The Forest for the Trees

forest picWith more than five-and-a-half thousand vehicles to manage, the Forestry Commission needs fleet management software it can rely on

How big is your fleet?

There are 5606 vehicles and other machinery in the Forestry Commission's fleet in England, scotland and Wales.

How is the fleet made up?

  • 1304 business-use vehicles. These are vans, cars and pickups that are used throughout great Britain with the Forestry Commission's distinctive green livery and tree logo. some are modified for specific purposes such as wildlife management.
  • 207 management cars which are used for both business and private use by employees.They are provided through the Forestry Commission's Car provision for Employees scheme (CApEs) and are to standard manufacturers' specifications and colours. These are choosen by drivers from a short list and the cost is shared between the Forestry Commission and drivers.
  • 216 major machines including agricultural tractors some of which work in nurseries, civil engineering machines, large all terrain vehicles and timber harvesting and forwarding machines
  • 3900 minor items including chainsaws, lawnmowers, small ATVs, implements and large power tools.

Why did the forestry Commission choose DRIVE?

DRIVE was selected in a tender process in the year 2000 to replace an earlier outdated fleet management and financial system. The previous system did not use the latest Windows technology and because DRIVE is based on the Oracle programming language it was easier to integrate with our financial management system.

Was it easy to migrate your system to DRIVE?

It was possible but not easy to transfer data from the previous system to DRIVE. The data had to be transferred to Excel and then uploaded to DRIVE and some of the detail was lost in this process. it proved too difficult to transfer some data such as repair histories and it was decided to retain this in the previous system and start afresh in DriVE. Although there was concern about this being a a significant business risk at the time, in hindsight it has not been an issue.

What has DRIVE delivered for you?

The Forestry Commission only uses some of the DRIVE features and modules. Those that are used and their relevance to the Forestry Commission is summarised in the table below.

Is DRIVE well supported and do you have any particular examples?

After implementation problems were overcome DRIVE has settled down and has proven to be reliable, especially over the last few years and there has been little need for support. DRIVE software systems have been asked to correct a few bugs and input errors and these are always dealt with promptly and efficiently. Most of the standard reports do not meet the Forestry Commission's requirements and while this has been overcome by taking downloads of data into Excel it has taken time to develop these to the point we are at now where they provide regular and useful information.

DRIVE module Forestry Commission comment
Fleet administration Delivers internal and statutory requirements and business efficiency
Acquisitions and disposals Necessary for planning
Workshop management Meets business need and statutory requirements
Stores Meets business needs and is popular with stores staff
Driver management Only used in England and Wales but is effective
VME charging
(customised module which tranfers charges within the Forestry Commission)
Performs a complex task well but it is criticised by some asset users
Financial information Having functions such as ordering and invoice payment in DriVE avoids duplication of input that would be required if they were input to eFin (Cedar Financials accounting package)
Standard reports On-screen interrogation is widely used but Business Objects and Oracle reports need further development
Web based reports using Business Objects and Excel Powerful method of reporting which provides flexible and useful reports but requires data manipulation skills including basic programming and advanced knowledge of Excel
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