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  • Writer's pictureBarry Michael Aldridge

Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations

Here, Flotec’s Head of Marketing, Barry Michael Aldridge, discusses sustainability and the urgent race towards net zero.


“I was recently approached by a large rail organisation and asked how Flotec is addressing sustainability issues, the race to meet global net zero targets and how we, as an SME supply chain manufacturer plans to work towards leaving a legacy for future generations.


Not at all a light subject, I spent some time evaluating the questions raised and examined Flotec’s environmentally friendly and sustainable working practices and future vision.


This is what I came up with:


Flotec is committed to creating a safe, healthy, green, and sustainable environment.


As such, empathy towards the environment is prominent within Flotec's CSR Duty of Care manual and is further bolstered by an official environmental policy with clearly defined objectives.


It is important for Flotec to collaborate with suppliers who not only agree with and adhere to Flotec’s environmental ethics but can also supply high quality and fit-for-purpose products using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials.


As such, Flotec is an official Gates hydraulics distributor. Gates is renowned worldwide for supplying a robust, reliable, and exceptionally high-quality industrial product.


Importantly, Gates is committed to sustainability with a GTES system implemented throughout the organisation, consisting of, governance, technology, environment, and stewardship.


Gates products are designed with the environment in mind, aimed at increasing energy efficiency, minimizing ecological impacts, and reducing emissions.


Flotec capitalizes upon the Gates sophisticated eco-driven materials and science-based technology, resulting in sustainable improvements and cradle-to-grave transparency, measurability, and continuous improvement capability.


A state-of-the-art materials database reports total material application, highlighting materials of concern and proposals of substitution on an on-going basis.


The Flotec vision is to supply rail clients with a superior and improved product performance and extended asset life, further bolstered by enhanced performance and reliability to the UK rail network.


Being a Gates distributor supports this aspiration.


Flotec itself, operates from one centrally located solar powered manufacturing facility.


The company deploys dedicated sustainability initiatives throughout the business, including vehicle tracking and eco-driving integrations, re-packaging and re-using material procedures, paper-less working processes (through the application of digital technology) and overall company recycling and green working practices.


As an employee-owned trust, all team members are engaged with working smarter and greener to the benefit of the environment and have continuous improvement ethics and systems in place.


All employees live locally to Flotec’s eco-manufacturing facility and are either encouraged to car share, cycle, walk or use public transport and where appropriate, hybrid and/or remote working is allowed.


Flotec is open and transparent with regards to its environmental activities, endeavours and continuous improvements and encourages stakeholder collaboration with both the rail sector and other market segments in discovering and developing new enviro-innovations.


Flotec is empathetic towards environmental sociology and how the interactions of our combined societies can impact the natural geographies within which we all live and work.


Flotec understands the need to reduce detrimental effects to the environment and its importance, not just for the ‘here and now’ but also, towards the benefit of our future generations.


Taking homage from the traditional seven Ps of marketing (product, price, promotion, place, people, processes, and packaging), Flotec has developed the following seven Sustainable Ps:


  • Sustainable Place (UK solar powered manufacturing plant and head office)

  • Sustainable People (employee and wider stakeholder enviro/socio behaviour)

  • Sustainable Procurement (selective choosing of preferred suppliers & aligned ethics)

  • Sustainable Processes (sustainable manufacturing processes and business conduct)

  • Sustainable Products (sustainably procured and manufactured products which reduce downtime, increase asset efficiency, lower cost, and have socio-enviro benefits)

  • Sustainable Packaging (reduced plastic and re-used and recycled materials)

  • Sustainable Portage (enviro-friendly and economical delivery and transportation)


Flotec has aligned ethical and commercial objectives by partnering with Gates and other prominent suppliers/stakeholders to deliver sustainable and high-quality products to the UK rail market.

Socio-Enviro Benefits:


By this, Flotec means supplying products which will reduce critical machinery downtime and increase asset efficiency to support the sector in its duty of making the UK rail network safer and more reliable whilst minimising service disruption to the passengers and operators who rely on it.


None of which is harmful to local ecological systems within which any supplied equipment is operating.


It is important to reduce any risk of hose damage and failure which is a major cause of costly downtime and disruption to works.


Hose splitting, bursting and/or leakage also yields detrimental effects upon the environment.


With the Flotec Rail Division mission statement being:


“To be a trusted and leading supplier of reliable hose and engineering solutions to the rail market.”


It is of strategic necessity to ensure the company delivers the highest possible quality and performing product whilst remaining compliant and ethical.


This is where collaboration, substantial research, development, and testing with key stakeholders is essential in meeting company objectives to the betterment of both rail and the planet.


As an example, Flotec shortens hose lengths to improve routing and reduce ballast strikes.


The Flotec MED-HT hydraulic hose has been proven to withstand temperatures up to 150oC and is tested to 600,000 impulse cycles (far surpassing the standard 200,000), making the life of the product three times longer than other hose products on the market.

The accompanying MegaCrimp coupling application uses a c-insert engineering innovation to guarantee a leak free application. Further TuffCoat coatings deliver a product 4x more resistant to corrosion compared to alternative products on the market.


Flotec offers abrasion resistant hose coverings as part of its supply to yellow plant and track maintenance machines. These come in the guise of MegaTuff and XtraTuff.


MegaTuff provides a long-lasting solution to hose abrasion due to its innovative cover made from a unique hybrid compound. Additional benefits include resistance to oil, ozone, UV rays, chemicals, and general weathering.

MegaTuff has been proven to be over 300x more abrasion resistant than other hose products on the market thanks to its specially bonded material which makes it resistant to peeling.

The XtraTuff product is ideal for heavy working conditions requiring hose flexibility and reverse bending capabilities in environments such as track and rail maintenance.

As well as being incredibly robust and flexible, XtraTuff is 25x more abrasion resistant than standard hydraulic hose coverings as per ISO 6954 standards.


Flotec also offers LifeGuard sleeves which provide fluid containment of up to 70 MPa bursts and pinhole leaks up to 35,0 MPa. This product complies with ISO 3457 regulations and meets MSHA flame resistant standards.


All Flotec rail products are EN 45545-2 fire safe compliant.


Flotec’s products help prevent fluid spillage, leakage and loss which can be harmful to eco-enviro-systems.


Supporting Local Communities:


Flotec is committed to supporting its people and the local community and as such, has become a government approved disability confident employer. In addition to this, two members of the Flotec team are St John Ambulance trained ‘Workplace Mental Wellbeing First Aiders’.


Support is also given to Leicester-based RAD (Recovery Assistance Dogs) whose purpose is to support people living with mental health conditions by helping them train their assistance dogs and companion dogs to the highest standards. RAD provides other forms of mental health care and support activities to local communities within Leicestershire & Rutland.


A social media initiative, #sharetocare has been launched to raise money and awareness about a series of good causes close to the hearts of Flotec employees, consisting of: Cancer Research UK, Midlands Air Ambulance, Stop Hate UK, Little Princess Trust, Mind, National Eczema Society, and the Blue Cross.


Ecosia – A Sustainable Search Engine:


I am currently encouraging Flotec employees to use Ecosia as a preferred search engine of choice, when looking things up online.


Ecosia’s search engine is powered by Microsoft Bing and as such, its AI and data is incredibly powerful.


Ecosia donates 100% of its profits to non-profit organisations focusing on reforestation. Ecosia is a social business, reporting to be CO2-negative, and supports full financial transparency whilst protecting the privacy of its users.


With a new tree planted via every search conducted and a commitment to data protection and user privacy, I recommend Ecosia as the search engine of choice not only to the rail sector but more, to everyone.


More users, more tree’s planted!


Simple!


Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations:


Flotec has been pivotal in disrupting the rail market with new, unique, innovative, and superior products which have been proven to reduce downtime and increase productivity and machine efficiency.


One of Flotec’s core values is innovation, with the statement being:


“To continuously investigate and find new ways of doing things for the better.”


Evidence of this is Flotec being appointed an official innovations partner with Angel Trains.


Flotec believes that the continuous investigation and trying of new things will help to leave a legacy for future generations and suggests that stakeholder collaboration will be a critical success factor in making this vision a reality.


To Summarize:


Flotec has developed an eco-friendly company culture with sustainable stakeholder supply chain relationships whilst ensuring to provide the UK rail network with reliable, market leading products to support the net zero mission:


Understanding the journey and final destination:


Flotec understands that sustainability is a journey of collaboration, discovery and innovation with the final destination being to reach net zero.


Flotec relishes shared initiatives to help us all reach our destination as quickly and efficiently as possible.


The sustainability challenges we face are not only for the present generations but for the near, medium, and far future generations, yet to come.


Net zero is everyone’s responsibility and Flotec is very much looking forward to welcoming people and organisations in supporting us to help realise our now and future vision.


My Conclusion:


There is NO Plan B!


Planet Earth not only belongs to us but also, our future generations.


This mission is collaborative, and the journey belongs to all of us to make the net zero vision and destination a reality.


No one singular person or company can make this happen but, together, we can.


This target does have a clearly defined objective and key result (OKR) whereby (I believe), it can go one of two ways:


1. We carry on ‘as is’ and crash and burn into a situation of irreversible global destruction

2. We work together to make things better for the now and the future


The destination is:


Net Zero.


I have written elsewhere about creative and neurodivergent thinkers being a critical success factor in making big, hairy, and audacious goals (BHAG’s) a reality and the importance of appointing/electing this way of thinking onto board/leadership level.


Combine this with science, technology, marketing, engineering, and finance… I genuinely believe that we can together, make things better.”


Barry Michael Aldridge FCIM CMktr - Head of Marketing for Flotec Industrial Limited

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