential by introducing a succession of new systems, each one custom-designed to speed up progress and improve specific aspects of service delivery.

Basing our workshop operations at two Babcock purpose-built £10 million facilities in South East and North West London, we introduced state-of-the-art information technology and estimating systems to speed up work allocation. We reduced response times and repair-turnaround times. We brought in tailored asset-management software that enabled us to analyse trends in detail, highlight where we needed to concentrate our resources and pinpoint where we could further improve efficiency. We also invested in 15 new mobile maintenance response units, capable of carrying out 500 hours of maintenance every day on London's roads. It's a logical idea that's dramatically reduced the amount of time it takes to get defective vehicles back into action.

It is, of course, stating the obvious to say that this level of service doesn't run itself. The people involved are absolutely critical to making everything happen - how effectively they communicate and collaborate decides the success of the outcome. In this regard, the team providing first-line contract support carries considerable responsibility. For the latter part of 2010, some of this responsibility fell to graduate trainee placement Ross Rattray, who didn't waste any time in making the permanent role of Contract Support Manager his own.

Ross was initially chosen because he had already shown promising contract-management skills elsewhere, and senior manager Tony Marston recognised his potential. "He wanted more involvement in a more complex role; not just project management, and not just dealing with one particular business stream. So assisting in the running of a big contract like the Met Police was the perfect next step."

As a Contract Support Manager, Ross's time is largely divided between attending service delivery meetings, managing contract compliance and developing the contract further - always with an eye on making further efficiency improvements.

Says Tony: "Ross is very engaged at the customer level - very involved in dealing with the day-to-day activities and issues, and also with line management responsibilities. I have to say that I haven't treated him as a graduate, but more like a new employee. He's working every day with senior managers and directors - right at the centre of the operation."

Tony is at pains to point out that in whatever capacity they join, any graduate entering Mobile Assets can look forward to a similar level of exposure. "You want to make sure that every graduate is getting as much training, coaching and work shadowing as they possibly can, and aren't just left to get on with it." He adds: "It's absolutely vital that graduates are given every opportunity to explore their entire skill set and are exposed to every area of business, so they can make informed career choices as they progress. Working on a contract like this is a huge learning curve for anybody, whether a graduate or not. But if they've got the capability, drive and the enthusiasm to learn then there's really nothing to stop them."

Perhaps the most telling testament to Ross's own efforts comes in the form of professional recognition. In December 2010, our work on the Met contract was formally acknowledged when Mobile Assets was awarded an industry specific accreditation PAS 43 by the British Standards Institute, after a rigorous two-day assessment of our breakdown and recovery service capabilities that Ross effectively project-managed. The fact that this is the first Babcock contract to receive such accreditation reflects huge credit on his abilities - and will do no harm at all to either his or our prospects on forthcoming contracts.

The Metropolitan Police contract forms part of Babcock's Mobile Assets business which takes a dynamic approach to fleet management contracts - transforming delivery and approach. In 2011, the business was named 'Emergency Services Supplier of the Year' for its innovative work on the Met contract.

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