Ten tips for effective fleet management

Today there is a veritable plethora of technology, services and facilities that can or will improve particular aspects of the performance of a fleet. These solutions seek to address many of the issues which might well be faced by a fleet operator. However, in identifying those solutions which will represent justifiable investment opportunities, it’s necessary to have a real understanding of the real requirements of the organisation as well as the performance standards currently being attained.
   
In most organisations, evolution of their business model, developments in the marketplace and changes in legislation mean that things are likely to change. Keeping the following ten step plan in mind will ensure that any new techniques adopted will make a positive contribution to the overall effectiveness of the fleet.

Clarity of Purpose
Be sure that the rationale behind operating the fleet and the purpose to which vehicles or groups of vehicles will be put is clearly understood.

Develop the policy
Establish and confirm the structure of the scheme; how the vehicles will be provided, ranging from fully expensed company cars right through to business use of a privately owned car; vehicle bands to reflecting employee status, extent of permitted driver choice and the replacement life and mileage.

Establish processes
Develop processes to support the policy and deliver the required outcomes. These will include arrangements for drivers to access servicing and maintenance facilities, a method for obtaining fuel, appropriate reporting processes for the driver as well as arrangements for managing driver choice.

Vehicle selection
Qualify vehicles for selection on the basis firstly of them being able to fulfil the commercial requirement but then on the basis of whole life costs, which should include depreciation; funding; non-recoverable VAT; the impact of any differential writing down allowances and restricted rentals; service, maintenance and repairs and replacements and fuel. Carefully consider how the entitlement or allowance will be maintained over the longer term.

Communicate
Make sure that the drivers, their line managers and any other interested parties are fully briefed about the part they are required to play in ensuring that the requirements are fulfilled and precisely what actions they must take.

Establish measurements
Identify a series of agreed measurements which will allow the performance of the fleet to be accurately monitored. These might include the number of vehicles in each employee grade, mileage and costs and could be available at company, cost centre or individual vehicle levels. Identify robust and reliable routines for gathering key elements of information.

Interpret and contextualise
Regularly review the available information to identify those issues which require attention and management focus. This may be achieved by looking for individual or groups of vehicles which are inconsistent with the norm in an area of measurement, comparison between two similar user groups or even comparison against an internal standard or an external benchmark. It is right and proper to take the nature of vehicle deployment into consideration, for example users whose duty cycle sees them being able to travel significant distances at a consistent speed will deliver better fuel consumption that the user who spends a deal of time on heavily congested roads. However, don’t accept that every variance is rooted in a unique operating situation.

Manage performance
Focus on improving performance, prioritising those areas where the payback is most significant either in terms of compliance with legal or organisation cultural demands or in terms of cost saving.

There are benefits to be had in dealing with performance improvement in a measured manner, for example addressing the handful of the worst cases on a routine and regular basis. Remember that managing the driver’s performance is often a matter for the line manager and it will often be necessary to work in concert to secure the best outcome.

Maintain policy, processes and procedures
Update the policy and the things you do to reflect the evolution in what the organisation requires, developments in support facilities available from the fleet marketplace and changes in legislation, including taxation. Particularly however, react to what is actually happening in your own fleet.

Deliver continuous improvement
Deliver value to your employer by applying a continuous improvement approach to what you do. Careful analysis of information will almost always identify another area for focus; do however keep an eye on current measurements to make sure that aspects you’ve already addressed don’t revert to old standards.

Understand the fleet
The reality is that unless any initiative contemplated is consistent with the overall strategy for that fleet, is thoroughly evaluated and well implemented, it will, in due course and in the subsequent evaluation, be regretted.

Event Diary

The Security Event is set to be the first major exhibition to take place in the sector when it opens its doors on 7-9 September 2021 at the NEC in Birmingham and for the first time it will also encompass the National Cyber Security Show.

digitech21 will seek to demystify the increasingly complex technology landscape and will showcase a host of public sector best practice case studies and the very best solution providers, each of whom are helping organisations to transform and improve the way in which the public sector delivers services to the citizen.

Supplier Profiles