The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a national accreditation scheme which measures fleet performance and aims to drive up standards across areas such as; fuel efficiency, carbon emissions and road safety. FORS is entirely voluntary, and is open both to firms operating fleets of commercial vehicles and businesses awarding contracts to them. Its goal is to set best practice standards within the transport sector, and FORS-accredited firms are expected to deliver continual improvements in areas mentioned above.
Q: What are the primary benefits of FORS for fleets?
A: FORS offers a range of advantages to fleets. In particular, it can help fleet operators deliver major improvements to their overall efficiency – and hence their bottom line – by reducing fuel consumption, improving road safety, boosting their productivity and enhancing standards across a wide variety of indicators. This can all add up to deliver significant reductions in costs for fleet operators, as well as ensuring better sustainability (both environmental and financial) for the long term. According to a University of Westminster study cited here, the combined reduction in carbon emissions in London from FORS silver-accredited firms amounted to around 18,500 tonnes per year.
Q: How can a fleet achieve FORS accreditation?
A: There are in fact three different levels of FORS accreditation – bronze, silver and gold. Fleets can apply for FORS bronze simply by signing up via the FORS website and registering. Once their registration has been approved, firms undergo an initial audit within 90 days. They are then asked to resolve any shortcomings flagged up during the audit process before going forward to a second audit and then, potentially, bronze accreditation. The process for silver and gold accreditation is similar. Firms which register with FORS must achieve bronze accreditation within 90 days of doing so.
Q: How do fleets progress from Bronze accreditation to Silver or Gold?
A: For a start, Bronze-accredited fleets need to work actively to maintain that accreditation before they can then move on to Silver status. In order to achieve Silver accreditation, firms must meet the CLOCS Standard for Construction Logistics and also be compliant with Transport for London’s WRRR (Work Related Road Risk) standard. To earn FORS Gold accreditation, fleets must – among other things – promote the FORS Standard throughout the supply chain as well as demonstrating marked improvements over the FORS Silver standard. Data including miles per gallon, incidents per 110kms and number of penalty charge notices accumulated are used to determine whether or not a firm is operating at the required standard for FORS Gold accreditation.
Q: How do drivers benefit from FORS?
A: Drivers can embark on FORS-approved training courses to help them maintain and improve their driving standards, as well as enhancing road safety through courses such as Safe Urban Driving and expanding their overall knowledge base. This in turn should therefore help to boost their productivity and reduce the risk of incurring fines in the event of accidents and safety breaches, thereby providing fleet operators with serious benefits themselves.
Q: What can FORS do to help boost fleet efficiency?
A: As well as training drivers to drive more considerately (and therefore more efficiently, saving on fuel and cutting down carbon emissions), FORS offers a range of other benefits to fleet operators looking to improve overall efficiency. It provides a range of toolkits to help fleets make improvements across the board. These include a performance management system helping fleets improve safety and efficiency as they progress up the FORS accreditation levels, a fuel use tracker to monitor and record fuel usage, a cycle safety toolkit and anti-idling toolkits.
Q: What is a FORS champion and how can a fleet operator become one?
A: FORS champions are firms – fleets and contractors alike – which both promote the accreditation scheme and work to drive up standards in the field, setting an example for others to follow and pioneering higher standards of best practice in safety, environmental protection and efficiency. In order to become a FORS champion, fleets will need to demonstrate at least one of two things: firstly, that FORS standards are fundamental to their supply chain or operational activities, and secondly, that they are promoting FORS to suppliers and subcontractors. FORS champions will also need to continually demonstrate that they are monitoring and enforcing compliance with FORS. There is no additional charge for becoming a FORS champion.
Q: Can technology help firms achieve and maintain FORS accreditation?
A: Technologies such as telematics and fleet management software can provide fleets with a big helping hand in their efforts to secure FORS accreditation. Telematics can drastically simplify the processes associated with fleet management, providing fleet managers with previously unheard-of levels of insight into the performance of both vehicles and drivers. It can facilitate dynamic, real-time route planning and track the progress of vehicles, as well as providing an in-depth picture of how vehicles and drivers perform. This better enables fleet managers to devise strategies to improve any shortcomings, boosting productivity and cutting fuel use, and hence carbon emissions. This can stand fleets in good stead when attempting to achieve or improve their FORS accreditation. Furthermore, telematics features such as fuel card integration and driver score cards can help fleets provide the evidence they require to work their way up through the different FORS accreditation levels.