Main content | back to top
All in a day’s work...
Tommy Duncombe of SIG Trading Limited shares some of the challenges and rewards of running a large fleet.
“SIG has 430 sites spread around the UK and the recent acquisition of more than 250 new sites by Shell will help make it easier for SIG drivers to source fuel.”
SIG Trading Limited (SIG) supplies building materials to businesses across the UK, including insulation, roofing, and fixings products. The company has a large network of sites throughout the country – which has been in operation since 1957 and has grown considerably over the years – it is now one of the largest suppliers of construction materials in Europe. Business is brisk and Tommy Duncombe, UK Logistics Administration Manager for SIG, is a very busy man.
"We have a fleet of around 500 vans, 750 commercial vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes and around 1,050 cars,” he says. “I’m responsible for our accident management, order numbers and invoicing processes, driving licence auditing and checking, car procurement and maintenance, and our Commercial Driver Certificate of Professional Competence training. On top of that, I look after our fuel purchasing – we spend around £16–17 million a year on fuel.”
SIG Trading has been in partnership with Shell since September 2011 and uses Shell fuel cards. With a fleet the size of SIG’s, costs are under regular review but the decision to use Shell was down to more than just the cost – the company already had a strong relationship with Shell account manager
Andy Gray, plus the size of the Shell network was a big draw.
“SIG has 430 sites spread around the UK and the recent acquisition of more than 250 sites by Shell will help make it easier for SIG drivers to source fuel.”
Despite the pressures on Tommy’s time, decisions aren’t made lightly and he took some time out from his busy schedule on a couple of occasions to visit Shell’s Stanlow refinery. “I went to find out more about fuel production and what Shell is all about,” he says.
“It was really interesting to get an understanding of the technology involved in the production of fuel and lubricants and how Shell is trying to make fuel more efficient.”
However, Tommy is a pragmatist – in his job you have to be:
“A fuel like Shell FuelSave Diesel can save money but the problem for us is we have several older vehicles in our fleet with several miles on the clock, and just putting in a fuel like Shell FuelSave Diesel might not generate the cost savings it would in a brand new vehicle. It is also important that you don’t mix fuels and that you use the correct lubricants. For me, it is getting the balance between all those things right so as to achieve the best performance from our vehicles.
We see cost-saving claims and efficiencies in all areas of our industry, and that’s great if you’re running vehicles in a perfect world but the weather changes, road conditions change and the drivers make a difference. We are trying to make a difference with the type of fuel we use and Andy is helping SIG to try and achieve this.”
The relationship between Shell and SIG has been strengthened further through Shell’s involvement in SIG’s ‘Driver of the Year’ competition. The competition is a forward-thinking move by SIG as an incentive to encourage their drivers to perform better over several different areas, including fuel efficiency, safe braking and safe handling.
“They are in front of the customer, battling traffic and are expected to get the deliveries to our customers on time, so we thought it was about time we recognised the work they do and rewarded our good drivers through our Driver of the Year event.”
For someone with a job like Tommy’s, there’s never a quiet moment.