phs Besafe Helps Keep Virgin Trains East Coast Workwear on Track
The straight-talking, clear-thinking attitude of Virgin Trains East Coast has helped to make it a household name throughout the UK. As a business, not only does it value its customers but also its staff – those working front of house, as well as those who keep things ticking over behind the scenes.
Operating on routes totalling 936 miles, Virgin Trains East Coast runs and maintains 44 electric and diesel engines, employing 3,250 employees at stations, offices and depots from London to Inverness. With so many valuable assets, the train operating company understands the necessary procedures that must be implemented for the smooth and safe running of its trains to ensure the care of its personnel and allow for continued improvements to its services and environmental performance.
With key train maintenance depots in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and a continuous programme of upgrading trains and station facilities, Virgin Trains East Coast needed a nationwide workwear service that could effectively and reliably supply and maintain suitable clothing, including protective garments. Any employee involved in moving locomotives and carriages around the depot needed to be issued with comfortable high visibility clothing. Other personnel required functional workwear suited to their particular role.
A wide range of crucial jobs in each of the depots meant that one size most certainly would not fit all. So Virgin Trains East Coast sought out a supplier who could not only provide a range of garments to suit various roles but also one that could offer the necessary attention when it came to maintaining the workwear.
Having used phs Besafe in previous years for laundering antimacassars and cloths, the purchasing team at Virgin Trains East Coast was aware of the service offered by the UK's leading commercial laundry service provider.
Kevin MacMahon, phs Besafe’s Business Development Manager, was able to meet with Bryan Winslow, Fleet Procurement and Materials Manager, and the various depot Team Managers at Virgin Trains East Coast to discover the needs of employees. During discussions, Kevin gained an insight into the variety of workwear required – a range of polycotton garments in high visibility orange for those working outdoors where vehicles and/or poor lighting may pose safety risks; and a practical array of polycotton clothing in black or navy for those working inside. The garments were provided on a full rental agreement that included all garments including logos, the laundering of these items and any repairs or alterations needed throughout the contract term.
Practicalities such as the number of pockets required by engineers, for example, were also taken into consideration. All employees nationwide requiring the workwear were measured with a pre-washed sizing kit. With phs Besafe’s fully managed workwear service including bulk collection units and lockers, Virgin Trains East Coast can also expect all workwear to be laundered on a regular basis and returned to site ready for use.
This managed workwear service is available to all three Virgin Trains East Coast maintenance depots in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The number of personnel using the laundry service at Bounds Green in London amounts to approximately 220 with a further 300 employees making use of the service in Scotland.
Using phs Besafe to manage workwear couldn’t be easier. Employees simply place soiled items in a bulk collection unit which is regularly emptied by service personnel who transport them to phs Besafe’s specialist laundries located throughout the UK. Here, gentle washing and drying processes thoroughly clean the garments using organic detergents before they are returned directly to the named employee’s locker - laundered, odour-free and irritant-free without compromising high visibility properties or removing the applied logo.
Whilst at phs Besafe premises, the workwear is also examined for damage and any required repairs are completed. Alterations can also be carried out to ensure correct, comfortable and safe fitting. Barcoding of each garment provides a link to the relevant employee, and an easy way to track and report on laundry and repair history, piece by piece.
By utilising its fleet of service vehicles, its network of laundries and a knowledgeable sales and administration team, phs Besafe can offer a genuine nationwide service to Virgin Trains East Coast whether they use purchased or rented workwear.
Christopher Pursand, Production Assistant at Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “At Virgin Trains we’ve had a great experience working with phs Besafe. Our people have very positive feedback about the quality and design of the garments. The locker service is a great idea and the garments always come back as expected. Our experience with the admin service has been exceptional and we cannot fault it at all.”