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How a fleet management system is the key for making the right decision

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 1, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Fleet_management_system
In the fast-paced environment of today’s society, it is essential not only to make the correct decisions, but also to make them quickly. This is valid for both fleet managers and anyone significantly involved in the decision making process. But how do you decide just what is best—in terms of cost, safety, respecting legislation and dealing with staff?
 
Before picking the right choice from a number of options, you first need to create those options. If you are running, even, a small fleet you are still likely to have plenty of paperwork to deal with: fuel bills, maintenance bills, driver documents and so on, from a variety of sources—some of them quite possibly in paper format.
 
And you still need to figure out how much you spent on maintenance last year on such-and-such a vehicle and why; and whether that could be improved by implementing some changes, or maybe the vehicle in question is out-dated and needs to be replaced. What would be better than having everything in one place… ideally at your very fingertips?
 
It’s easy to spend a lot of time tapping on the calculator, wondering why the bills are more expensive than expected; precious time that could be much better spent expanding your activities and making money, spotting opportunities to make your fleet more efficient or exploring innovative ways to keep your customers satisfied.
 
With a fleet management system, the answers to these questions are only a click away. All the data coming from fuel cards and driver behaviour is integrated with vehicle information, providing you with a complete picture of how your fleet is operating. Not only does this allow you to more easily answer those nagging questions, but this system also highlights those small problems that, without technology, may go unnoticed for ages before suddenly appearing in the form of a major issue or a nasty bill.
 
Vehicle tracking, fuel card integration and all the options offered by a complete fleet management system not only furnishes you with large amounts of information, but it is processed and conveniently presented in a way that provides immediate answers to important questions such as: “Should I replace this vehicle” or “Should I improve on tyre maintenance?”... or any other queries pertaining to an efficiently run fleet and a profitable business.
 
If you are on the look-out for a solution to your fleet problems, learn everything on our brand-new fleet management system and contact us for a free demo today!
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

Bank holiday speeding safety alert

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM

traffic4
 
Next Monday’s bank holiday, June 1st, is seen as the starting point for what is normally considered to be the most dangerous time on Irish roads.
 
Local authorities as well as the police force set up a speeding safety alert in an attempt to underline once again the dangers of speeding, particularly now after some Garda divisions revealed that motorists have been caught travelling at up to three times the speed limit on some very busy roads.
 
According to independent.ie sources, one motorist was clocked travelling at 140kmh on the Cappagh Road in Dublin 11, where the maximum limit is 50kmh. Unfortunately this is not the only case: a driver was caught doing 178kmh on the R563 at Faha East in Kerry (that actual speed limit is 60kmh) and another was travelling at 195kmh at Ballacolla in Laois, where a 120kmh limit applies, followed by 189kmh at Keadue in Donegal, where the limit is 100kmh.
 
The Gardaí are trying to enforce controls and rules more effectively in light of these episodes which only prove just how poor the awareness of safety issues such as speeding is—one of the major causes of accidents leading to serious injuries and fatalities.
 
According to Garda National Traffic Bureau sources, more than 7,500 drivers have already been caught speeding in 2015 (where speeding means travelling 30 km/h or more above the designated speed limit).
 
Last year during the same long weekend, road traffic accidents led to 11 serious injury cases and 2 fatalities.
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Road Safety

Do you really know your drivers?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 27, 2015 9:00:00 AM

drivers

 

People are definitely one of the greatest assets of any company; not only for the tasks they perform, but also for the opportunity of stimulating dialogue, discussions and for the constructive exchange of opinions—helping to make any business develop and perform more effectively.
 
Technology is taking over some tasks but is unlikely to takeover completely; and if we think about businesses that depend on driving and drivers, it is surely an area where technology will struggle to impact on the need for human employees in the near future.
 
Drivers are, for the time being at least, essential for companies that depend on driving. Any fleet manager’s lengthy to-do list will therefore inevitably include the hiring process (which can be anything but straightforward).
 
Driving skills, or being in possession of the requisite licenses are surely the most obvious starting points, but companies also need to hire responsible staff who can demonstrate a safe driving style and who are also well aware of how this affects the company image and the business in general.
 
Checking driver’s licenses is part of the process as companies have a precise legal duty when it comes to safety and responsibility. Companies have to do anything reasonably in their power (within the law) to properly check licenses on a regular basis.
 
DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) sources disclosed that 22% of drivers have out-dated licences, meaning they either omitted to renew, or that they are deliberately breaking the law for some reason, for such purposes as hiding sanctions or penalty points.
 
 
How do you usually check driver’s licence information and how do you prevent misconduct? How do you get to know if you can really trust your drivers?
 
Again, a fleet policy could include some continuous assessment schedules involving discussion with drivers and checks upon the status of their licences. But what if you have a sizeable fleet and little time for an interview-like approach?
 
Your feedback and comments are welcome...
 
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

Professional driver kills cyclists; no action against employer

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

In July 2013 a lorry driver from a logistics company killed two charity cyclists in Cornwall.
 
The driver was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in September 2014. In March of this year the families of the two victims asked that an inquest be carried out in order to more fully investigate the transport firm’s direct involvement in the deaths of the two cyclists.
 
employer
  
During the trial of the haulage driver, Robert Palmer, flaws in the health and safety system of his company, Frys Logistics, emerged. Investigations revealed that Palmer was capable of working in the capacity of a mechanic during the day, performing vehicle maintenance at the yard, and putting in a shift as a driver later that same night. He even doctored his tachograph so as to conceal his lack of rest. European legislation on driving hours would clearly have prohibited Palmer from driving night shifts if he was also working (rather than resting) during the same day.
 
The request for a further investigation into the tragedy by the families of Andrew McMenigall, 47, and Toby Wallace, 36, killed in the incident, suggested that the company could be charged with corporate manslaughter as it seems likely there were clear breaches in the logistic company’s duty of care.
 
Commercial Fleet online published a declaration by the Devon and Cornwall Police which explained that “following a review of the case, we [the authority, editor’s note] can confirm there will be no further action”. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) clarified that “it was a police decision to take no further action”.
 
The decision puzzled and perplexed road safety authorities, legal experts as well as the families of the two victims. The company would have owed a duty of care under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA), which aims at guaranteeing that an employer conducts any undertaking, reasonably, in a manner that does not unduly endanger other people.
 
A work-related road safety expert, Edward Handley, expressed his incomprehension at the decision, especially because there is already an important precedent with which to refer; a case where both a driver and their transport manager were jailed after the driver killed a motorist in a car crash while working an illegal shift.
 
 
 
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Topics: News and Reviews

Business and private mileage: do you know the rules?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 22, 2015 9:00:00 AM

privatemileage

 
Part of the enormous workload of a fleet manager, together with health and safety requirements, maintenance, budgeting, organising drivers and so on, is the task of correctly determining the business vs. private mileage use (assuming the fleet includes company cars that are also used for private purposes).
 
According to Automotive Fleet data, approximately 87% of fleets do allow personal use of company vehicles, which is often see from an outsider perspective as an added benefit to the wage, but if rules are correctly applied, the personal use of the vehicle should not be taken for granted as “free”, strictly speaking.
 
Yes, if rules are applied correctly. According to a Fleet News article published around the end of April, a YouGov survey commissioned by ABAX UK disclosed that 56% of company car drivers are unaware of the rules on reclaiming business/private mileage and that 36% of employees entitled to a company car update their mileage log only once a fortnight. The data suggests that mileage recording is not accurate enough and can potentially expose both businesses and drivers to penalisation.
 
Fleet managers have an added responsibility of protecting the company from tax problems arising from such matters, which could lead to sanctions as well as excessive fuel purchases (two additional fleet costs).
 
According to Irish tax regulations, private mileage is subject to PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance), while business mileage is tax free. It is important to underline that travelling to and from work is considered private use of the vehicle and that all employees must record their private and their business trips, in a company vehicle, regularly.
 
Adding miles inaccurately, as well as stating there has been very little personal use, or not giving notice to the company of the real personal use run up in one of their vehicles, is all extremely risky. There is a minimum private mileage that an employer may accept for the purposes of calculating notional pay (the "cash equivalent" of the private use of the company car, to which PAYE and PRSI must be applied): 5,000 miles per annum. If an employee claims lower personal mileage occurred in the course of a year, he/she has to provide documentation as proof.
 
Fleet News reported that a UK company inspected by HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) officers revealed inaccurate estimates of private mileage which did not tally with fuel card invoices. The onus is on the company and the drivers, who can both face a heavy fine for even small mileage discrepancies.
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

Workplace related safety: some statistics

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 20, 2015 9:00:00 AM

workplacerelatedsafety
 
On several occasions now, we have reiterated the importance of basic safety procedures in the workplace, covering such tasks as loading and unloading vehicles.
 
The HSA (Health and Safety Authority) of Ireland has recently promoted a number of campaigns aimed at sensitising companies to the different issues connected with safety, as well as highlighting the rather worrying data on workplace accidents.
 
The RSA (Road Safety Authority) is also promoting safe driving campaigns aimed at minimising the risks of road traffic accidents as well as raising awareness as to the kinds of distractions that could affect drivers’ and other road users’ safety.
 
Here is an interesting US-based infographic on Workplace Related Safety that manages to address the less obvious consequences of negligence, such as forced absence from work, the amount of money companies could save if they had a proper health and safety programme, and the cost of injuries.
 
Click to Enlarge Image

 

We usually identify accidents at work with downtime of the workforce, forgetting there are a lot of factors involved in accidents that invariably escalate costs.

It is also true that some companies might ignore the worry of health and safety and just defer any such concerns until auditing or inspection deadlines are imminent; hopefully this infographic will draw attention to the short-sightedness of this approach. The consideration of safety in the workplace is as essential as the consideration of efficiency and profitability, and, in any case, lax safety practices could easily prove very costly for a company.

 

 

  The simplified guide to commercial vehicle testing in Ireland and the UK

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Topics: Road Safety

Fuel consumption record: 2l/100 km for a 208 diesel Peugeot

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 18, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Photo Credit: http://www.peugeot.com/en/news/2-0-l-100-km-with-a-standard-peugeot-208-bluehdi-an-absolute-fuel-consumption-record, © Peugeot

 

The 208 BlueHDi diesel Peugeot car was driven 1,337.19 miles (2,152kms) on just 9.45 gallons (43 litres) of fuel in an incredible performance at the Belchamp test circuit at the end of April.
 
Eddie Cunningham, a reporter for Independent.ie, referred to the unprecedented feat as the equivalent of “five Dublin to Galway road trips”. Peugeot’s record has been verified by the French institution of homologation and certification for vehicles—UTAC (Union Technique de l’Automobile du motocycle et du Cycle).
 
The record could actually mean that, with a few euros, you could conceivably cover 100 km; something that is not even comparable to public transportation prices.
 
The vehicle which actually accomplished this distance, with such efficient fuel consumption, was a 208 Peugeot, equipped with a 1.6L BlueHDi 100 S&S engine, 5spd manual gearbox, which ran the distance of 2152 km in 38 hours consuming only 43 litres of diesel; various pilots drove in shifts of 3-4 hours during the test, to prevent fatigue. This is the fuel consumption record for a standard vehicle.
 
The ultra-low fuel consuming 208 could really become the reference for a standard hatchback. Other than the remarkable fuel consumption, this car is fairly modest but its features also include an aerodynamic spoiler as well as Michelin Energy Saver tyres that help make the vehicle compact, light, easy to drive and of course, outstandingly efficient.
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Fuel Economy

Do you know where your fleet vehicles are driven?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 15, 2015 9:00:00 AM

We can never emphasise enough how challenging it is to be a fleet manager; there are so many responsibilities and tasks involved, as well as handling all the risks that come with driving for work, both for the drivers and other road users.
 
In this blog post we concentrate on the fleet vehicles and their location—a major source of worry for those responsible for running a fleet.
 
Of course a fleet manager assumes his drivers and their vehicles are operating correctly, and on track to the destinations they are supposed to be heading for; but is he absolutely sure the driver is using the vehicle correctly? What might a delay really be due to? Is there a way of knowing quickly if a driver might have run into a problem?
 
Company vehicle misuse is usually the first thing that comes to the mind of both companies, who are new to vehicle tracking, as well as drivers. Detecting personal use of a vehicle is improperly seen as the only reason that might lead employers to choose telematics, but the question “where are your vehicles driven?” actually opens up different scenarios.
 

vehiclesdriven

Fleet managers are responsible for the vehicles and want to make sure that in their fleet there is a system able to:
 
#1 - Prevent theft: if one of your vehicles is stolen, it is a huge loss for the company and, depending on the size of it as well as financial resources available, it might not be possible to replace quickly. Technology is able to provide you with the location of a vehicle immediately, thus reducing the risk of theft as well as the bother of insurance claims and rocketing premiums.
 
#2 - Check if a driver is in danger: if a driver is in a risky situation, chances are that he won’t be able to let you know with a simple phone call. Weather might be very unpredictable in some areas or a driver might have been involved in a collision. With our fleet management software you could easily check movement patterns and see if they suggest the driver is in difficulties or even danger. In the unfortunate event of a collision, you may have useful data to help prove that your employee wasn’t necessarily to blame.
 
#3 - Verify if there has been a breakdown: again, the location, in real time of a vehicle might suggest if there is a problem with the vehicle and the driver has not been able to notify the company.
 
#4 - Check the time of dispatch: you can easily locate where the vehicle is and inform your customers accordingly and, importantly, without the need for a phone call that might distract the driver as well as putting him under extra pressure.
 
#5 - Make sure private mileage allowed on a company vehicle does not lead to personal use: eventually, yes, this is also one of the added benefits technology provides, making sure company vehicles are used correctly.
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

5 more points that should be included in a fleet policy

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Policy_fleet-1
 
We already emphasised in a previous blog post on just how important it is to have a fleet policy in place and which points should definitely be included.
 
Today we look at 5 more points which we think should be included in a fleet policy. See if you agree with the following suggestions, or perhaps you can think of some that haven’t been mentioned?
 
Let’s have a look at them.
 
#1 Fuel policy
 
• Where should drivers buy fuel and with what method of purchase?
• Is there a need to give cash to drivers?
• Does the company provide fuel cards for employees?
• Are employees trained in how to use fuel cards (so as to avoid misuse as well as providing whoever is responsible for the fleet complete visibility of fuel purchases)?
 
#2 Use of electronic/mobile devices
 
The use of mobile devices such as cell phones or smartphones is a source of distraction and should be kept to an absolute minimum while driving. Some companies choose to have phones that automatically let the caller know the person is driving and therefore unable to take the call straight away.
 
It is also important to have a policy with regards to charging phones (and other devices); too many devices being charged can put a heavy demand on the battery and cause a company vehicle problems.
 
#3 Infractions
 
• Who pays for a speeding/parking ticket?
• Is the company willing to pay for fines or should this be the drivers’ responsibility?
• How are the infractions recorded inside the company system?
• Does the driver receive further training if infractions become too frequent?
 
#4 Borders crossing
 
• How should drivers prepare vehicles or documentation if they are required to travel across borders?
• Is there a need for them to pay a tax for this purpose and therefore the necessity to carry cash?
• Could this also be necessary if they are required to travel into a big city centre where a congestion or similar charge is unavoidable; the same applies for road and bridge tolls?
 
#5 Impaired driving
 
It goes without saying—there should be a zero tolerance policy on drink and drug driving. In most companies, drivers are not allowed to bring alcohol into a vehicle. But impaired driving isn’t necessarily the result of narcotics or alcohol, some prescription drugs can also impair the ability to drive.
 
A company whose day to day business involves driving, should, ideally, be made aware if one of their drivers takes any medicine that could potentially impair their ability to drive. A drug driving law in operation since March in England and Wales is actually very strict regarding the use of prescription medicines. In Ireland a Roadside Impairment Testing (RIT) is already in force.
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

Mobile phone misuse: decrease in drivers’offences

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 11, 2015 9:00:00 AM

mobilephonemisuse
Police figures published by Fleet News in mid-April suggest that drivers’ offences caused by mobile phone misuse behind the wheel have decreased.
 
The number of drivers who have been given penalty points has decreased by 24% in 2014 and by more than 40% from 2010 to 2014. The figures were a result of a free research conducted by the BBC Radio 5 station for a live show—36 out of 43 police forces throughout England and Wales were forthcoming with the relevant data.
 
The figure seems rather encouraging, but apparently this does not suggest a sea change in drivers’ attitudes toward mobile phone use behind the wheel, but rather that they are just being fined less.
 
The Department of Transport of the UK had in fact studied the attitude of drivers towards mobile phone misuse and this (earlier) research actually showed that 1.1% of drivers in England and Scotland had been seen holding their phone while driving and a further 0.5% were seen with the phone to their ear.
 
The research suggests that there is a rather high number of offenders not being caught and not being fined, thus raising doubt as to the reality of any fundamental change in drivers’ attitude.
 
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is of a similar opinion; the fact that fines did not visibly increase merely suggests that motorists are still disregarding the law as most drivers have little fear of being caught. Neil Greig, director of policy and research for IAM, disclosed that around 470,000 motorists are using mobile phones illegally, and in actual fact 72,000 tickets and 99,000 courses undertaken is still a very small number of penalty sanctions for such a dangerous habit.
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Safe Driving

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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