London Concrete, part of Aggregate Industries, is the leading ready mixed concrete supplier in the Greater London area. The company operates 94 concrete mixer trucks, out of 12 depots across the Capital and the neighbouring county Surrey.
Boasting an impressive client list, the company has played a helping hand in some prestigious major projects, including the Olympic Park, The Shard, Terminal 5 at Heathrow and the Crossrail project.
Being a supplier for projects on this scale often means that deliveries have to happen outside of ‘regular’ working hours, both in the evening and at weekends and that means having to meet with the rules of the London Lorry Control Scheme as laid out by London Councils.
For ‘regular’ hauliers, that most likely means a longer route in order to keep to the Excluded Road Network, but for London Concrete it meant a complete re-think for night time routing.
Gary Power, Production Manager at London Concrete explains: “Concrete is a live product and has a very limited shelf life, on average only about 2 hours so as a business we can’t afford to use long routes to make deliveries.
“Unfortunately, the restrictions that are imposed by the London Lorry Control Scheme meant that in the past we would either have to risk getting a fine or have to turn work away as we couldn’t guarantee the quality of our product.
“The problem often came from the fact that we were approaching night time and weekend routing in the same way as we did the daytime. The obvious approach to making a delivery is to send a vehicle from the nearest depot. But when you take into account the fact that the route from the nearest depot is much longer thanks to restricted roads, then it makes sense to look at other depots as the start point for your delivery.
“We’ve got 12 depots across London so identifying the best start point for a given destination isn’t always obvious, but now we have the London Lorry Route Approver, it’s simple. When I plan a route from one depot, the system generates a route and I can easily identify if one of our other locations will be able to make the journey in less time.”
“The Route Approver system means we can be confident we’ll deliver in good time and it gives me the peace of mind that our trucks and drivers are where they should be.”
Despite the issues the Lorry Control Scheme causes Gary, he’s quick to point out that it does serve a purpose. “The lorry ban is fair, I certainly wouldn’t want trucks driving down my road in the middle of night. But there have been occasions when it has just seemed impossible to generate a route that would allow us to get concrete on site in time.”
“That’s when the guys at PIE Mapping have been really helpful. When I’ve pointed out that we can’t physically do the route that the system has generated, PIE have worked with us and London Councils to get more flexibility in their routes and for a company like ours that relies on quick deliveries at any time of night and day, that’s exactly what we need. ”