It is just over three years since our Equipment and Logistics directorate formally came into being and, during that time, it has undergone a steady transformation.

A strategic review carried out in 2020 concluded that the Equipment and Logistics function as it was then was not fit-for-purpose or sustainable. At that stage, National Equipment and Logistics Manager, Charlie Lott joined Fire and Emergency and, he says, ‘we set about looking at what needed to be done to develop our capability and capacity to become a modern, professional, and sustainable E&L function for Fire and Emergency’. 

To support Fire and Emergency’s ‘4 Rs’ – Risk Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery – Charlie says the team came up with their own ‘7 Rs’ model – getting the right equipment to the right people at the right time, at the right place, in the right condition, with the right support, at the right cost. The goal was for a nationally led and regionally executed equipment and logistics support system. 

‘We decided E&L would adopt a ‘from factory to fireground’ (end-to-end) approach to providing equipment and logistics support to firefighters. By treating Fire and Emergency suppliers as partners in E&L service provision, the E&L function could overcome its small size to achieve greater effects than would be possible by attempting to provide the support required organically.’ 

‘We also needed to move away from managing ‘supplies’ which is very tactical, to managing ‘suppliers’ as they were integrated into our equipment and logistics support networks, and we adopted a more strategic approach to providing equipment and sustaining the organisation’s equipment.’ 

Nationally, E&L supports Fire and Emergency from six Equipment and Logistics Service Centres, four stores, and two National Equipment and Distribution Centres (NEDC) – the NEDC supporting the South Island located at Rolleston and the NEDC supporting the North Island located at Tauranga. 

There is a large and diverse portfolio of over 150,000 items of operational equipment to look after.

The team has ‘bundled’ equipment into capability categories – that which is carried on a firefighter’s human frame which is firefighter equipment (PPE, BA, gas detection, thermal imaging, illumination (torches) – and that equipment which is carried on an appliance or vehicle which is firefighting equipment.  There are also specialist equipments (like line rescue equipment, water response equipment) that receive specialist support, so they are a stand-alone category. 

Charlie Lott, National Manager, Equipment and Logistics

While the transformation is still underway, Charlie says a lot has been achieved. 

‘We’ve managed to get a brand-new E&L Service Centre established in Tauranga (which also serves as the North Island Distribution Centre), and a new centre in Silverdale in Auckland that consolidates gear from nine non-fit-for-purpose sites in greater Auckland into a proper warehouse that is conveniently located so that it can service all of Te Hiku. We’re also looking at resilience infrastructure on the West Coast, in Southland, in lower Waikato, and the East Coast of the North Island (Bay of Plenty, Gisborne Tairāwhiti). 

‘We’ve also redesigned our hose maintenance system which, when implemented progressively, will allow us to treat all hose equally and to a common standard as a national firefighting equipment asset.’ 

And, Charlie says, managing suppliers and supplier relationships seems to be working well.  Our suppliers report very favourably on the way the new style relationships are working which is based on ‘if I gain – you gain’ from both our suppliers and our customers’ perspectives. 

Three of the achievements Charlie and the team are particularly pleased with are the development of an Equipment Asset Management System (EAMS) the Equipment Maintenance Framework and equipment Recommissioning and Functional Checks.  These have all been placed on the E&L InfoHub on the Portal so they are readily accessible by everyone in the organisation. 

You can read more about the transformation and what is yet to come on the E&L team pages.

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