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Buying a dash-cam? Here you have 4 must-have features

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 28, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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Technology for fleets and safety does not begin and end with GPS tracking and telematics software: buying a dash-cam is no longer an optional extra, but a complementary tool for your fleet management system—offering protection of drivers and assets, and reinforcing the safety of your fleet.

If you feel you aren’t particularly “techie”, or do not know what to choose in the many offers of dash-cams that have lately become available for fleets, have a look at this small list which include the must-have characteristics your dash-cam should have in order to be a really powerful tool!

 

#1 - High quality video

If you have to choose a dashboard camera for your fleet, make sure you test the video and that it provides top quality footage at night or in cloudy/foggy weather conditions. The visibility needs to be good enough so that you are able to read vehicle registrations, for example. Dash-cams need to show the scene of an incident and, where possible, the number of vehicles involved. So, never scrimp when it comes to quality of video!

 

#2 - Resistant in adverse weather

The cam should be guaranteed to work even when the weather is very cold or rainy—it has to be of such quality that it can work in any conditions and not leave you unprotected. The footage stored on the internal memory card has to be protected, so it is important to consider how firmly the cam is mounted, including the adhesive used for some installations.

 

#3 - GPS

Installing a dash-cam with the GPS system integrated means a location of the vehicle at any time is available, which saves a great deal of time in case you need to reconstruct an incident. Furthermore, if you have a fleet management system you can even cross-check the data obtained from it with the footage.

 

#4 - Memory option

Make sure the card and the internal memory of the dash-cam you choose for your fleet has a large capacity. A lot of cams have continuous loop recording which means that existing footage is overwritten if the card or the memory is full. The greater the capacity the easier it is to manage.

 

Photo Credit: By Fernost - Own work, Public Domain,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29835936

 

If you are not sure what exact type of camera it is that you need for your fleet, our experts can help you—visit our website dash-cam section in order to know more!

 

buying a dash camera?

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety

Pokémon GO: 3 similarities it shares with fleet management software

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 26, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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Even if we are totally into fleet management software, it is surely impossible not to have noticed that the launch of Pokémon GO has kicked off the biggest craze since the Rubik’s cube!

The location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic has just become the hottest potato and the latest viral phenomenon—making the value of Nintendo (which has a financial stake in the business known as “The Pokémon Company”) double its share vale.

We know fleet management can be challenging and—no joke—it can really make all the difference to how quickly your business grows. But if you play around with a fleet management software like SynX it becomes so easy that having control of your assets and fleet costs will seem like a breeze!

But what do fleet management systems such as SynX and games like Pokémon GO have in common?

 

1. GPS technology

Pokémon GO uses GPS data to generate a video or live direct view of the physical environment that is an essential element of augmented reality, SynX and fleet management systems are also based on GPS tracking technology which helps in getting vehicle location data and planning routes.

 

2. App

SynX is also an app like Pokémon GO, but with Synx you can either manage your fleet or have your staff doing walkaround checks. Or even—and here we find another similarity with the gaming concept—allowing you to set up ecodriving challenges which will help your staff to drive more safely while saving fuel. Drivers are ranked in the system: nobody wants to be at the bottom of the rankings and hopefully the concept will go viral among your team members (where it may even be more popular than Pokémon GO!).

 

3. Available 24/7

Yes, the addiction never stops and people can become game-dependent, which is apparently not great, but according to some this is not proven to be completely true. The Pokémon craze has caused clinical psychologists to state that there could even be potential improvements to mental health and depression. But what about SynX?

Well, there’s no doubt that SynX is available 24/7 from any device and browser—not just a smartphone. And this has a great impact on your business and a positive effect on the stressful life of fleet managers, who can secure a vehicle position at any given time: keeping fleets running smoothly, staff working safely and efficiently whilst also lowering bills… and the list just goes on! That’s quite an improvement!

 

Want to have that peace of mind? Contact us to schedule a demo.

 

Photo Credit: By Gieson Cacho - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gcacho/27593601665/ (Cropped from the original), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50195748

 

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking

Why you must get started with preventive maintenance inspections

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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… well, if you haven’t  done it already!

All fleets definitely need to have a maintenance program organised around walkaround checks checks and preventive maintenance inspections… but the truth is, this is often just theory. The most demoralising fact is the huge amount of people involved with fleets that still think it is a waste of time.

Preventive maintenance inspections, regular vehicle and walkaround checks are, in reality, a powerful tool. If you master the art of using it, you will have success.

Want to know more?

 

1. Preventive maintenance helps you to be legally compliant

If you start using a system that promotes regular checks, you incur less risk of having your vehicles stopped for legal reasons and undergoing downtime. It is a duty, for your company, not to operate dangerous vehicles, as well as protecting employees and road users against faults or accidents.

 

2. Regular maintenance helps you identify the causal principles behind breakdowns

If you have an accurate system in place incorporating regular fleet vehicle checks and daily walkaround checks, you can easily find out why some issues are recurrent, and maybe change something in your system or way of working or using vehicles.

 

3. Maintenance data helps to decide what is acceptable and what is not

If you regularly maintain vehicles, you can easily get data on their performance and establish what is considered a reasonable level of wear and tear. (Remember, though, that it is high on impossible for vehicles not to incur downtime, and to some extent it is normal.) If you have a fairly uniform fleet with vans of the same make and model, it could be particularly useful in gauging the norm and therefore pinpoint any vehicles functioning abnormally.

 

4. Frequent vehicle checks keep costs down

The fact is, by keeping vehicles roadworthy you will definitely notice you won’t spend as much on your fleet as you did before you had regular maintenance. Keeping a constant eye on vehicles, while processing the data obtained in order to improve operations, can only make your fleet more successful and efficient... and is a lot kinder on your pockets :-).

 

With SynX, you can enjoy the benefits of a great maintenance planning tool: useful for scheduling events, classifying vendors and doing walkaround or regular checks or regular checks. It comes with standards recommended by the RSA and DVLA, but you can further customise it according to your fleet’s specific  needs.

Contact us to find out more!

 

 

 

 

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Topics: fleet maintenance, walk-around checks

Fuel prices rising after UK EU membership referendum: what’s going on?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 19, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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After a modest majority of the population in the UK voted out of the EU membership, questions are already cropping up regarding fleet costs and fuel price hikes in the UK and Ireland. But what has actually been happening since the June vote for Brexit?

Following on from Brexit, generally speaking, overheads are expected to rise. Of particularly concern to fleet operators include the rising cost of fuel, tolls and any administration charges connected to a possible change in processes currently under EU regulations—which might change for the worse in terms of expense.

But fuel for the moment has not seen a particularly sharp increase in the price (at least not as much as expected). Fuel prices in the UK have in fact only edged up around one and a half pence per litre in the period since the June referendum. The trend is probably going to lead to a further increase in fuel prices, but that is more likely due to the performance of sterling rather than the price of oil, per se.

Barrel prices have dropped during the last couple of weeks, whilst at the same time the pound has devalued. (The two events have managed to cancel each other out for the time being.) The substantial fluctuations predicted by experts and insiders have failed to materialise, and some sources already claim that the result of the Brexit won’t impact too much on the cost of fuel. But other sources claim it is still too soon to tell, since the conditions under which the UK must leave the EU are still to be negotiated.

With regards to Ireland: over the coming days, the government will be holding discussions with other EU members in order to prevent the Brexit fallout from negatively impacting the Irish economy.

We all know that we have negligible influence on factors such as the price of fuel—that’s why we offer you a different, winning strategy to cut on your fuel bills. Whether the Brexit impacts on fuel prices or not, get in touch with us and learn more on how to cut on your fuel and fleet costs.

 

 

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Topics: Fuel

Could telematics for fleets and GPS tracking make employees happier?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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If you have looked into telematics for fleets or GPS tracking in order to gain efficiency, save money and streamline your processes, you are surely on the right track to empower your fleet and your business. But from my personal experience I know you may still be harbouring doubts regarding the ‘human factor’… in other words, how will your employees take the news?

Most people who opt for installing telematics or GPS tracking feel that their staff won’t naturally accept it; that they won’t like the idea of being controlled or won’t feel comfortable with the technology. But while we have often focused on how it is best to present the subject to your team and on the benefits of using a similar system in case of disputes, in order to prove their innocence regarding an incident or even to protect them in adverse weather or possible danger, now we intend to focus on the human factor and find out whether telematics for fleets or GPS tracking could actually make employees happier, and, ultimately, how to make them switch over to a more receptive attitude.

A happy employee is surely a boost to the health of a company—what can fleet telematics do for the welfare of your staff (and ultimately, for your business)?

 

1. A way of showing you care for your staff

Drivers do quite a risky job even if in the minds or preconceptions of some people the daily driving routine is not considered too difficult. It also involves a lot of other tasks, such as making sure everything is compliant, loading and unloading vehicles, performing vehicle checks and of course travelling safely and being attentive to what can happen on the road. Implementing a telematics system means you care for your staff and you want to protect them, train them in the practice of safe driving and help out in case of danger.

 

2. A way of decreasing the stress of your workforce

A lot of things will definitely be easier once telematics is installed: drivers won’t have to use paper forms for walkaround checks; and they won’t have to be called up every time in order to ascertain their position or delivery time. It is a way of decreasing the stress, anxiety and worry in your employees.

 

3. Making them feel part of the company

Implementing a technology that is able to monitor driver behaviour and journeys will provide occasions for training your drivers as well as engaging them so they become more fully involved in the company.

 

4. Reward drivers for their good performances

With some software solutions for fleet management, you will also have the opportunity of rewarding drivers. The ideas for doing that could be different: for example, you could explain something particularly good that has been done by somebody in the team during a meeting, or by utilising the driver challenge option through which you can organise driver competitions based on fuel consumption or safety.

 

In the end, there are quite a number of telematics options that can improve the working life of your employees, and improve your business as well! Contact us to find out exactly how to do it.

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking

The fleet manager role: does a fleet really need a multitask master?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 12, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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One of the words most commonly associated with the fleet manager role is “multitasking”; and I am not afraid to admit to having used it many, many times when trying to sum up the role of those responsible for the daily demands of operating a fleet.

The fleet manager role encompasses such a great deal of responsibilities that it is often combined with, or takes on, other roles; or it could be the case that the person who has the normal daily responsibilities of a fleet manager in a big organisation might also be the owner or director of the company.

But what are those roles whose skills or responsibilities are often borrowed or even covered exclusively by fleet managers?

 

1. HR

Fleet managers not only have to take part in the recruiting process for drivers, but also have to make sure there is ongoing, fluid written and oral communication with drivers especially, but also with other team members regarding processes, ideas and tasks to be completed.

 

2. Operations

A part of the productive process of businesses, that use driving and its own vehicles, involves journeys or deliveries that need to be completed on time, with vehicles running smoothly and drivers being responsible. That part is firmly in the hands of the fleet manager.

 

3.Finance

Costs and working—sometimes on a shoestring budget—is the fleet manager’s bread and butter. And often it comes down to having to justify costs such as for a vehicle replacement or some investment in new technology. You know, in the latter case, it might well be that it isn’t actually spending the money: however, if you make the right decision, the results will pay for themselves...

 

4. Maintenance

A fleet manager is not a mechanic but definitely needs to have input in the decision-making process when it comes to selecting a maintenance vendor, or, in the choice between an in-house or an external maintenance provider—he will be partly responsible for costs, efficiency and its development.

 

5. Company owner

In companies where the fleet operation is the primary source of income, such as in transport, logistics etc., the fleet manager might feel a responsibility as strong as if he were the owner. And with regards to the actual company owner and their responsibilities in small fleets, as discussed in the past, it might really be the case that the owner/fleet manager assumes all the tasks and commitments we have been dealing with up till now.

 

What do you think about the role of the fleet manager? Is this list complete? What more skills would a fleet manager need to have?

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Thinking about replacing fleet vehicles? Here’s what to do!

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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All fleets, whether large or small, reach the point where the decision to acquire new vehicles, replace fleet vehicles, to downsize, rightsize and so on can no longer be avoided. Everyone wants to take the right steps in order to avoid wasting money regarding a new purchase; to make a sensible decision as to what to do when an older vehicle needs excessive maintenance and is reaching the end of its cycle, and what to do with vehicles that after having been purchased are only used seasonally or have a low asset utilization rate.

If you are specifically looking to replace a vehicle you think cannot be used any longer without seriously impacting the costs of your fleet—i.e., costs surpass the expected level for some reasons, and you cannot seem to do much about it as they are well maintained and used properly by your drivers etc.—here are some aspects you should consider before you take the step to invest in something new.

So, if you are in the process of replacing fleet vehicles, here is what you need to look at:

 

1. Vehicle starts to “suffer” more

When mechanical and electrical issues as well as breakdowns start to become a recurring issue, and apparently for no reason, your fleet telematics software gives you all the metrics necessary to make a judgement call as to when to call time on a vehicle and purchase a replacement. If it starts to cost more in repairs compared with previous years, is often in the garage or subject to downtime, it’s time to seek a substitute in the interests of economics and safety.

 

2. Vehicles actually look old

If despite being maintained and washed, a vehicle still looks old or maybe is not suitable to carry out a specific job, and this (remember!) can throw a bad light on the image of your company, it might mean it’s time for a change. Maybe it won’t be the only aspect to consider when thinking about a replacement, but surely it can help in making a decision if weighed up with other aspects.

 

3. Vehicles use too much fuel

Again, providing you have done everything you can in order to save fuel (training drivers not to use aggressive techniques, having full visibility on all fuel purchasing, updating and reviewing routes/journeys etc.), if your vehicles use too much fuel they might need to be replaced. The fact that they consume too much fuel also has an impact on emissions.

 

4. Vehicles need more tuning and attention to remain compliant

If vehicles require additional equipment or are constantly in need of repair in order to remain roadworthy, chances are that they are outdated. Consider also that vehicles that are old and not fully compliant might not be authorized in all areas and might lead to an increase in sanctions, and, therefore, expense...

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet maintenance

In-house fleet maintenance or outsourcing fleet maintenance: what is the best approach?

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

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The approaches to fleet vehicle maintenance can be manifold: in previous posts we have discussed proactive, predictive and reactive maintenance, and, indeed, also the way in which maintenance is organized. But we have also examined how the choice between operating an in-house team and relying upon external resources can be seen as good or bad according to size, scope of the fleet and financial resources available.

Some companies completely rely on in-house vehicle maintenance, while other businesses go for outsourcing and a third part combines both approaches. But what are the benefits and the disadvantages of both of them? Let's find it out!

 

In-house fleet maintenance: pros and cons

 

If you have an internal team and facility for fleet maintenance, here is why it can be beneficial:

1 - An internal team knows better what is needed and is easily able to define priorities;

2 - You can customise schedules and processes for maintenance as well as record every single servicing event regularly, and establish procedures for vehicle testing and regular maintenance rather than just having to focus attention on vehicles during downtime only;

3 - You can control costs more easily;

4 - If you have a fleet with the same, single type of vehicle, it might be easier to save on costs as the maintenance needed for all the vehicles is often identical;

5 - You have an in-house resource you can rely on and don’t have to depend on the services of different vendors who might not always be trustworthy on occasions.

 

And here are the reasons why it can be disadvantageous:

1 - You need to spend money on having proper facilities, people that are trained and need to go on refresher and updating courses;

2 - As you would probably need to spend more on setting up a maintenance facility, it may not really be suitable for a small fleet and the costs will likely outweigh the benefits;

3 - You have to spend on resources and on running a maintenance inventory which requires time, money and staff.

 

Outsourcing fleet maintenance: pros and cons

 

And what about the outsourcing? Why outsourcing fleet maintenance could be good for fleets?

1 - You can agree on fixed costs, like you would for any contractor;

2 - You can use external resources only when it’s necessary, so you don’t have to spend out constantly running your own team;

3 - The outsourced team dealing with maintenance will always be trained according to the latest specs;

4 - Equipment will always be updated as maintenance is their primary business activity;

5 - It does not impact on the capital of your company;

6 - Probably good for small fleets.

 

But on the other hand…

1 - You could risk excessive downtime as you are not the only one relying on a vendor, as well as risking unnecessary repairs and slow response times;

2 - An external vendor might have a high staff turnover, so they may be unfamiliar with your vehicle or company;

3 - You might not be able to record all servicing events or need to spend more time on this; you also have less control over the process;

4 -You might have to travel and spend money simply in order to reach the maintenance vendor;

5 - Sometimes it will be similar to working with an intermediary, meaning there is less fluid communication.

 

What did you choose for your fleet, which approach is the best? Would you like to tell us your experience?

 

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Topics: fleet maintenance

Sustainable fleets: is the electric road the future?

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

Having a sustainable fleet is often seen as a contradictory topic in view of the fact that driving itself mainly relies on fossil fuel, and the use of electric and hybrid vehicles is still not widespread.

Today a new scenario opens up with the news in the last days of the inauguration of what is called “the world’s first electric road” in Sweden, which is currently undergoing testing.

The “electric road”—a strip the length of 2 kilometres close to the city of Gävle—is the result of the collaboration between the Swedish government and the private sector, represented by Scania, whose trucks are testing the road, and Siemens, who provided the engineering.

The technology allows hybrid vehicles to work as electric vehicles when on the electric road and like fuel-powered vehicles for the rest of the time. The Scania trucks involved in the testing are all hybrid and running on biofuel. At the back of the truck there is a pantograph collector that takes the power from the electrified road and automatically disconnects once off the electric-powered lane.

 

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Photo Credit: © Scania

 

Sweden is also testing another type of electric road which utilises an embedded rail positioned in the road surface and works by energizing vehicles passing over it.

The testing of both will take place over the next two years. Sweden’s aim is to create a completely fossil-free energy-efficient fleet by 2030.

 

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Topics: Fuel, technology

4 ways the Brexit vote might affect your fleet and its costs

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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This week has probably been one of the hardest ones the European Union has ever experienced since its foundation because of the results of the UK EU membership referendum. Brexit and Bregret are a hot potato, and while some sign petitions for another chance to vote, others try to figure out what will happen if and when the UK finally exits the EU. So, in the case of Brexit actually coming true, in what ways will the referendum result affect your fleet and its costs?

 

1. Fuel prices will get higher in the UK

The value of the pound has plunged recently to a value not seen since 1985: retailers are seeing an increase of around 1.5 pence per litre in the cost of fuel which is expected to increase at the pump by 2.5 pence in coming days, with more volatility expected over the next few weeks.

 

2. Trading conditions across borders will have to be renegotiated

Borders will change and special attention is being focussed on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic: the two have enjoyed arrangements for free movement and mutually beneficial agreements on commercial matters, which have to be maintained, at least during the Brexit negotiations, or operators risk new costs from increased regulations and bureaucracy.

 

3. Changes in EU regulations for CPC, vehicles and tachograph rules in the UK

While it is true that leaving the European Union will mean that all EU regulations will be abandoned, on the other hand it is also true that the UK Government already has separate legislation covering many of the same matters dealt with by the EU. An example would be the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 and the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, which are both pieces of UK legislation. The scenarios are possibly going to more complicated in other areas such as relate to driving licences and companies operating across different countries.

 

4. Driver shortage

Under the present conditions driver shortage is common; and with a big part of the existing workforce made up by migrants, it might be difficult to maintain the current staffing levels, especially as increasing immigration control has been one of the top promises of the Brexit campaign.

 

If the Brexit scenario comes true, more pressure and costs will be added to fleets and transport. For the moment the only certainty is that Cameron has resigned and left it for his successor to decide on the negotiations.

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

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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