Since 1904 International Paint has grown into the world’s leading manufacturer of paints and protective coatings for the marine industry. It is now a global player in the manufacture of yacht paints and protective coatings used on ships, oil and gas platforms and bridges.
Today it is part of the Akzo Nobel Group, and International Paint employs around 950 people at its 45-acre production facility in Gateshead. Although the company utilises the very latest technology and manufacturing techniques, the legacy of the past is never far away, as Chief Engineer Mike Higgins explains.
“The site has grown to cover steeply sloping land, and so the various buildings are located at different levels. This presents significant problems when it comes to transporting raw materials and finished products around the site and puts an immense strain on our material handling equipment.”
Having developed a long-term relationship over many years, International Paint works with Briggs Equipment, a national market leader in the supply of materials handling solutions, to provide machines, service and expert advice.
Continues Mike: “We receive good service and truck reliability from Briggs. Inevitably though, trucks do break down – especially when you consider the topography of the site, which can put extreme strains on the trucks as they move pallets, drums and other loads around the facilities.
“In the past, breakdowns and other issues have been verbally reported to the resident engineers by the operators or heads of department, and it was impossible to keep track of the whole fleet at any one time.”
To overcome this problem International Paint agreed to test a new asset management system, BE Fleet, at the Gateshead plant. Developed by Briggs Equipment in the USA, the system has been further developed and modified by Briggs Equipment UK to meet the needs of UK clients.
Since June 2009 International Paint has operated the BE Fleet system that provides a comprehensive, online management solution. Said Les Knight, Divisional UK Manager, BE Fleet: “International Paint are a valued, long standing client and we are delighted that they agreed to trial the BE Fleet system which we hope will be introduced at the company’s other facilities across the UK.
“The system has been developed to be as user friendly as possible. Our BE Fleet team undertake all the administration and will even input all the initial fleet data to facilitate a seamless transition from existing, internal systems. BE Fleet also provides training for all those using the system.”
Thanks to BE Fleet, Mike and his department heads have online access, and once fully implemented, real-time reporting. This means they can analyse operating costs per hour or per truck and identify underperforming vehicles as well as putting measures in place to reduce running costs. By having complete visibility of the fleet, this can help to reduce costs and drive efficiency.
What’s more, because BE Fleet is completely web-based there is no software to be installed, it’s accessed from any location and can be continually updated in real time. It can also be used to manage trucks supplied by multiple providers providing consolidated invoicing, greatly reducing administration.
Continued Mike: “Although it is early days, I’m really impressed with BE Fleet and it has already improved communications between ourselves and Briggs, as well as internally. Operating a fleet of vehicles can sometimes be difficult, because you just don’t know the status of each individual truck at any one time.
“The BE Fleet installation and data set up was completed by BE Fleet quickly and efficiently, which meant no disruption to our business and helped streamline processes. The solution is supported by a professional team, who take care of all elements including training.”