Challenges facing commercial fleet managers
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Managing a fleet of commercial vehicles can be a daunting task and dealing with a series of different challenges is a daily occurrence.
Considerations such as environmental credentials, driver safety and budget control must all be balanced off against each other to create a solution which is compliant, viable and works for your business.
Although the challenges facing commercial fleet managers are many and diverse, here are just a few of the most common issues.
Duty of care
Regardless of the size of the organisation, one of the most fundamental challenges that a company faces is dealing with their duty of care.
This means that when providing fleet vehicles, you must be certain that they are fit for purpose, well serviced and safe for the employee to use.
There are a variety of regulations which apply such as the Corporate Manslaughter Act and Health and Safety, but much is common sense.
Ensure your vehicles are purchased or leased from a reputable source and are serviced regularly to keep them in tip-top condition. It can be a hassle keeping track of so many but don't wait until there's a problem to get the vehicle checked over. Your duty of care means you must take a proactive role in ensuring they remain safe to drive.
Utilising telematics fully
In-car technology has developed quickly and there's now a whole range of information which can be gleaned from the various telematics a company can put in place.
The data received could ultimately help to drive down costs, highlight training requirements as well as help with budget control, but with such a wealth of information being pulled from in-car systems, managing it can be a real challenge.
Typically, an efficient telematics system could monitor the speed of a vehicle, identify risky driving manoeuvres and compare driver performance to the average for the fleet as well as providing feedback on the amount of fuel consumed.
A fuel card fits nicely into the telematics model, allowing employers to view how much is being spent and where, enabling a calculation to be made on which drivers are the most cost effective and which ones are a greater drain on resources.
Having all this data at your fingertips can be a challenge to organise, assess and report on, so making sure the telematics deliver real results and not just a minefield of unused information is a major challenge for many fleet managers.
Transport and environmental affairs seldom go hand-in-hand, but managing a fleet doesn't mean giving up on your green credentials.
Globally, transport emissions account for 14% of all greenhouse gases so it's perhaps little surprise that the UK government is so keen for companies to prioritise the issue.
Going green doesn't mean you have to replace your entire fleet with electric vehicles but you can look more carefully at the cars you have available for drivers to pick from. Those with lower CO2 emissions will have a lower tax rate band, delivering savings for both you and the employee.
But although choice of car can certainly play a big part, research has shown that smart driving could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 10%. This means using telematics to identify employees with poor driving habits, sending all drivers on awareness courses and promoting a range of green driving techniques that could save money and fuel.
Managing a fleet can present an almost endless list of dilemmas and challenges to overcome but understanding the budget and priorities of your organisation can help you tackle the problems. Looking after your employees and helping them stay safe on the road, whilst also protecting your vehicles and cutting emissions may sound like an easy task but it requires commitment and perseverance.
Regardless of the size of your fleet, juggling priorities and confronting the ever-changing issues can be a challenge for all managers, big and small.