Continental’s seven-year relationship with Lanarkshire-based public- and private-hire bus operator, Whitelaws, has gone from strength to strength. The firm was an early adopter of Continental Digital Solution’s proprietary tyre pressure monitoring system, ContiPressureCheck, which garnered praise in a Continental testimonial back in 2016. The system has been deployed across its 23-strong fleet of service buses and is a mainstay of the company’s tyre maintenance schedule.
“The system has undoubtedly saved us a significant amount of money over the years,” explains company director, George Whitelaw. “Before we installed the system from Continental Digital Solutions, we were reliant on simply looking at the tyres daily and giving them a thorough inspection every couple of weeks. That’s not the case now. The in-cab display warns us of any issues as they occur, so we’re able to stop the vehicle and remedy the situation before it becomes serious.”
George suggests that, since installing ContiPressureCheck in 2015, the bus operator has only suffered around 10 roadside incidents, such is the effectiveness of the system. Prior to its use, the business averaged one terminal puncture a week across the fleet at a cost of around £400 per tyre. Now, with early detection allowing for repairs to be made, George believes it saves a minimum of £20,000 per year on replacement rubber.
As a local bus operator, Whitelaws suffer other associated costs attributed to a roadside breakdown. Financial penalties for lateness and delays, the need to provide a replacement bus with a driver and the potential vehicle damage caused by a rapid deflation. Not forgetting that frustrated customers and the visibility of a stranded bus would harm the company’s reputation.
“Tyre waste was huge,” George adds, “and they’re very expensive if you’re having to replace them earlier than you would otherwise need to. Managing costs is critical to any business, and we need to extract the maximum life out of a tyre without, of course, compromising the safety of our customers and others on the road. It’s saved us money in the workshop by allowing us to be more efficient and the bus is not off the road for so long, which means it can spend longer in revenue earning service.
“I’m also able to forecast tyre life cycles using the pressures, which has helped us to optimise our tyre supply contract.”
For Whitelaws, the new relationship with Continental Digital Solutions coincided with a switch to running Continental tyres across its fleet. The contract, operated by R&J Strang, has helped to provide further efficiency gains for the business.
“Not only do the tyres return a greater mileage than those from our last supplier, but R&J Strang is also able to provide a one-stop service whereby the ContiPressureCheck sensors are pre-fitted to our new tyres. It’s a much simpler and easier process for us as I can fit six new tyres to a vehicle in as little as half an hour. All I have to do is recalibrate the sensors, road test the vehicle and retorque the nuts and it’s ready for service.”
Whitelaws’ long-standing partnership with the Continental Digital Solutions team has seen the pair establish a strong professional relationship based on trust, understanding and exceptional service. The bus company has closely followed the development of Continental’s technology and is excited about the latest innovations facilitated by the second-generation Continental Digital Solutions sensor.
“I’m always keen to see what Continental is going to launch next,” George says. “For all the cost benefits that ContiPressureCheck brings us, it’s just as much about safety. People are trusting us with their safety every time they board one of our buses, and it’s both a huge responsibility and a huge liability. The system provides us with peace of mind and any new features can only help to increase that further.
“Ultimately, ContiPressureCheck works very well and can save you a lot of money,” he concludes. “It’s the best system I’ve seen in the market.”