About

As a leading fleet management and maintenance operator we ensure safety, compliance, workforce competency and efficiency are at the centre of everything we do. We offer you complete peace of mind.

hero

Our Story

As a leading UK fleet management and maintenance company, VLS operates a fleet of more than 5,000 assets including Vans, HGV Trailers, and Large plant.

The diverse fleet assets range from company cars, small trailers, and aerial platforms to excavators and 44 tonne tankers. A team of specialist engineers and network of workshops ensures vehicles are fully compliant and off-road for minimum periods.

Our investment in technology means a digital fleet management system connects vehicle drivers, fleet management (database), workshops, suppliers (ordering and payment) and customers into a paperless, transparent process.

Our development and growth have come though providing outstanding customer service to businesses in the utility and local authority sectors. This sector experience and expertise is largely based on the foundations of the business.

VLS was originally founded in 1999 as a joint venture between Northumbrian Water Group and Northern Electric (which later became Northern Powergrid).

Today the two companies remain our major shareholders and strategic partners with a shared history and commitment to providing customer service excellence.

Both also provide strong financial stability and utility industry expertise with Northern Powergrid owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Northumbrian Water Group owned by the CKI Group.

VLS was shortlisted for a Fleet Industry award in 2019.

Dedicated Garage and Supplier Network

Our dedicated VLS workshops are supported by a supplier network providing a wide range of services ranging from standard maintenance to specialist technical support. Our fleet management team work closely with the workshops and supplier network to maximise vehicle use and expedite your repairs or maintenance in a timely manner.

The supplier network consists of partners that deliver consistent high-quality services. All partners undergo rigorous compliance auditing before being approved as part of the preferred supplier network and commit to maintaining the high standards required as a VLS supplier.

Technology

Our constant investment in technology means you have visibility of all key information and communications.

VLS provides an extensive vehicle management portal and communication platform to allow all customers access to their account. You can track the status of orders, fuel use information and costs, along with maintenance cost information, and scheduled maintenance.

The platform also allows you to see and monitor vehicle defects, maintenance histories of assets, driver pre-use checks and daily hires.

Our information systems allow complete visibility, through a single process – from the vehicle, driver, fleet management database, workshops, and suppliers through to the customer. All data from all workshops is available to view for both VLS, external auditors, the DVSA and you, the customer.

Using the VLS mobile app, your driver can see what maintenance events are due on the vehicle and able to perform their vehicle pre-use check and raise any defects.

Garage and Supplier Network

Our dedicated regional network of VLS workshops are supported by a supplier network providing a wide range of services ranging from standard maintenance to specialist technical support. Our fleet management team work closely with the workshops and supplier network to maximise vehicle utilisation and expedite the repair or maintenance in a timely manner.

The supplier network consists of partners that deliver consistent high-quality services to VLS and our customers. All partners on the network undergo rigorous compliance auditing before being approved as part of the preferred supplier network and commit to maintaining the high standards required as a VLS supplier.

Our Team

Our growing business is led by a highly experienced senior management team, who have a strong mix of expertise in finance, commercial vehicle and fleet management, maintenance, and customer service. We’re proud of this depth of quality, skills and professionalism.

Dan Keating

Dan Keating

Managing Director

Dan has more than 26 years’ experience within the transport and environmental industry. He joined VLS in 2009 and since then has overseen the development and modernisation of the business, providing a complete management and maintenance service for 5,000 vehicles. He is involved in the delivery of all key strategic aspects of the business. Qualified in transport management, he originally came to VLS having been a Director of Analytical and Environmental Services, the environmental consultancy division of Northumbrian Water, for 14 years.

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

Commercial Manager

Paul has worked in the vehicle rental and leasing sector for more than 25 years across a variety of roles including operations, sales, commercial and general management. He’s worked with Avis Europe, Nexus Vehicle Management and AMT Fleet solutions. He joined VLS in 2015 as Commercial Manager covering a wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities that ensures we deliver value to both the customers and our shareholders. He’s passionate about developing people and creating high performance teams while delivering great customer service that exceeds expectations.

Justin Bower

Justin Bower

Commercial Manager

Joined VLS after graduation in June 1999, becoming Commercial Manager in 2005. Responsible for the management of key client account relationships and a team producing detailed vehicle, plant and ancillary equipment specifications from the outset, through to procurement, build, delivery and on-going management of our fleets. He manages our fantastic, experienced team with the skill set to deliver for our major utility end-user owners and other corporate clients.

David Burn

David Burn

Operations Director

A transport professional with more than 40 years’ experience in vehicle leasing, specification, contract management and maintenance provision. All gained primarily within utility fleet operations. Having joined VLS at our inception in 1999, he is responsible for key elements of our ISO operational standards and the delivery of the fleet management and workshop services to our major utility and other corporate clients.

Joanne Wheatley

Joanne Wheatley

Finance Director

Having trained and qualified as an ACA with Ernst & Young LLP in 2001, she began her career as Group Accountant at national transport operator Go-Ahead Group plc. Since then, she has worked in finance in different industries, from colleges to housing associations, joining VLS as Finance Director in 2014.

Customer Experiences

 

“VLS keep us on the road and help keep the water flowing. They have become our fourth emergency service, and help us achieve our aim to get all of our drivers home safely

“My job managing a fleet of 1,400 vehicles and plant, that travel around 100,000 miles a month across Northumbria, Essex and Suffolk would be so much harder without VLS. They support us on everything from maintenance and repair through to our asset replacement programme.

“VLS also ensure we operate a safe and compliant fleet. We run a regulated fleet so everything must be compliant and well maintained. VLS support us on all matters related to effective fleet management.”

Kate Wilson

Transport Manager, NWL

“I am genuinely impressed by the level of communication with VLS; it’s always clear and concise, keeping me informed on all important matters.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble. When I’ve had cause to call, you can’t do enough. If I have a problem you take complete responsibility, own that problem and come back with a solution. It’s exemplary service.”

Glenn Drury

Resource Manager, Integrated Utility Services

“We lease several small wheelchair accessible vehicles from VLS and have done over the past 6 years. Whilst we are a relative small company the customer service VLS provide is excellent.

VLS are always quick to respond with support when we need it, ensuring we can continue being a life line for our customers.”

Daniel Davis

Fleet Manager, BSEVC

Sustainability & CSR

We know that sustainability and the impact on our communities in which we work are as important to you as they are to us.

At VLS we pride ourselves in our approach to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

We work closely with our parent organisations and suppliers to minimise the waste generated by our operations and reduce the carbon footprint of our organisation.

In 2020, 46 tonnes of waste oils and other workshop waste associated with vehicle maintenance was recycled, with only 6% of our general waste entering landfill. Our aim is to reduce this further in the years to come.

We also monitor fuel use for business mileage, electricity and materials consumed to determine the CO2e releases associated with our operations. Developments in online meetings have significantly reduced our business mileage and initiatives such as the introduction of LED lighting in the workshops and a move to electronic documentation continue to help reduce our impact.

The move to alternatively fuelled vehicles is accelerating and we are able to provide you with technical support and advice on the most appropriate vehicle technologies to improve their environmental credentials. Our workshop technicians are being trained to cover maintenance of electric vehicles (EVs) and we are installing charging points at workshops to increase the available infrastructure for customers.

Elsewhere, VLS supports local communities and charities such as Marie Curie through sponsored events such as the Ben Nevis challenge, raising around £3,500. More recent events have been curtailed due to COVID restrictions but there are plans for future events.