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From pen and paper to Fleet Management Software

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 12, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Some of the scepticism regarding telematics, GPS tracking or fleet management solutions usually comes from people who are not frequent computer users, are less tech-savvy and still, therefore, despite the times, more in favour of the “pen and paper” approach.

But this resistance—whether users and non-users like it or not—is unlikely to last long. Users who approach this kind of technology for the first time will no doubt be surprised at the shear potential and the degree of help it gives, plus the time and resources it saves. The old manual methods of gathering information are prone to issues ranging from illegible handwriting, to chaotic or lost notes.

That’s why many companies are looking to make the transition from pen and paper to having everything tracked and accessible from a number of devices including mobile applications. Having a web-enabled software, or application, in fact benefits the business overall as well as optimises some specific tasks. Here are some of the advantages provided:
• the system provides more reliable, accurate and complete data
• instant access of the data whether out in the field or at the office
• better accountability and compliance with regulations
If you are looking for good fleet management software to optimise the management of your organization, you might want to make sure that software is:
• easy to use
• flexible
• easily accessible
This way, getting your staff to adjust to a new way of doing things (especially if they aren’t particularly tech-savvy) shouldn’t be such a challenge. But with ease of use there are less teething problems and you should see big results fairly quickly. By shifting from pen and paper to technology a business can analyse real data which might not have been previously available, producing instant benefits:
• driving information as well as mileage and fuel data will be more accurate and updated in real time, allowing space for setting up proper maintenance
• issues will be found immediately
• safety concerns will not be overlooked
• tasks will be completed quickly and with the bare minimum of tedious paperwork
And much more… just let us know if you want to get on board, with SynX, and see the benefits with your own eyes!
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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Transport company fined in the UK for safety failings

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM


A transport company in the UK was fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries after a crate fell on him while he was unloading.
The incident, dating back to 2013, occurred whilst a worker was helping to unload containers containing crates with glass mirrors. One of these containers had no fork pockets or lighting, so he was trying to manually assist the forklift truck operator to align the forks correctly. Some of the crates seemed to be stuck; unfortunately when the forklift operator tried to dislodge them, one fell onto the worker, pushing him to the side of the container.
The worker affected by the incident suffered life changing injuries and will not be able to work for at least three years.
According to the current Health and Safety legislation principles (Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974), Portmans Transport, the employer, was fined a total of £9,000 (around €12,000), and pleaded guilty to an offence under section 2(1) of the act.
The injured employee had apparently only been working at the company for less than three weeks and had no previous experience with this type of unloading work.
The incident was recognised as evitable: the company failed to plan what should happen in the event of an awkward unloading (or “devanning”) situation—incorrectly assessing and identifying the risks. According to the act, a company has a duty to identify these kinds of risks and take the appropriate control measures.
  safety risk management video
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Topics: fleet risk management, risk management, Safety, fleet safety

Grey fleet management: how to meet legal requirements

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 7, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Managing a fleet efficiently is certainly a priority for every business that is dependent on driving. We have often discussed just how challenging this can be at the best of times, but when it comes to operating a so-called grey fleet, things can become increasingly complex as you are managing vehicles that do not belong to the company, yet there is still a duty of care as an employer. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees while at work and this is valid for those driving with company vehicles as well as those operating grey fleets.
Grey fleet is in fact a term used to describe any vehicles that do not belong to the company, but are still used for business travel. It could be vehicles purchased via an employee ownership scheme, as well as privately rented ones or it could also be vehicles privately owned by an employee. When such vehicles are driven on company business (often in return for a cash allowance of fuel expense), these vehicles are considered part of the grey fleet and the employer is responsible for them.
As previously mentioned, grey fleet vehicles do not belong to the company, and this is why fleet managers face an even more complicated set of issues when it comes to managing the safety of these vehicles.


These are some of the most common issues fleet managers have to face when dealing with a grey fleet:
• Employees using their own car may be outside of the established insurance and servicing policies, meaning their vehicles are not actually covered for company travel.
• Keeping track of the status of grey fleet vehicles to ensure they meet legal road requirements, including driving license validity, insurance details including business use, MOT certification, Road Tax validity
• Checking the suitability of the vehicle for work purposes. This could include the age and condition, or whether the vehicle is equipped with ABS, ESP, air conditioning, and whether or not it is suitable for the journey requirements of the company.
According to recent research carried out on grey fleet management by Lex Autolease and published by Fleet News on 8th September, a significant number of fleet managers are failing to fulfil their duty of care obligations with grey fleet drivers. One in four (27%) never check that an employee’s vehicle has a valid MOT; around one in five (18%) fail to physically inspect driving licences (although this process has changed with the new online system replacing the paper counterpart) and 13% do not check that drivers have the correct insurance to drive for business purposes.
The findings suggest that many businesses remain oblivious to the cost challenges, environmental impact and legal risks associated with employees using their own vehicles in the course of their work, which is particularly worrying. Companies must keep track of records for drivers and vehicles, and any imprecision could be risky and expensive.
  Driver's declaration form
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Topics: Fleet Management, company car, grey fleet

How to detect an inefficient fleet management system

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 5, 2015 9:00:00 AM


Managing a fleet is anything but simple and the tasks involved may vary depending on the size of the fleet, the position of the fleet manager within the company (whether they are the owner or the operations manager, for example) as well as assessing the actual method of fleet management itself...
We have often reiterated in our blog that making assumptions is not good—misconceptions can arise regarding fleet activity—nor is procrastination, because issues that should be dealt with in good time can rapidly escalate into major problems if left for too long.
So what questions should you ask yourself in order to assess the quality of management regarding your vehicles and detect whether it is efficient or not?
#1 - Do you know the status of each of your vehicles; if they need maintenance or even replacement?
If the answer is “no”, it means you aren’t in full control of your fleet. It is hard to multitask and be kept updated on the status of all the vehicles under your responsibility, but this kind of control is required. Luckily, there are actually solutions available to put you right back in charge!
#2 - Do you have control over the routes travelled by your employees and are you able to divert them quickly in case of traffic or danger?
Again, if the answer is “no”, the fleet management system you are currently operating cannot guarantee real time location of vehicles, nor can it provide really efficient communication with drivers and employees, or optimise risk reduction, or comprehensively ensure drivers are compliant with the rules of the road and are respecting working hours.
#3 - Do you have a detailed register of all the servicing done on each vehicle?
If you don’t, chances are that you are never quite up to speed on the status of each vehicle within your fleet. On the other hand, if you are in possession of a complete database including all the dates of servicing, parts repaired or replaced, any issues, a detailed summary of costs etc., you will be able to evaluate incidents and set up an effective maintenance calendar.
Daily walk-around checklist - FREE download
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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

4 types of fleet costs that only telematics can disclose

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 2, 2015 9:00:00 AM


Understanding fleet costs and keeping them under control is one of the endless challenges fleet managers constantly face. But while some sources of fleet costs are clear as day, such as fuel or vehicle purchases and maintenance costs, others are mostly hidden and only a good fleet management system can disclose them for you.
If you don’t monitor your vehicles, you might remain unaware of these issues and unable to prepare for them as most of them are unlikely to be covered by insurance. On the other hand, by ensuring your fleet is protected you can prevent these problems as well as keeping your costs predictable, extending the life cycle of your assets and protecting your workers by making them more responsible.
Assuming you do not protect your vehicles with GPS tracking or telematics technology, what exactly does account for these hidden fleet costs?
#1 - Cost in hours spent locating vehicles
If you own a fleet, especially if it is big and there are different company departments, locating where all your vehicles are can be a real headache. You might not think about it, but this is a source of cost, and depending on how much time you need to figure out what is where, the costs will undoubtedly rise. Time is money…
#2 - Equipment damage due to unauthorized usage
Some of your vehicles could be damaged during working hours, or legitimate activities, and this is of course part of the job—downtime can occur even if you have procedures and policies in place to minimise such incidences—but what about damage caused by vehicle misuse?
#3 - Unnecessary maintenance based on random schedules
We all agree on the importance of preventative maintenance, but it needs to be done according to certain criteria and also with consideration to the performance of your vehicle. Unnecessary servicing could cost you a lot, without realising any noticeable benefits...
#4 - Idle assets not being used
If you run a big fleet you might easily lose track of which vehicles are sitting idle or not frequently being used. But with a telematics solution you can easily check the status of your vehicles and decide if reassigning, moving, or even selling under-used assets, is the best course of action.
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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

How to get started with fleet risk assessment: a quick guide

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 30, 2015 9:00:00 AM


Risk assessment consists in carefully examining what in the course of working activity could cause harm to people (employees and others) in order to evaluate if enough precautions are currently being undertaken, or whether more should be done to prevent such harm.
Risk assessment is, therefore, a vital component of health and safety management in any business—particularly for those which revolve around driving. We have made much mention of the legal imperatives for companies with regards to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, as well as the EU legislation and Corporate Manslaughter Act.
Efficient risk management will protect your workers and drivers as well as ensuring your business is law compliant—helping you prevent injuries and avoid health related issues down the line. One person within your business should be appointed responsible and should attend proper risk assessment training so that they are able to properly identify hazards, categorise them, as well as evaluating the risks.

But how do businesses carry out risk assessments?

There is no fixed rule on how risk assessments should be conducted, but there is generally an ideal procedure to follow in order to make sure it is carried out correctly—let’s take a look:
#1 - Identify the hazards within your working activity: hazards are situations that have the potential to cause harm and can be identified by communicating with employees or by walking round the workplace and taking notes. In a haulage company, for example, vehicles moving, the act of driving itself, load securing, coupling and uncoupling are all hazards.

#2 - Establish who might be harmed: once hazards within your business have been identified, decide who can be harmed. If we think about companies that specifically employ drivers, this would obviously include employees and people in proximity to working activity on company premises, but this point also encompasses any other road user.

#3 - Evaluate risks and establish control measures: how are you going to protect people from harm, control risks, and eliminate hazards? Appropriate training, regular reviews, the setting up of checks, internal policies and manuals are some of these approaches.
#4 - Record your findings: keep track of the hazards that crop up during work activity and the people at risk, then communicate how you plan to eliminate them in a written document.
#5 - Review the assessments and update them regularly: business never stays the same and it is necessary to continuously review, and update the identification of risks.
safety risk management video
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Topics: fleet risk management, risk management, Safety

Hospitality industry: how hotels are able to benefit from GPS tracking

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 28, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Maybe the connection between fleet management solutions, GPS tracking and the hospitality industry isn't entirely obvious…nevertheless, the hotel industry is another sector that could actually benefit from this technology for a number of reasons.
Hotels have to provide excellent customer service, especially nowadays with the influence of web portals: travel packages and hotels are under constant scrutiny—the quality of the service provided is continuously evaluated on opinions websites. Just like any other company, the hospitality industry struggles to find a way to make savings on their global costs whilst guaranteeing customer satisfaction and providing a safe working environment.
Hotels might be big, small, located in different areas nationally, and even internationally (nonetheless, they are usually centrally controlled by management). If located in cities they are generally open during the whole year, but they are usually tied to a seasonal calendar if located in mountainous areas or on the coast where resources might be shared and scheduled according to the season. Many hotel businesses that are geared up for the summer season operate a different business in the winter (there are often cases of hotels on the seaside or in the mountains sharing the same team and vehicles, for example).
How exactly can hotel businesses take advantage of vehicle tracking?
#1 - Increasing the safety of employees
Hotel vehicles, depending on the location or the season, might have cause to be driven in challenging conditions by staff whose primary role within the company is not actually driving. With a system able to provide information on an operator’s driving style and location, hotels can increase overall safety for their employees.
#2 - Preventing vehicles misuse
Hotel vehicles are generally not as tightly controlled as other vehicles operating in other businesses where driving is the principle commercial activity. But with geofence alerts or fuel purchase control you can guarantee vehicles and fuel are for legitimate business use only, not private. Plus you can keep tabs on your employees’ timesheets, checking the accuracy of the data and that they are working in accordance with their instructions from management.
#3 - Optimising vehicle use
If you own more than one hotel in different locations, you might need the van which transports people in your ski resort in winter, for example, to be utilised in your lake hotel in summer. Or you might think it more prudent to leave that vehicle in the depot?

#4 - Providing excellent customer service
If your hotel provides a shuttle service, a receptionist may be frequently asked by guests as to when the vehicle is arriving for pick up; this might mean calling the driver several times a day just to let the guests know an estimated time of arrival (ETA). But all this is unnecessary with a system like SynX. Whether guests want to get to the airport, hop into the town/city centre, or hit the ski slopes… it is a simple task just to check the driver’s location and reassure your guests with accurate ETAs.
SynX driving for work ebook
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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Idle fuel consumption: an American initiative

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 25, 2015 9:00:00 AM


© - Sustainable America

 Did you know that if you let your car idle for more than 10 seconds when you’re at, say, a drive-up ATM, you are simply wasting the fuel that you might have thought you were saving by avoiding the stop-start process? Furthermore, did you know that every day Americans waste approximately 3.8 million gallons of fuel, simply by idling?

Most of us were taught that it wastes more fuel to turn a car off and on than to let it idle, but with the electronic ignitions that are ubiquitous today (having been around since the 1980s)—this is no longer the case.
Sustainable America is a non-profit organisation devoted to making food and energy systems more sustainable through education and impact investing. One of its initiatives is dedicated to idle fuel consumption and how to decrease idling time for vehicles—a positive step toward greater fuel economy and reducing emissions.
The program with this objective is called “I turn it off”; it is a website with a lot of interesting information on how to prevent idling, and strives to raise awareness of the environmental and economic costs of idling. The website furnishes us with some interesting information on idling and addresses some of the misconceptions. There are some surprising facts:
• in cold weather, a vehicle only needs 30 seconds to warm up
• turning your engine off is actually better for the engine than leaving it running
• two minutes spent idling is the equivalent to driving for one mile.
Also included are some of the places where idling events are most likely to occur:

© - Sustainable America

The I turn it off website also covers other aspects of idling, particularly regarding the law and there are some real-life examples of anti-idling initiatives.
With regards to legislation in the US, measures have been introduced in order to help curb the health and environmental hazards of idling. Nineteen states have passed anti-idling regulations, the most extreme being in Utah, where a first-time idling violation brings a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison, and New York State, where a first-time violation can bring a fine up to $15,000.
Taking a look at one of the real life examples, the website describes how a regional, family-owned, uniform and linen service in the Northeast of America implemented a series of idle-free measures in its fleet. Crown Uniform and Linen strengthened their existing idling policies and rolled out an idling-reduction pilot program. When they started, they discovered that each truck was idling around 70 minutes per day, which was reduced to just 7 minutes after only three months into the program. So, how did they approach the problem?

By tackling it in the following stages:
1. Calculating the current idling baseline—70 minutes per truck
2. Establishing a new idle limit—10 minutes, max
3. Identifying common reasons for idling
4. Re-training drivers to immediately turn-off engines after stopping
5. Implementing a data tracking and reporting system
6. Developing daily communications and rewards for positive behaviour

Imagine how much you could save if you started measuring idling in your fleet...



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Topics: Fleet Management, Eco-driving & Green actions, Fuel

Learn how your tyres can help you save fuel

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 23, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Tyres are a crucial element of your vehicles and inextricably linked to performance; they provide fleet managers, or anyone responsible for fleets, with immediate notice of any potential issue.
Having properly managed tyres as part of an efficient tyres maintenance system can only benefit fleets as well as optimise safety. In other words, tyres play a critical role. But what you might not be aware of, is that the amount you spend on fuel could also depend on your tyres.
There has been a lot of debate upon the importance or implementation of all-season tyres and whether they are really effective enough at providing consistent performance throughout all weather conditions, or whether it is better to use low-rolling resistance tyres. The latter, in general, minimize wasted energy by decreasing required rolling effort; and in the case of automotive applications, are particularly effective for improving vehicles’ fuel efficiency: approximately 5–15% of the fuel consumed by a typical car may be used to overcome rolling resistance.
There are also other great tips to consider that you might find very effective for improving your fuel economy (and drivers’ safety, efficiency and overall fleet costs).

Let’s have a look at how tyres can help you save fuel!

Here are some additional tips for getting the most fuel economy from your tires:
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. (A label on the driver’s door jamb should provide the correct pressures to use.) If your tyres aren’t inflated to the proper PSI (pounds/inch²) pressure, you will be guilty of burning fuel unnecessarily and ruining your tyres;
  • check inflation pressure at least monthly; do this when the tires are cool;
  • if you were happy with the tyres that came with the car when it was new, consider replacing them with an identical set. Low-rolling resistance is a common trait of original-equipment tyres.




Simplified Guide for Commercial Vehicle Testing

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel, tyres, all-season tyres, low-rolling resistance tyres

Young drivers at work and in traffic: what are the risks?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 21, 2015 9:00:00 AM

According to a recent, joint publication by ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) and the PRAISE project (Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees), young drivers at work and in traffic is the category most at risk when it comes to road safety.
According to the data provided in the publication, entitled “Managing young drivers at work”, between 2001 and 2010, around 140,000 young people aged 15 to 30 were killed in road collisions in the EU27. In 2010, 9,150 young people aged 15 to 30 were killed in road collisions, compared with 18,670 in 2013. In other words, road fatalities have more than halved amongst the age group over the space of 9 years.
Of course, if on one hand there have been improvements, on the other hand young drivers continue to be a high-risk category, young males above all. As regards young drivers, the road mortality rate for them is 69% higher than for the rest of the population. If we consider specifically young males, the date is increasing even more, up to 168%. One in four young people who die in Europe do so as a result of a road collision.
If young drivers are such a high risk category, it means they do not only impact on themselves, but also provide a greater risks to their passengers and to other road users. The report continues by saying that for each young driver killed, an additional 1.2 passengers or other road users are killed during the same accident. Collisions involving a young vehicle user account for 37% of total road traffic deaths.
With such a high rate of young drivers involved in traffic collisions, the need for targeted actions in companies who employ young drivers, is self-evident.
Just which actions, exactly, do companies need to consider in order to protect young drivers at work, as well as other road users?
safety risk management video
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Topics: Road Safety, Safe Driving, drivers'training

About this blog

Welcome to the SynX blog!

Here is where we post all our latest and greatest tips and info on best practices for fleet management. Everything you need to know on fuel, safety, maintenance plus news and reviews. Subscribe to get the latest news and feel free to comment on any of our posts or give your feedback!

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