Every transport manager we’ve worked with has had a fleet management policy in place. We promise we’re not trying to teach you how to suck eggs. However, we’ve often found that policies aren’t always treated as living documents. We think they should be. A robust policy helps everyone, from top level management through to the drivers and office staff, know where they stand.
If you haven’t updated your fleet management policy in a while, perhaps it’s time for a review. Here are some of our suggestions for things to consider.
There are some basic provisions that you need to address when you put a driver in a company vehicle. The licencing requirements for motorists, HGV and PSV drivers are clear.
But where do you go from there? Is your policy clear on what a driver’s responsibilities are when they’re out on the road? If you don’t already have a training programme or handbook it’s well worth considering. Well trained drivers can carry out basic maintenance checks to their own vehicles and report problems. You can also be confident that they know what to do if they break down or are involved in an accident.
When you’re choosing vehicles, cost is going to be a primary consideration. A vehicle’s safety record is also an important factor, along with its environmental credentials. If you allow company car drivers to choose their own vehicle from a specified range, your fleet management policy helps to make your reasoning clear.
If your decision making process factors in fuel costs and ease of maintenance your policy should set this out. Your drivers will also want to know how the policy benefits them. Low emission vehicles can help you to save on fuel but may also entitle your drivers to a tax reduction. The technology for these vehicles is constantly evolving so your policy should too.
Whilst appropriate licencing is important, so is your driver’s health. If you want to be sure that your drivers are physically up to the job your policy may need to include health checks. Mental health difficulties can also impair a driver’s judgement whilst out on the road – does your existing policy set out ways for employees to raise issues that affect their work?
A good telematics system can also have a part to play. Whilst you may be reluctant to ‘spy’ on your drivers, it can help you to support them. Fleet management software can allow you to monitor how a vehicle is being driven. If your employee is driving erratically that could indicate an underlying problem and you can intervene to help. It also means that you can ensure that your drivers are taking adequate rest breaks.
As a fleet manager you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your vehicles are safe and fit for purpose. Whilst physical checks are essential, fleet management software can also help you to identify potential maintenance issues and keep an overall check on the vehicle.
Fleet management software allows you to immediately access information about mileage and fuel usage among other things. The software can track a wide range of metrics and collates the data automatically, saving you time. You may discover that a driver is particularly heavy on the brakes or drives in a way that increases wear and tear. Having the information readily available means that you can not only intervene with the driver, but bring the vehicle in for maintenance early, reducing potential down time.
If you’d like to know more about how the right software can support your fleet management policy, get in touch.