FORS - the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme - is an accreditation scheme promoting best practice for commercial vehicle operators. The aim is to drive up the standards for safety, efficiency and environmental protection and accredited members of the scheme are required to show commitment to such standards well beyond the minimum legal requirements. There are three levels: bronze, silver and gold; each requiring increasingly stringent audits and evidence.
The FORS Association manages the standard and provides training and case studies, showing how being FORS accredited helps operators across the industry. There are now over 4,700 members but fewer than 800 have so far reached the Gold level. Many delivery contracts in London, in particular, now require the operator to be FORS accredited.
John Bourne & Co were early adoptors of the scheme, in line with our commitment to delivering the highest quality of service. We reached Gold status in 2016 and we have now passed our first regular audit, with Gold standard confirmed for another two years.
(See also the post on CLOCS.)
It can be a little tricky to see what this picture actually shows, but if you look carefully, you will see the Cutty Sark in the background. Here we are, fixing up the compacted lawns and laying new turf for idverde by the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. It's chilly work in January, but actually, it's quite a good case study of the care needed by hard-worn turf between seasons.
For this project, we first de-compacted the lawns using a vertidrainer with solid tines, to a depth of 8” in two directions. Then we used a Koro Field Top Maker over the surface to remove any existing vegetation. Next, we spread 70/30 rootzone to top dress the lawns and fill any low spots, and finally, laid 5,580 square metres (which is nearly the surface area of a standard football pitch) of Big Roll Grasslands Rysport turf.
Dear old Cutty Sark - one of the very last tea clippers, built in 1869, had a good run until 1922, when the steamship really had taken over, then used for training until 1954, since when she has been laid up at Greenwich. And now she sails the Rysport turf, forever heading North along the meridian.
The latest awards competition in the landscaping industry has been launched by Pro Landscaper magazine, together with its sister publication FutureArch. The very first of these Pro Landscaper Business Awards will be held at East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, on Friday 9 February.
We (Bourne Amenity, in this case) are sponsoring the National Grounds Maintenance Company category - and have ourselves been shortlisted for the "Supplier – Adding greatest value to the landscape sector" award... watch this space!
Phil Burdett is our Transport Manager - he is responsible for the Group's fleet of lorries and other vehicles. Not only does he look after the maintenance, supplies for and administration of the vehicles and associated infrastructure, but he is also the chief logistics brain for the John Bourne & Co lorries as they negotiate the public obstacle courses of SE England - a.k.a. our road network.
Phil has been with us for 11 years - first as a driver and then moving into his current position. Before that, he worked as a market trader - this must explain his sunny disposition and how he gets on so well with everybody. It is amazing how he can greet everybody with a cheery smile, even on a wet Monday morning. No doubt having a young family also helps with a positive outlook...
A great deal of Phil's work involves administration. Some of this is external, to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the authorities on HGV operators, and also to show to our customers that our commitment to safety and quality of service is second to none. The internal admin, though, is probably Phil's least favourite activity. Much of this stems from John Bourne & Co's unique role as transport operator both for group companies and external customers, while also being a supplier of agricultural lime, compost and aggregates. There can be quite a lot of paperwork associated with this combination, but he gets on with it, ably assisted by Liz. One of these days, we will come up with an improved system...
Now, logistics and problem-solving, that's what Phil really thrives on. There's always something new - vehicles finding interesting ways of breaking down or getting stuck, and road closures to think around. Although GPS and various forms of navigational aids make life easier, you still need a taxi-driver's knowledge of the roads and byways, together with a puzzle-solver's intuitive feel for the best way to look at a problem - that's our Phil!
Yesterday, I went to London to view the Islington Square development, where we are supplying intensive roof substrate to Scotscape for the fabulous roof gardens planned for this luxury development.
There was quite a lot of waiting involved in the day's events. I made it for 9am, as planned, but Drew got stuck in traffic and so, after hanging around outside the main gate for a while, I went to a nearby caff to warm up a bit. It was about +4 and this, combined with a really mean easterly straight from Siberia, made the streets of North London unusually grim. It was inevitable that, at the very moment I got my coffee, Drew should call and say he was nearly there.
So I went back to the gate and got some nice pictures of an articulated Steward's lorry arriving with lots of (old design) bulk bags. Had a nice chat with the driver while we were both waiting - the site management wouldn't let the lorry in until 11.30, although this wasn't what the driver had been told. Then Drew turned up and we needed to go round to the other gate, where we eventually were let in and met with Jozsef, our cheerful Russian friend from Scotscape. He took us up on the roofs of two of the development blocks and showed the plans. These will be super flats with views over the City in one direction and Hampstead in the other. The top-floor apartments will have individual gardens, each with endless swimming pools (i.e., fairly small ones with a turbine to keep a constant water flow for you to swim against) and with stunning views. Scotscape are making the gardens and, among other amazing statistics, these will include 600 linear metres of hedging.
It was cold on that roof, as you can perhaps see from the photo. Once the lorry was allowed in and the bags were being unloaded by crane from the yard up to one of the roofs, I shot a quick video and then we got out of the wind as fast as the semi-finished stairways would allow us. Drew and Jozsef went on to the now almost finished Vista development in Battersea, but I had my own driving and delivery job scheduled for the afternoon, so said cheers to Drew and до свидания to Jozsef.