BELIEVE Housing is one of the largest housing associations in North East England currently managing 18,000 homes, and works hard to drive change to create a housing service to fit local needs.
It was looking for a new fleet supplier that could offer expert Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) management and provide a ‘one-stop shop’, including ongoing support and fleet consultancy for the company, as it moved into unknown territory on its rapid growth trajectory. The housing association also wanted to step away from its existing flexi-lease model to create cost savings and reduce administration time.
Alphabet proved the perfect partner for believe housing to appoint as sole supplier for its fleet of 163 LCVs and two company cars, following a competitive tender process fully managed by EVP Solutions. With the support of its new expert consultative partner, believe housing has begun migrating its LCV fleet from a flexi-lease model to contract hire, resulting in substantial savings for the business.
Alphabet is providing believe housing with full contract hire and maintenance, including accident management, driver risk management and rental services. Alphabet’s short term rental service, AlphaRent, has helped believe housing keep its workforce on the move by supporting many daily rental requirements at very short notice and preventing downtime as they transition to their new fleet.
Alphabet’s collaborative approach has ensured the fleet changeover has remained fully on track, from creating a build management tool and hosting weekly implementation calls, to Alphabet’s contract hire and rental teams working closer than ever to seamlessly coordinate the collection of the old fleet and delivery of the new one. The constant churn of vehicles switching to contract hire has been managed from beginning to end by Alphabet, removing stress and saving time for believe housing, allowing it to focus on driving change for its tenants and communities.
One of the biggest priorities for believe housing was the LCV conversion choice and design. Alphabet provided consultancy through every step of the process, working closely with internal racking conversion partner Modul-System and vehicle branding partner Mediafleet to create a bespoke, yet simple design that met believe housing’s requirements, while further driving down costs for the business. Mediafleet prepared a unique and striking reflective livery for the vehicles, matching believe housing’s brand colours perfectly and extending visibility into the night.
With the support of Alphabet, believe housing is also building on its wider environmental targets and green credentials by moving 10% of its fleet to electric vehicles within the first year of the contract. The housing association has initially placed an order for 11 eLCVs (Vauxhall Vivaros) and two electric company cars (Nissan Leaf) and will be continuing to grow this part of its fleet in the future.
Rachel Cox, Director of Property Repairs at believe housing, said: “Most of our staff get to work in one of our offices or from home, but for trade operatives the van is their office. Making sure the vehicles were fit for purpose and were a safe and comfortable working environment was at the forefront of our minds.
“That meant consulting members of each trade, so the racking suited the materials and tools they use, to having air conditioning and DAB radio in the vehicles. The move to a sole provider and new funding model will reduce operational costs by about 30 per cent over the next five years, and as a not-for-profit all the money we save will go back into providing affordable housing in the region and a wide range of support services for customers.”
Dermot Kehoe, Corporate Sales Manager at Alphabet (GB) added: “It’s great to be working with believe housing in this key period of growth for their business. With a substantial fleet based on a flexi-lease model, we were keen to get the process of moving to contract hire vehicles underway as soon as possible, so they could start benefitting from significant cost reductions.
“By advising them to order the LCVs prior to full specifications being agreed, we were also able to help them avoid three price increases on the main models they selected, creating further cost savings for the business. We’re delighted to have part of the new fleet already in operation for believe housing and are looking forward to identifying more efficiencies, as we continue to build our partnership and help them drive the business forward.”