Hall & Pickles, the UK’s leading steel stockholder and processor, has seen significant carbon and cost savings by transitioning to a low carbon fleet with Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) Fleet.
In a traditionally carbon-heavy industry, Hall & Pickles is committed to tackling the environmental impact of its operations and reducing its carbon footprint. They have a car fleet of around 60 vehicles that supports field sales representatives, internal sales teams and senior managers. Transitioning to low and zero carbon vehicles had the potential to unlock huge environmental and cost benefits for the business.
“Reducing our fleet emissions is a key objective for the business as part of our overall ambition to improve our sustainability performance and credentials. We knew there were huge sustainability opportunities for our car fleet.”
In 2021, Hall & Pickles began to develop and implement a clear transition strategy. In September 2022, the company introduced a new company car policy for its fleet, which was based solely on plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or electric vehicle (EV) choice. This paved the way to phasing out the fleet’s internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in favour of low and zero emission vehicles.
This has resulted in a rolling transition programme which ties in seamlessly with the existing company car replacement cycles. As existing 48-month leases come to an end, the vehicles are being replaced with newer, high-performing and low emission PHEVs or EVs.
Partnering with the right expertise
“We needed to partner with experts that would help us navigate the transition successfully. VWFS Fleet was well positioned to support – with a wealth of expertise and advice, helping us to identify the best vehicles to support our drivers in making the switch.”
Each of Hall & Pickles’ fleet vehicles are leased independently; they sit on different replacement cycles, with a range of leasing partners.
“Every time a vehicle came to the end of its replacement cycle, we looked to our leasing partners to support with identifying, sourcing and delivering a low or zero carbon replacement,” adds Andrew. “In the current financial climate, cost was inevitably a huge factor in the final decision. However, service also played a vital role.”
“Operating the fleet is just one of a number of my day-to-day responsibilities, so I needed a fleet partner I could rely on. I wanted ease of contact, quick response times, proactivity and clear communication. That’s exactly what VWFS Fleet has delivered.”
“I get quick – normally within the hour – responses from Mason Childs, my dedicated Account Manager. This is far faster than my experience with other leasing companies. Anything from a quote to a query, or even a request for some advice, is acted upon promptly. This continually underpins the fantastic service we have come to rely upon.”
Over the past 18 months, VWFS Fleet has been a critical partner in supporting Hall & Pickles’ sustainability journey. Starting with just two leased vehicles in 2021, VWFS Fleet is now responsible for around 25% of the company’s current fleet – a percentage that’s set to grow further as legacy vehicle replacement cycles come to an end.
Commitment to service
“Our drivers are able to make their own vehicle choices subject to cost bandings and the allowances they receive. As part of our transition policy, we provided larger allowances to those opting for EVs to incentivise the switch,” explains Andrew. “Sometimes, however, our drivers need a little more support in understanding what models will work best for them – as they may not have driven an EV or PHEV before.”
“We have found VWFS Fleet’s proactivity really helpful in the model choice area, as they look carefully at individual driver requirements and mileage patterns, before putting forward a selection of models that would suit their needs.”
“If my Account Manager thinks a specific vehicle will fit a driver’s profile perfectly – but it falls outside the company car bandings – they will work hard to deliver a flexible solution to make the vehicles available at the right price point. VWFS Fleet are always able to find the best vehicles for our drivers within our budgets.”
Saving time, costs and emissions
“The overall transition has unlocked significant savings – for both the business and our drivers,” continues Andrew. “The business has seen substantial carbon savings, as well as significant cost savings with Class 1A NI contributions. And our drivers have also been able to make savings on NI and benefit-in-kind contributions.”
“Working with VWFS to support the transition has also saved a lot of my time from a day-to-day fleet management perspective. By being proactive, responsive and regularly going above and beyond, I can completely rely on them to take a huge burden off my shoulders. ”