Haulage and logistics have always been crucial to the Erith Group. A world-class, end-to-end solution is the glue that binds onsite productivity with materials recycling offsite. Without it, the various strands of the Group’s value proposition would not come together.
Logistics starts from the very outset of a project and runs right the way through its lifecycle. The team needs to understand how a project will be put together, what milestones need to be achieved, which materials need to be processed or recycled in-house, and which other offsite elements will be procured externally. A lot of thought must go into how components are transported – are there any wide-loads which require escorting, will they fit under motorway bridges or cope with weight restrictions?
Before the first truck leaves for site, highly skilled logistics and design personnel must break the project into its constituent parts, working with various SHEQ and project teams to understand the sequence in which the client’s programme requirements can be met, casting this over the programme duration. That consumption curve will then be fed into the digital engineering model so that components can be visualised at each stage of their journey. This allows teams to visualise loading and transportation arrangements, cranage strategies and ensure they are appropriate. By understanding the rate of procurement and manufacture, the project team can plan storage and delivery requirements accordingly, and the haulage and logistics team can plan to manufacture and store recycled material for use at another site.
Spatial restrictions are a persistent challenge on urban demolition and construction projects. In the City of London, for example, curfew restrictions, congestion, limited stopping and unloading areas add to the complexity, meaning it is almost always necessary to marshal loads, threading vehicles down very narrow streets. One innovative solution that we have adopted is Sweep Path Analysis (SPA), which is used to plan to exacting detail all vehicle movements to and from project sites.
The system identifies issues such as access via narrow roads, before building solutions into a project’s digital model.
An engineer who used the technology on a central London project, said ‘We have to bring articulated vehicles along very tight roads with parked cars. If you miscalculate the available space versus the turning circle of a vehicle it can mean a hold-up that can have a knock-on effect down the line. SPA gives us the ability to plan our movements, so we stay on track.’
Since 1967 Erith Haulage has remained at technology’s cutting edge. The modern methods used today are like those used within the fast-moving retail delivery and freight sector – particularly in terms of vehicle tracking, network planning management and just-in-time delivery. Erith Haulage is industry-leading in terms of safety with class-leading equipment and training.
The business works with procurement teams within our supply chain, aiming to ensure that deliveries are synchronised, reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible as we head towards the carbon neutral future.
We have developed the ability for our project sites to see their deliveries in real time, with the estimated arrival time of a load being constantly updated using vehicle-tracking technology.
ISO 39001 sets out the minimum requirements for a Road Traffic Safety Management System which is a standard that was developed to reduce the number of people killed or injured on the road each year. Road safety is our number one concern within Haulage and Logistics, and we share Government’s and safety groups’ concerns and the business has been accredited and implemented the clauses and controls contained within the ISO 39001 standard.
Erith Haulage Co. Ltd has worked with CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) since it was introduced. It was an initiative originally established to protect vulnerable road users in and around Greater London. Erith Haulage Co. Ltd has supported the programme since its inception by implementing CLOCS standard across its Greater London sites and is now expanding the programme at a national level.
In the earlier days of working together, prototype vehicles with enhanced safety features (such as larger windows for improved visibility, CCTV cameras and recording devices, blind spot sensors, additional mirrors and signage, side guard under-run guards and covers and Fresnel lenses) were tested by Erith Haulage Co. Ltd and its vehicle manufacturers as part of the CLOCS initiative, and now feature as standard across the fleet.
The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme is a voluntary accreditation scheme for fleet operators which aims to raise the level of quality within fleet operations, and demonstrates which operators are achieving exemplary levels of best practice in safety, efficiency, and environmental protection. We are Gold accredited, which means that we promote the benefits of the FORS scheme throughout our supply chain. The management of Road Safety is core to our business and features as standard within our driver training programmes.
Our business also takes part in London Metropolitan Police’s ‘Exchanging Places’ programme, which puts cyclists in the cab of a truck, offering them a different perspective in thinking about their safety. Likewise, it put drivers through cycling awareness programmes, providing them with first-hand experience of riding alongside construction vehicles in busy city-centre locations.
Some Greater London local authorities report that the implementation of the CLOCS programme has had an impact in reducing incidents between vulnerable road users and construction related vehicles in their areas.
On the other side of the hoarding line, site logistics are every bit as important. When due care and consideration is made towards achieving the best outcome, demolition and construction becomes all about logistics – synchronising loading and unloading areas, cranes, forklift trucks and so on. We have developed new roles to fulfil these requirements: site-based personnel responsible for the movement of materials to and around a project, ensuring their safe and efficient linkage with cranes.
Trailers themselves are tracked as well as being equipped with cameras in case the vehicle is involved in an accident. Cameras are not only forward and rear-facing: with valuable materials on board, they are often focused on the load as well.
Every opportunity is sought to trim the programme, with it being used to devise time-saving logistics strategies. Examples of the type of questions being asked are: How do we achieve the quickest turn on a crane and get materials on site as fast as possible? Or: How are we going to manage the efficient queue of tippers required to remove arisings from site?
The plant and haulage businesses are working together in harmony with the use of in-house, specialist machinery.
Haulage and logistics are becoming increasingly important as we strive to become an industry leader for innovation and excellence in the enabling industry. It’s time that the unsung hero of enabling was recognised as a vital cog in the machine.