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Maintenance checks and inspections: why involving drivers is essential

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Maintenance checks and inspections have to be performed regularly in order to keep your fleet in good shape and remain compliant with legal requirements as well as to maximise the safety of every team member.

Sometimes though, it is not only difficult to focus on the importance of this area but also to get drivers to carry out basic vehicle checks and to notify the fleet manager promptly when it is necessary to send vehicles for servicing in compliance with the manufacturer's recommendations and organise mechanical attention so as to comply with the law (as maintenance itself should be carried out by specialised staff).

Drivers are often stressed with their schedule and the pressure they are under to meet deadlines which can lead to them evaluating a lot of things when deciding whether to continuing working for the same company. In such a situation, it is vital to get their loyalty and full participation. But how does positive input from drivers impact your fleet; why is it so important to involve them?


Photo Credit: ©


1. Vehicle lifetime increases

If your drivers collaborate fully and perform vehicle checks regularly, the lifespan of your fleet vehicles increases. With a solid maintenance system involving regular and daily checks and the help of your drivers to do vehicle inspections pre-trip, you will ensure vehicles are kept roadworthy.


2. No sanctions

Of course if drivers do not carry out walkaround checks, there are also legal consequences which might result in fines for your company. If you ensure there is collaboration, this will be eliminated.


3. Minimising downtime

Regular checks help minimise downtime, which is also an important source of cost for your company. Completely eliminating downtime is virtually impossible, though actions involving checks and so on can be taken in order to keeping downtime to a minimum.


4. Driver retention

Getting drivers more active and deeply involved in the day-to-day running of your fleet and making them participate in activities, even if solely for work, is one of the strategies that lead to better retention and keeping the best talent in the company.



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Topics: fleet maintenance

Safety and speeding offences: new “Slow down day” for Oct 21st

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 18, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Due to the increase in speeding collisions leading to fatalities in 2016 and speeding offences, An Garda Siochána and the RSA (Road Safety Authority) conducted a slow-down day in May this year with the aim of sensitising fleets and drivers to the dangers of speeding.

A new “Slow down day” is now planned for October 21st reminding drivers of the need to comply with speed limits, as the higher the speed the greater the likelihood of a collision happening and the more severe its outcome.

Excessive and inappropriate speed is a major contributory factor in road traffic collisions, further confirmed by the recent RSA report on fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 which found that excessive speed was a contributory factor in one third of all fatal collisions during that time.

Public and private sector fleet operators are also being asked to participate in the initiative by circulating among the employees the key message to “Slow Down” and, whether driving for business or private purposes, to always drive within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions.

Speeding is not only a major contributing factor in any collision, it also compromises road safety, impacts on fuel consumption and leads to increased wear and tear on vehicles. There is a business case for companies to understand that safety not only benefits the community (and, in any event, involves mandatory stipulations) but it also has the added bonus of lowering fuel consumption and global fleet costs.

Monitoring driver behaviour is the method by which fleets can begin to train their staff and decrease speeding, reducing the possibility of collisions and having a positive impact on road safety. Let us know if this is something you want to get started!


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Topics: Road Safety, fleet safety

Vehicle inspection sheet: 5 reasons to give it up for paperless checks

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 13, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Vehicle inspection sheets or checklists, such as our walkaround ones ones, are indeed a great tool for fleets to organise pre-trip checks and streamline maintenance, or as a base to create your own pre-trip vehicle check customised to the needs of your company.

But while the basics are good enough to get started, i.e. a process for maintenance or daily checks, paperwork usually implies an expenditure of time and energy to record things manually and requires physical space set aside in order to safely file all the documents.

But what might be the other reasons why it could be more convenient for your fleet to switch to paperless checks?




1. Time savings

Drivers, though they should be given realistic journey times, are often under pressure and might easily be tempted to view checks as time-consuming. Indeed they take some time. But if you compare them with the time needed to complete vehicle checks through an app, you will immediately notice the difference.


2. Money savings

Apart from the money savings that come with time savings, you might also consider the elimination of errors associated with manual work along with the streamlining of the maintenance and vehicle checks process that contributes to keeping your vehicles in good shape—this equates to less money spent at the garage and more road time.


3. Environment friendly

Less paperwork also means being more friendly to the environment, which together with ecodriving and fuel savings is making your fleet even greener.


4. Quicker communication

Once everything is stored in a cloud computing software service like SynX—which enables different fleet departments to communicate with each other—it’s immediately obvious how paperless checks can really make the difference and optimise communication within your company.


5. Compliance guaranteed

In order to correctly observe legal compliance you should store all documentation related to vehicle checks for inspection purposes. If you have technology doing that for you, you don’t have to worry about losing data or wonder where you have stored all the paperwork from the last, however many, months...


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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet maintenance, fleet compliance

Driver recruiting strategies: how to find the best drivers?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 11, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Driver recruiting strategies are currently a hot topic due to the driver shortage companies are experiencing lately when searching for reliable employees for their fleet operation. The decline in driver availability started around a decade ago and is now touching its highest point, with a turnover rate of 100% and a large proportion of the current workforce retiring in the next two years.

The pressing question employers now face not only concerns how to recruit the right people but also how to retain them; and there are a number of factors to consider, from the company reputation to the use of technology and much more. But what do drivers want?

An American survey published by National Retail Systems Inc. in 2014 (the US are also experiencing a high driver shortage, especially in trucking) listed some of the most important factors for drivers took into account when choosing a job:

Amount of home time – 67%
Benefits – 52%
New equipment – 47%
Location – 36%
Type of run – 32%
Company reputation – 31%
Sign-on bonus – 13%
Training – 11%
Not sure – 2%

According to these results, there are some areas companies can explore in order to improve the conditions on offer to drivers, even if they are unable to offer a higher salary. Apart from those, technology has to be considered as it can assist companies to monitor drivers’ performance (and provide some insight into employee contentment) through metrics on safety, vehicle activity and rest times.

With the answers from the survey and the information available from telematics software, you could easily formulate a strategy to recruit and retain the best drivers. What then are the main points to consider?

1. The first point refers to “amount of home time”: apart from the regulation on working hours which should be respected, drivers obviously value home time highly. If you adopt a system for streamlining journeys and planning efficient routes, drivers will surely spend less time on the road and their home time will therefore increase.

2.  The second refers to “benefits”: technology can help you to establish a driver programme where the good performances, the safe drivers and those who adopt a fuel-saving style can be rewarded accordingly.

3. The third refers to “new equipment”: vehicles should always be maintained and kept roadworthy; that way they are always in good order. But they also need to be replaced at the appropriate time—again, something telematics can help with, as you can measure vehicle performance and detect any problem.

4. The sixth point refers to “company reputation”: we have often dealt with that in the past, explaining the role that technology can play in improving a business’s reputation. Companies that retain their drivers will automatically be regarded as superior, so start implementing these suggestions and your company reputation will improve per se!

5. The eighth point refers to “training”, which not only benefits drivers by improving their preparation, but companies too, since a trained driver is safer and assists the employer in operating a safer, better company.


These are some tips to help you retain your driver talent, which will eventually result in attracting and recruiting more drivers. If you want to know more on how technology can help, contact us!


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Topics: fleet managament

Boost your business with route planning: 3 more reasons to sign up

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 6, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Fuel savings is probably one of the main advantages you should be aware of if you are looking to optimise route planning for your fleet. But there are actually additional areas where route planning can help you improve your business and stimulate growth!


1. Optimized route planning can help you in scheduling appointments

If scheduling visits forms the basis of your work, you will probably be painfully aware just how annoying and counterproductive it is to miss appointments. If you have a system for increasing the optimization of routes and comparing them, it will be easy to meet appointments and deadlines or schedule meetings in a more realistic way—that’s just for starters!


2. Optimized route planning helps you excel at customer service

Provide accurate ETAs for your customers (not only for sales appointments) as well as keeping your customers updated, all thanks to the power of technology and vehicle real time location—that’s really nailing it! Everything is possible if you have an optimised process for route planning; and if you want technology to help, all you have to do is ask us.


3. Optimized route planning helps you be more environment friendly

No more unnecessary driving to reach places, and therefore less emissions—helping still more to reach carbon footprint targets and reduce fuel consumption.



If you have not done it yet, these are just a few good reasons why you should start optimizing route planning for your fleet. And if you need a hand with this, SynX can point you in the right direction. Contact us if you have any questions or if you wish to schedule a demo!



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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking, Fuel

Route planning: 3 reasons why it should be important for your business

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Efficient route planning should always be the basis for scheduling jobs and tasks that need to be conducted through fleet vehicle operations, not only if you are a delivery company but in any logistical activity. When people talk about route planning and vehicles, only some of the reasons in favour of efficient route planning come out, such as the need to reach a destination more quickly. But if you think about it, there are quite a lot of advantages your company might profit from if you optimise route planning.

Here we detail 3 of them!


1. Efficient route planning helps you to save fuel

This is probably the most obvious reason for efficient route planning: if you use better routes it will lead to less driving, and this means you will save fuel. Route planning is necessary for drivers in order not to get lost or waste time and fuel searching for the road leading to their destination, but by optimising it, that is, choosing the best route leading to a specific point, you are sure to nail it every single time!


 2. Efficient route planning means increased safety

Think about the time drivers could spend trying to find a place on unfamiliar roads, immersed in traffic and getting increasingly anxious—all the conditions that might make driving far more stressful. If you plan routes beforehand, you can familiarise drivers with them before getting behind the wheel. You can also predict and avoid heavy traffic—an advantage for not only their safety but also for all road users.


3. Efficient route planning leads to reducing overall expenses

Less fuel, less possibility of incidents (safety first, as we always say!). So, all in all, it makes for less fleet expenses, less wear and tear on your vehicles, less insurance claims, and ultimately that means more money you can keep in your pocket.


With SynX, you can plan routes and play them again to assess the best choices for the specific activity of your fleet. Never assume you are using the best route to travel—SynX is here to help. Contact us if you want to know more!


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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking, Fuel

7 of the best fuel efficiency tips you might have not thought about

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 29, 2016 9:00:00 AM

best fuel efficiency tips

In the present economic context and in these times of heightened environmental awareness, fuel economy is an ever growing concern for fleet managers and companies whose business is completely dependent on the operation of vehicles.

That’s why we decided to share an infographic created by The News Wheel on that topic and to provide you with  7 of the best fuel efficiency tips. Though the infographic targets car drivers, there are some tips you could actually use as a professional driver, that will allow your fleet to be more fuel efficient and your company to grow: by cutting expenses on fuel and fleet costs, it inevitably follows that there will be more income to invest in the development of your business!

Interested? Then learn how to save fuel by checking out the following tips!

  • Make sure you are up to speed on your fleet maintenance:
    • 1. Check the tyres of your vehicles, and make sure they are properly inflated.
    • 2. Check the state of the engines of your fleet vehicles regularly.
    • 3. Check the oil you use: if you use synthetic oil, make sure your oil filters are changed regularly and appropriately.
  • Train your drivers toward a more fuel efficient driving style:
    • 4. Barring an emergency or having to take evasive action, speeding and harsh braking are definitely unacceptable if you want to reduce your fuel consumption. Train your drivers toward a smoother driving style.
    • 5. Idling is also a practice you must avoid at all costs! This will not only improve your fleet’s fuel efficiency but also reduce the carbon footprint of your business.
    • 6. Paying attention to traffic signals is also a good way to cut your fuel expenses. In a word—anticipate! By being more mindful of the traffic, your drivers will naturally drive more smoothly and therefore more fuel efficiently.
  • Plan your journeys and select the best route beforehand:
    • 7. Anticipating your drivers’ journeys is a sure way to cut your fleet’s fuel consumption. By keeping an eye on the traffic, you can avoid the jammed roads—saving fuel and time!


So far so good? Check out the infographic below to learn more fuel efficiency tips!


As you can see, these great tips are there to help cut your fuel bill and they are easy to implement; this is especially true when it’s your vehicle we are talking about. But how can you be sure these directions will be applied across your fleet? That’s where our fleet management software, SynX, comes into play!

With SynX you can:

  • receive the live traffic updates and journey reports you need in order to choose the best route possible; and not lose time and fuel in traffic jams, for example;
  • be kept up to date regarding your fleet maintenance, receive fuel reports, integrate fuel cards and be notified of idling alerts among other things...

In other words, a totally comprehensive fuel management software system makes for a totally fuel efficient fleet!

Contact us if you want to know more...

  Learn about the best fuel efficiency tips by watching our video!  

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel

Fleet management strategies: what expertise must fleet directors have?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Companies that own vehicles and use them in order to carry out their daily tasks might have different fleet management strategies in order to save money and wisely distribute budgets without compromising the profitability of their business. But surely an important element of the fleet management process is being able to rely on a smart professional in the role of the fleet director.

Given the daily needs of a fleet, whether large or small, a fleet manager is typically expected to organise a team to cope with the fast-pace economy we are currently experiencing—there are many, many tasks a fleet manager needs to deal with. Considering all this, there is surely a range of qualities a fleet manager must have, together with a particular set of technical skills.

In this blog post we are going to describe the technical skills and expertise a fleet director must have in order to ensure success for his business—what are they exactly?

1 - Knowledge of vehicle maintenance

While a fleet director doesn’t necessarily have a background in mechanics, he must be aware of fleet maintenance. And in order to do so he has to be familiar with different types of vehicles and their (evolving) technology. These skills are critical when the time comes to purchase new vehicles or when considering whether to replace the current ones, as factors such as vehicle consumption and features like cruise control or ABS might have an impact on fleet costs.

2 - Knowledge of fleet management software

Telematics is no longer a technical upgrade that some directors might wish to have for vague reasons, but actually something they need to actively engage with. Understanding the fundamental principles, establishing the metrics that need to be measured, being able to monitor KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are some of the skills fleet managers need to acquire when using fleet management software. There might even be different tools and software that are connected through an API (Application Program Interface) together with your fleet management solution, or you could have access via a different platform or software installed in your computer. Dispatching orders, field service, tachograph control: these days a fleet director must be fluent enough with the technology in order to control all of them. The days of pen and paper are long gone…

3 - Legal, HR, compliance

Part of fleet manager’s responsibilities include knowing what is needed in order to maintain legal compliance and how to operate without the prospect of unpleasant surprises, such as sanctions cropping up, because the correct rules and legislation have not been applied.

Not only should health and safety at work be guaranteed, but also compliance with working times, adequate logbooks maintained, vehicles MOT’d, drivers checked to ensure they are in possession of the adequate licences and certifications and so on.

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Topics: Fleet Management

Lower fuel prices cause fatalities to increase by 7% in the US

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 22, 2016 9:00:00 AM


We are constantly trying to sensitize people to important issues, provide insights on fleet safety and demonstrate how to achieve lower fuel costs without necessarily relying on lower fuel prices; we advise companies to adopt sound long-term strategies and educate drivers toward more ecological and safer driving styles.

One of the stranger stories in the news lately concerns the lower fuel cost prices that the US have been experiencing of late; a fact which encourages Americans to drive more frequently which in turn, unfortunately, has led to a 7% increase in road fatalities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which issued a communication on Aug 29th, 2015: “The nation lost 35,092 people in traffic crashes in 2015, ending a 5-decade trend of declining fatalities with a 7.2% increase in deaths from 2014. The final data released  by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed traffic deaths rising across nearly every segment of the population. The last single-year increase of this magnitude was in 1966, when fatalities rose 8.1% from the previous year.”

When fuel is cheaper, Americans tend to drive more. An improving economy also naturally leads to more work-related driving, according to NHTSA. Other factors that contribute to the likelihood of a fatal traffic accident include drunk or distracted driving. Economists generally agree that low gas prices help stimulate the economy, though the modest economic growth of the last two years has led them to debate the extent of that effect. Still, an increase in traffic deaths is just one of several negative side effects. More driving also means an increase in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change; and automobile pollution continues to be responsible for disease and death in America’s urban centres.

NHTSA and other government agencies are working on a number of programs aimed at stemming the rise in traffic deaths, such as

  • releasing an open data set that contains detailed, anonymized information about each of these tragic incidents;
  • using the studies of attitudes toward speeding, distracted driving, and seat belt use to better target marketing and behavioural change campaigns;
  • monitoring public health indicators and behaviour risk indicators to target communities that might have a high prevalence of behaviours linked with fatal crashes (drinking, drug use/addiction, etc.).

According to many transportation experts, in the long-term self-driving cars may be the solution that can erase traffic fatalities completely.


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Topics: Safety, Fuel

Is prevention of bridge strikes one of the top driving safety topics?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Though, usually, the hottest driving safety topics seem to be driver distraction, speeding and drink driving, there is one topic that is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland, even if it is already a well-known issue for the UK as well—bridge strikes.

Irish newspapers have recently published a warning by Irish Rail, who told truck drivers to “wise up” (the exact words used!) and to be more aware of their vehicle's height as this issue has cropped up again after some time and particularly affects the DART route.

The latest occurrences drew these comments from Irish Rail: “The basic intelligence and competence of drivers involved in these incidents must now be called into question. We have endeavoured to inform and educate drivers, we have advertised, we have improved our signage, we have seen prosecutions and we have introduced new technologies – the message has to get through.  It is basic safety for truckers to know the height of their vehicles and the bridges on their routes.”


Photo Credit: © Irish Rail


What is a bridge strike and how can it affect road safety?

A strike has occurred if any part of a road user‘s load or vehicle has collided with a bridge (usually a railway). Most frequently there are collisions with under-bridges (of restricted height) and over-bridges (road over railway, when a driver has made a misjudgement or lost control of their vehicle)—both can have serious consequences.

The causes of bridge strikes can be wide ranging. However, they can be prevented with prior planning and adherence to warning or diversionary signage. Bridge strikes can lead to

  • loss of life or injury to the vehicle driver, passengers and other members of the public;
  • traffic delays and congestion;
  • train delays.


How can we prevent a bridge strike?

1 - Traffic signs are provided at bridges to show the maximum permitted vehicle height:

  • Red circles prohibit
  • Red triangles warn

2 - Road risk assessment helps identify routes and bridge height. They help drivers:

  • assess the risk of bridge strikes based on the height and width of the vehicle;
  • select routes to eliminate the risk of bridge strikes;
  • assess routes for vehicles under maintenance or engineering test to avoid bridge strikes.



  • schedules should not cause the driver pressure, stress or fatigue as this may increase the risk of bridge strikes;
  • local highway or road authorities—guidance may be obtained on vehicle heights limits under bridges;
  • vehicle height checks are encouraged during first use—check the maximum height as displayed in the cab of the vehicle (always there as a reminder for drivers).


How should drivers be sensitized to this topic?

Drivers should be aware of the following:

  • The vehicle height in metres and the corresponding imperial measurements
  • The maximum vehicle height
  • The maximum vehicle height as displayed in the driver cab
  • The importance of checking that the load is secure
  • The number to call in case of an emergency


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Topics: Road Safety, Safe Driving

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