Southern Water serves 4.6 million customers across Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and together with its customers and communities, provides sustainable, high-quality water and wastewater services to create a resilient future for water in the South East. With water vital to every aspect of our daily lives, Southern Water works hard to maintain essential services, making its fleet crucial – particularly during these challenging times.
The utility company was looking for a new fleet funding and management partner to help improve its business operations and support it in taking incremental steps towards improved safety and an overall greener fleet. Alphabet collaborated with Southern Water to first identify new, efficient vans for the fleet and then started work on a ground-breaking livery solution to improve safety for essential workers carrying out operations on the roadside at night.
Together with its conversion partner Mediafleet, Alphabet created a bespoke and pioneering livery using a reflective material developed with Southern Water’s branding team. The new livery provided a solution for both day and night settings, matching brand colours perfectly, in contrast to previous reflective material used, which gave a distorted view of key colours in daylight. This enabled Southern Water to incorporate the vinyl into its logo across its entire portfolio. The reflective vinyl improves safety for those working on the roadside at night and extends brand awareness throughout more hours of the day.
With Alphabet maintaining business as usual operations throughout national lockdowns, the project progressed without delay. 360-degree imaging of both the interior and exterior of the vehicles was used to provide Southern Water with a fully remote reviewing process of conversion, meaning decision makers could avoid in-person visits, whilst continuing to progress the build.
Alphabet begun replacing Southern Water’s c. 700 LCV fleet in December 2020, delivering an initial batch including Volkswagen Caddy and Crafter, Vauxhall Combo and Vivaro and a Toyota Hilux. 275 orders have been placed so far, with additional orders for over half of Southern Water’s remaining fleet expected to be renewed this year.
Alphabet also developed an online ordering portal where the full Southern Water conversion catalogue was held, including additional CAD drawings and 360-degree images of the completed vehicles. Managers were able to track vehicles from point of order through to delivery and access visual representations of each vehicle when ordering, giving the customer complete transparency.
Martin Mitton, Fleet Contract Manager at Southern Water says: “In choosing Alphabet for this contract it was important we found a supplier who understood our safety and efficiency needs. We’re looking forward to rolling out a new fleet not only liveried in our new brand but with enhanced visibility for our front-line workers.”
Dan Broom, Corporate Sales Manager at Alphabet (GB) says: “This has been a great project to work on with Southern Water and we’re delighted with the ground-breaking livery we’ve been able to create together. With Southern Water’s focus on safety, we really wanted to provide a bespoke solution that met their requirements, whilst providing exceptional value. The new reflective material offers us a new way to approach branding for our customers and helps increase safety for those fleets that are required to work at night. We’re looking forward to further innovative collaboration with Southern Water in 2021, as we continue to transition their fleet across to Alphabet.”
Barnaby Smith, Managing Director at Mediafleet says: “The new vinyl livery we created for the Southern Water fleet has been a great success, and we’re as thrilled as Southern Water is with the results. We believe this new approach to livery will become hugely popular across fleets as operators start to see its potential. Not only does it improve visibility of workers at night, but also increases brand awareness without compromising the integrity of company branding.”