Leeds-based auto engineering business SM UK, which specialises in vehicle fit-out and safety systems, has won a contract to improve and update an initial northern-based fleet of 34 vehicles for energy services business Energy Assets Utilities.
Following a trial on an initial three vehicles, the £250,000 contract will see SM UK replace outdated wooden storage shelving inside the Energy Assets Utilities vans – used to carry out metering and network services work for the firm’s utilities clients across the UK – with state-of-the-art lightweight and secure storage systems.
Ben Holleyhead, of Energy Assets Utilities plant and fleet division, said: “As an independent network provider we work on a range of sites across the country and travel with tools and materials in the back of the vans at all times.
“SM UK are installing the new high tech racking system into the back of our vans and they’ve been able to fit it to the bespoke design we wanted. We have had three vans completed so far and it has made a real difference to the safety of the vehicles because the tools and kit can be much better organised. We’ve also had really good feedback from staff, who find the new system much more ergonomic and professional.”
He added: “One of the first things we have noticed is the big improvement in fuel efficiency of the vehicles – the new systems are actually 65kg lighter than our old wooden ones. The benefits for us as a business have been immediate and we are looking to roll out the new system across the whole Energy Assets Utilities fleet.”
SM UK managing director Steve MacDonald, who started the £5m turnover auto-electrics business from his garden shed in 2000, said: “We are all about helping our clients to make their vehicles safer and more efficient to operate, as well as helping them to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, which is an important step in tackling climate change.
“The high-tech new storage systems which we fit from our new 10,000 sq ft Leeds van conversion centre are currently in high demand as firms look to update vans across their fleets to increase vehicle efficiency and increase the payload which can be carried.”
SM UK employs 60 people at its Leeds headquarters and nationwide fleet of mobile engineers. Its HALO cyclist awareness system for vehicles was shortlisted for the 2018 Brake Fleet Safety Awards.