SFS celebrates 30 years in business
This month local authority fleet and workshop management experts Specialist Fleet Services Ltd celebrates 30-years in business...
To mark this milestone anniversary staff from the company and its vehicle rental division CTS Hire were invited to attend a special celebratory evening at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire, where they enjoyed a medieval banquet and the presentation of awards including Commitment & Teamwork and Social Media Expert.
Bob Sweetland, Managing Director, SFS said: “Reaching 30 years is a significant birthday and it was great to bring together staff from SFS and our vehicle rental division CTS Hire to celebrate this momentous occasion. I am proud of the whole team, and it was the perfect opportunity to thank everyone individually for their contribution to the company's success."
Bob, who has been with the company from the start, received the award for Longest Serving Employee: “In 1992 I was working in local authority leasing for a bank and was introduced to Serco. They are a big facilities management company and had won a contract with Northampton County Council. I arranged bank funding for the vehicles, which Serco maintained, and the council paid a fixed price. Essentially it was a tripartite contract hire agreement and it worked well, so we set up a joint venture company to offer the same service to other councils.”
“In 1992 I was working in local authority leasing for a bank and was introduced to Serco. They are a big facilities management company and had won a contract with Northampton County Council. I arranged bank funding for the vehicles, which Serco maintained, and the council paid a fixed price. Essentially it was a tripartite contract hire agreement and it worked well, so we set up a joint venture company to offer the same service to other councils.”
SFS is now wholly owned by a bank and most of its customers remain local authorities, with 85% being full contract hire with maintenance, and the remaining 15% maintenance only contracts although these days most of the maintenance is carried out by SFS staff.
Bob adds: “We operate 13 workshops spread throughout the country and, of those, 9 are local authority workshops, which we now run. In the early days we used to subcontract the maintenance work back to the council, but we find it works much better if we have full control. We can make greater commitments to the authority in terms of investment and service delivery levels.”
SFS has an unrivalled retention record having served many of its customers for over 10 years. The most long-standing customers include Teignbridge District Council, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council and North Northamptonshire Council. Its fleet and plant asset list totals over 1800 items and the company maintains 800-850 refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), 200 of which belong to its vehicle hire division CTS Hire.
At this milestone in the company’s history the focus is very much on the future and in particular the decarbonisation of local authority fleets.
Bob continued: “We have developed our expertise over time, according to what our customers need to meet the changing requirements of the services they provide. We invest a lot of time getting to know our customers’ operations inside out and we go to great lengths to stay ahead of the curve regarding new developments in vehicle technology, regulatory requirements, and government policies, so we can guide our customers through the challenges ahead.
“The electrification and decarbonisation of fleets is a major area of focus for the future for most councils and we are helping our customers lay the foundations for alternative fuelled fleets. As part of this we have installed two electric refuse vehicles at CTS Hire that councils can rent for 3 months to try out the technology on rounds in their own area and make informed decisions about their refuse collection fleet.”