Taking sustainability on the road

July 01, 2021 at 12:08 PM


As an environmentally conscious company, Swish Building Products knows that its responsibility to sustainability goes beyond its manufacturing processes. Ensuring our environmental credentials extend past our production facility is the responsibility of Richard Lacey, Transport Manager with Swish Building Products:

"Over the past 13 years, Swish has developed robust, sustainable and achievable environmental goals with regards to the development and manufacture of its products. However, it also understands that these objectives need to be sustained throughout all its business processes, and that includes the distribution and transportation of its end product."

Over the past few years Richard and his team have been tasked with examining the Swish distribution chain - from the vehicles used and driver conduct, to the planning of delivery routes - to ensure they are always operating as sustainably as possible. The team's first consideration was our fleet of delivery trucks, as Richard explains:

"As part of the European Union we adhered to the Euro Vehicle Rating, which measures vehicle emissions. The more advanced Euro Rating you have, the higher fuel efficiency the vehicle is likely to have. For example, it takes five Euro 6 Rated trucks to produce the same amount of NOx as just one Euro 5 Rated truck, and it takes three Euro 6 Rated trucks to produce the same particulate matter as just one Euro 5 Rated truck.

"We have been using Euro 6 Rated trucks for several years now and despite no longer being part of the European Union, we continue to use this rating system to ensure we are operating the most environmentally sound fleet of vehicles we can.

"The way these trucks are driven is also just as important as their emissions when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. This is why we've invested in a comprehensive state-of-the-art route planning system."

The route planning system allows drivers to see entire routes on screen, which enables them to plan the most efficient route possible. Having the ability to see all scheduled deliveries also means trucks can be loaded more effectively, making the most of a single journey and ensuring customers do not receive goods via multiple deliveries. Working in conjunction with the route planning system, we will also be introducing a tracking system which will monitor the actions of the individual driver rather than the vehicle.

Richard explains how the system will work: "The new tracking system will examine the actions of a vehicle's driver, from their braking and cornering to their speed, which will enable us to assess if an individual is driving economically. By monitoring this, we will be able to educate our drivers on best practice driving skills with regards to being more environmentally aware. We have also capped the maximum speed of our trucks to 56mph, despite high sided vehicles being able to travel at up to 60mph, which is not only helping to reduce fuel use but also keeping our drivers – and those around them – safer."

We have continued our commitment to sustainability within our supply chain with the recent purchase of eight new 18t rigid vehicles which will be delivered this September. These trucks are to replace our existing fleet and with the most up-to-date engine technology are more economical – and safer – than their predecessors.

"Sustainability is at the heart of every Swish business operation, and we are constantly looking at ways we can improve our processes with sustainability in mind," concludes Richard. "This latest investment in our fleet is just one example of our commitment to ensuring we are doing all we can to minimise our impact on the environment."