16 January 2019

2019 is set to be a challenging year for businesses in all sectors, not least the fleet industry. However, that doesn’t mean that fleet managers and their teams can stop reviewing their fleet operations over the next 12 months.

Regardless of whether an organisation wants to reduce their fleet costs, improve driver safety or reduce their environmental impact, taking an analytical approach to change can hold benefits, not just this year but for decades to come.

In this article, we explore some of the ways that fleet policies and operations can be improved, from both a business and a driver-focused standpoint.

Consider the correct fuel type for fleet needs

With the continued rise in popularity of green fleet alternatives, 2019 could be the year that fleet managers and their teams review their existing vehicles and see which could be replaced for more fuel-efficient models.

Companies no longer have to rely on traditionally fuelled vehicles, and with Government grants still available for business charging stations, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are viable, cost-reducing alternatives.

However, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each fuel type, including whether the vehicles can be offset against corporation tax.

Monitor Low Emission and Ultra-Low Emission Zones

The first clean air zone (CAZ) comes into effect on April 8th 2019, and there should be no doubt that there are many more to follow. This CAZ is going to be London’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and will have an impact on fleets that have a high number of vans.

Since most cars in a fleet already comply with Euro-6 emission standards, they will not be charged for entering the zone, but vans will be subject to different charges and rules.

It’s important that fleet managers monitor these developments, especially if the business is considering expanding into larger cities.

Review driver journey and suggest alternatives

One of the easiest ways to reduce the overall fuel costs of a fleet over the next 12 months is to review the journeys that drivers are taking during their regular commutes.

By utilising telematics data and strategic planning, employers and fleet managers are able to analyse the routes that drivers are taking, and suggest shorter, more fuel-efficient alternatives.

Consider fitting in-vehicle cameras

As extensive and in-depth telematics data can be, this year it may be worth considering installing in-vehicle cameras in a fleet.

The ability to monitor driver behaviour does help companies reduce fuel costs and plan more effective driving routes, but an in-vehicle camera could make the difference in finding who was at fault in an accident.

The added benefit of this is that it can potentially cut insurance costs, as well as preventing fraudulent injury claims.

Focus on driver-well being

For any organisation, the employees that take to the road for work are the driving force, and they need to be looked after. Businesses need to address the well-being and mental health of their teams, especially if they are spending long periods of time behind the wheel.

Tired or stressed drivers are more likely to take greater risks whilst they’re driving, which can put themselves and other road users in dangerous positions. It’s not just the physical costs of repairing the vehicle, it’s the administrative burden placed on the rest of the team if someone is off work.

Ask for feedback from the drivers themselves

One of the easiest ways for fleet managers to shape and improve their fleet operations in 2019 is to ask for feedback from the drivers themselves. They spend the most time on the road, and they may have their own ideas on how to improve the way the business operates.

Whether a fleet manager asks for company-wide feedback or creates a focus group, the input from drivers could shed some light on potential cost savings and ways to improve their working lives.

Further reading

In summary, careful planning and incorporating driver feedback can help shape fleet operations over the next 12 months, and into the future. These changes can have a huge impact on the way a business views their fleet, as well as those that are behind the wheel.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasingemployee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.  

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