The four fundamentals of fleet managementFor your fleet
The safe and efficient management of what’s known these days as ‘business mobility’ is at the core of what we do at LeasePlan, and it’s among the core objectives of our customers when they partner with us.
Our expertise and insights, developed over many years in the industry both here and internationally, tell us there are four key fundamentals that underpin fleet safety and efficiency: fit-for-purpose, utilisation, maintenance management and driver management.
We thought we’d take this opportunity to explain these four fundamentals, and how they will continue to relate to your fleet in this rapidly changing world.
Fit-for-purpose decisions are vital to get right, as they have a significant impact on costs, efficiency and safety – key influencers on any organisation’s bottom-line.
You need to have a full understanding of your vehicle’s operating environment – will the vehicle be used mainly in built-up areas, or will it be in the bush, or even both? – along with the operational tasks the driver, and the vehicle itself, will be performing daily.
As well as understanding what the vehicle and its driver do, you need to ensure all the relevant OH&S laws and regulations (load-bearing capabilities, axle weights, passenger numbers and so forth) are met.
Getting the right vehicle for the right purpose also has productivity and OH&S implications. For example, even where operational tasks are the same, the vehicle selection may need to vary from driver to driver. A Hyundai i20 is not going to (literally) be a great fit for a 200cm tall delivery driver, and the OH&S implications can be serious.
In simple terms, fit-for-purpose means looking at the whole-of-life costs of a vehicle, then getting the right vehicle for the job, fitted with the right accessories, modifications and after-market specs, at the right price.
Under-utilised vehicles can seriously impact fleet efficiency and, conversely, over-utilised vehicles can seriously undermine safety. Ongoing monitoring of your fleet and managing its utilisation is essential to efficient and safe fleet management.
When your car, truck or van is operational, how do you monitor and manage its use? What do you do when the usage requirements of the vehicle change? What processes and systems do you have to monitor, measure and report on vehicle utilisation?
Make sure your fleet provider has the expertise to help you gather data on your fleet’s mileage, fuel economy, and maintenance and repair costs to give you the insights for getting the most out of your fleet.
The use of telematics allows an even closer view of vehicle use. Far from being a set of prying eyes on your staff, telematics is able to capture a range of data that can provide useful insights into your staff’s driving technique – harsh acceleration or braking, excessive idling, understeer or oversteer, even engine management system issues.
The information provided through telematics can empower you to take steps to address discrepancies in utilisation, as well as efficiency and safety concerns or risks, as much as it gives you the opportunity to identify the kind of positive driving behaviours your staff may already possess.
Setting and managing a maintenance schedule that suits the vehicle and its use is an essential element of fleet safety, as well as ensuring you keep your fleet’s whole-of-life costs down.
Manufacturer maintenance schedules should be adhered to, at a minimum, while customised fitouts often require a more vigorous service schedule to be adopted.
Your fleet provider should design service schedules for the fleets under management, and oversee the work through a service supplier network – not to mention identifying improvement opportunities and developing strategies to improve efficiency and safety.
We know more than 90 percent of serious injury and road fatalities come down to human factors – distraction (often by mobile phones), fatigue, speeding, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Educating your drivers about safe driving habits, the limitations of the vehicles they’re driving, the different roads they’ll use, and the impacts of speed plays a vital role in a fleet manager maintaining a safe fleet.
It’s vital to maintain clear policies on elements such as mobile phone and vehicle use, and to promote positive driver behaviours. Offer regular driver training, either online or behind the wheel, and reward drivers for good behaviour.
Adding telematics to monitor and report on driver behaviour can be of benefit – but this type of implementation needs to be managed carefully for privacy reasons and to avoid negative employee perceptions, as well as getting the maximum bang for your telematics buck.
These are some of the fundamentals that LeasePlan Australia applies to its business to achieve efficiency and safety. Strategic Fleet Consulting is central to what we do, to ensure our customers’ fleets are aligned from end-to end.
We continue to apply these fundamentals, even when business mobility, vehicle design and performance, and the technology that drives it, is changing at an unprecedented pace.
Start a conversation with LeasePlan today to review the fundamentals of your fleet management.