At a time when the construction industry is under pressure from rising costs and road safety issues, vehicle management is becoming increasingly more important as a means to reduce costs and improve safety.
With materials and labour costs rising, building and construction companies need to look at all areas of their business to see where they can make the most savings, both in time and money. One of the areas often over looked is fleet management.
There is no complicated science behind fleet management, just good sense, safety and planning. It is all about keeping the company’s vehicles on the road, in the most cost effective and time efficient way and at all times keeping the safety of the driver, other road users and pedestrians at the heart of what they do. In an industry that is rigorously legislated for by health and safety and penalised heavily, fleet management makes commercial sense in every way.
Effective fleet management covers the areas of;
Risk assessment and accident management
Asset tracking and telematics
Service, maintenance and repair
Sourcing of vehicles
Vehicle logistics, storage and disposal
At first sight this looks like a lot to take care of for every vehicle and driver, and can appear complicated and time consuming. If you are not sure what needs to be done and how, then a good fleet management company can help with these areas, and will happily explain the processes that need to be gone through and why.
For instance, they will explain why you do need to do a risk assessment on every driver even if they don’t drive for work on a daily basis. You will need to hold a copy of their driving licence and do a DVLA check to see if there are points or convictions. When needed you may consider monitoring driver behaviour to see if any training might be needed to rectify certain driving habits such as sharp braking or harsh accelerating which could put the driver and others at risk.
This area of risk assessment is a duty of care and an area that is increasingly being legislated for to improve road safety. The recently formed Fleet Safety Benchmarking program is a direct response to this. This is a collaboration with Occupational Road Safety Alliance which recognises that organisations have a duty of care to their employees, contractors and sub-contractors who drive for work and to ensure they are not endangering themselves or other road users.
There are a few very simple steps that can be taken that will improve vehicle efficiency and reduce costs, and you don’t have to be a dedicated fleet manager to do this.
Have a robust company vehicle policy in place, and ensure that every driver has a copy and has signed it.
Make sure your tyres are legal. Tyres that have the right amount of tread, inflated to the right pressures, will help you reduce fuel consumption and make sure your vehicle meets the legal requirements, so avoiding the potential £2,500 fine per tyre.
Take advantage of vehicle telematics, not only can they track driver routes, behaviour and fuelling events, they also are invaluable when a commercial or plant vehicle is stolen. As an important and expensive asset it is vital that it is protected against theft not only because of its value but also the need to replace the asset at short notice and the impact on build times, construction schedules and ultimately labour costs.
Look at the whole life costs of your vehicles, as what may initially seem more expensive with regards to leasing costs, when the servicing and maintenance is taken into account along with fuel costs, this may demonstrate a lower whole life cost.
Use a fleet management company that provides an online solution that allows you access to all your fleets information through your own portal. Password protected and secure to you only, you should be able to monitor all vehicle events, servicing history and requirements, book MOT’s, add and delete vehicles, check your account, request hire vehicles and check driver details are up to date.
By using a fleet management company you will also have access to their discounted services and parts which over the lifetime of the vehicle and across the entire fleet, the potential savings could run into £1000’s.
At a time when demand is outweighing supply but there is an air of economic uncertainty, every penny saved and every risk assessed will help keep your business advantage and competitive edge safe.