Introducing The Shop Van

With 17500 homes and approximately 600 public buildings to look after on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, we’re always looking at ways we can improve customer service, cut waiting times and increase productivity, and we get terribly excited when an idea for a new way of working comes from our team.

One such initiative has recently been rolled out by our Stores Team. We’re calling it the “Shop Van.”

We noticed that a lot of time was being wasted by our Tradespeople who had to come all the way back to our Cromer Road depot if they needed a part or piece of equipment midway through a job. In some cases, this could be up to a fifteen-mile round trip so there was a large cost consideration as well as the time wasted by our Operatives and the customers waiting for them.

The Shop Van sees two fully stocked vans being placed at either end of the city during the working day, to ensure that any Operatives who need parts or equipment during the day can access the van rather than driving back to HQ.

We’ve already seen the positive effects this is having:

  1. Operatives save time as they don’t need to travel as far to pick up parts.
  2. Customers aren’t waiting for Operatives when parts are needed – meaning their precious time isn’t being wasted.
  3. Reduced fuel costs – meaning a smaller carbon footprint.

Stores Manager Emma Sloan said, “located in the ST3 and ST6 areas, the vehicles hold Joinery and Plumbing materials. These materials were determined by examining usage over a period of time. As well as delivering order materials, van stocks are replenished and they attend local external suppliers when needed. This has reduced the waiting times to under 10 minutes.”

So far, the Shop Van has been a massive success – so much so that we’re considering the use of a third van in another area of the city.

Continuing with the efficiency overhaul, the stores team is also now operating a text messaging service to all operatives to communicate deliveries and locations which reduces call times and office queries.


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