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Leasing fleet vehicles: aspects to consider before choosing rental

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Leasing fleet vehicles is certainly an option increasingly considered by fleet managers during the current economic climate, in response to seasonal demands and when sales fluctuate unpredictably, to save global fleet costs. Vehicle rental is a quick and simple solution to your fluctuating business demands; but before you contact the vehicle hire firm, we should consider some of the advantages and disadvantages. Let’s go!

 

Among some of the advantages of leasing fleet vehicles include:

 

  • Fixed costs—leased fleet vehicles generally have to be paid every month as a fixed quota, so there are no unpleasant surprises when the invoice turns up or any unexpected costs; you can predict the expenses.


  • Not subject to depreciation—when vehicles are replaced, you do not lose any capital.


  • Maintenance and compliance is taken care of—as part of the fixed costs, maintenance and compliance are generally the sole responsibility of the leasing company.


  • To some extent, you can adapt vehicles to your needs—you can still install telematics or enjoy different features even if vehicles are not owned.

 

And here are some of the cons you need to consider when leasing:

 

  • Penalties and contracts—depending on the conditions you have signed for, you might face some penalty if you wish to end the contract early.


  • Mileage restrictions—you might be subject to either fees or additional charges if you do exceed the mileage limit imposed by your rental company.


  • No vehicle at the end of the contract—sometimes your situation means leasing is suitable to cover your immediate needs or in order to test some additional vehicles, but what if you still need the asset and your contract finishes?


  • Lack of specialised vehicles—if you operate within a niche sector or have any particularly specific demands for your vehicle to fulfil, there might be little choice among rental or leasing specialists; you might through necessity have to  consider a purchase.


So, now that you have examined the advantages of owning vehicles as well as the disadvantages, together with the pros and cons of leasing and rental, which option would you choose for your fleet?

Bear in mind that these pointers might not necessarily be valid for all of your vehicle requirements, but may only apply to some of the specific cases. Anyway, we hope this helps!

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Petrol and diesel vans and cars sale: Britain to ban both from 2040

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 15, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Following on from an announcement by French environment minister Nicholas Hulot to outlaw all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the UK government has decided to follow suit with exactly the same pledge. The first country to formally undertake such a measure was Norway, who, one year ago, announced a similar ban but with a much more radical deadline—2025.

The measure will also affect hybrid vehicles and dramatically increase the sale of electric cars, which would be the only type allowed: as it stands, they only constitute 1% of the UK market. The measure is part of a broader government plan including further interventions on public transport, taxi and cycle paths.

The move is needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality is having on people’s health. Ministers believe it poses the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn (€2.98bn) in lost productivity in one recent year. The UK government is providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around the roads.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will be hoping for a better reception when he publishes the final document on Wednesday following months of legal wrangling.

A briefing on parts of the plan, seen by the Guardian, repeats the heavy focus on the steps that can be taken to help councils improve air quality in specific areas where emissions have breached EU thresholds.

Measures to be urgently brought in by local authorities that have repeatedly breached EU rules include retrofitting buses and other public transport, changing road layouts and altering features such as roundabouts and speed humps.

Reprogramming traffic lights will also be included in local plans, with councils being given £255m to accelerate their efforts. Local emissions hotspots will be required to layout their plans by March 2018 and finalise them by the end of the year. A targeted scrappage scheme is also expected to be included.

Some want the countrywide initiative to follow in the footsteps of London, which is introducing a £10 toxic “T-charge” that will be levied on up to 10,000 of the oldest, most polluting vehicles every weekday.

 

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Topics: Fuel Economy, Fuel

Vehicle tracking geo-fencing: UK exploring technology against terrorism

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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The UK government is investigating current vehicle location technology such as telematics, vehicle tracking and geo-fencing as part of their counter terrorism measures because of the use of hired vans in recent terror attacks.
 
The news comes not long after the Chinese government requested that all vehicles in the Xinjiang autonomous region be equipped with GPS tracking. Xinjiang, located in the Northwest of China, has been the target of terrorist attacks including bombing and deadly assaults with bladed weapons.
 
Telematics, particularly geo-fencing and tougher van hire rules, are now under discussion after a van was hired to mow down people on London Bridge initially before the driver embarked on a knife rampage that left eight people dead and 48 injured in total. And in March a rented vehicle was driven into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge before being crashed into the Houses of Parliament, killing PC Keith Palmer.
 
Now the Government is investigating whether ‘geo-fencing’ could be used to neutralise unauthorised vehicles entering restricted zones.

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Geo-fences are electronic boundaries, commonly employed by commercial fleet operators using telematics and tracking systems, created by the computer working in conjunction with global positioning satellites. If the vehicle enters a specific area an alert can be raised or, in the case of combatting terrorism, the car, van or truck could be stopped in its tracks.
 
Trials of the technology have been taking place in Sweden after a truck was driven into pedestrians shopping in Stockholm in April, leaving four people dead.
 
The Swedish government said in a statement that geo-fencing was a “technological solution to enable only authorised vehicles to be driven within a geographically defined area”. Its officials raised the matter at a briefing of the EU transport council last month, saying that it needed to consider what measures were available to combat the problem.
 
Following the meeting, the transport council acknowledged in a statement that “new digital technologies, such as geo-fencing, can be useful in preventing and mitigating such attacks”.

Police are becoming increasingly aware of vehicle tracking, telematics and geo-fencing, which allows for a vehicle to be immobilised remotely thanks to the black box technology.

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, GPS technology, News, Stats & Facts

How to manage your fleet: why manual methods are not a solution

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Despite living in an era of rapid technological advancement along with all the tools that make life so much easier for everyone (fleet directors included), companies still choose to manage their fleets based on manual entry methods such as spreadsheets; often worried at the cost of, or having to get to grips with, a modern system with which to perform the same tasks.

In reality, the time spent recording fleet data manually is actually wasted as it does not provide an accurate image of the situation of your vehicles. Even if some people do prefer to annotate spreadsheets, this method is much more prone to errors. So, what are the fundamental reasons as to why you shouldn’t opt for manual solutions or spreadsheets when managing your fleet, but instead, opt for technology and automation?

 Here we detail some of them:

 

1 - More paperwork and documents

 
If you only use papers and digital documents such as spreadsheets in order to record fleet activity rather than a technological solution, you will only increase the amount of paper going back and forth within your company and consequently the time to process it.


2 - No visibility on costs and company processes

 
Your spreadsheet, most probably, contains only a partial, somewhat subjective, record of the activity and costs of your fleet, as they have been filled out by an individual without the aid of technology or vehicle tracking. This is quite dangerous as it might lead you to make assumptions about the status of your fleet that later proves to be very misleading.

 
3 - Difficult sharing data

If you still use paperwork or manual spreadsheets, it might be difficult to share data across the team or to specify just who has access to which data. Apart from that, data can be entered by an individual in such a way that it is not necessarily easily understood by everyone—it may not be especially objective.

 

4 - Difficult to identify if improvements are needed

By manually collecting data, you are prone to making mistakes when copying numbers into a sheet or even, as previously mentioned, not entering up-to-date data (for example, you might have a fuel invoice stating the volume of fuel purchased dating from some time ago). In this way, it is difficult to see if you need to improve something in your fleet processes.

 

5 - Bad quality fleet data

Again, mistakes in the recording of data, failures in providing actual data, postponing the recording of data due to the tedious and drawn-out nature of the task, might be detrimental to the quality of fleet data or real-time fleet metrics.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking, fleet management technology

Driving techniques that boost your fleet fuel economy: an interesting infographic

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Fleet managers reiterating the importance of driving techniques in order to boost fuel economy may feel repetitious for most drivers; but the simple truth is if you are able to properly address driving behaviour, it definitely has long-term positive effects for your fleet in terms of costs, safety and environment.

We recently came across an interesting infographic on driving behaviours that boost your fuel economy published by On Stride Financial and entitled 13 Driving Tactics to Save Fuel, though the infographic has been created for end-users and not for fleets, there are actually some useful principles to take from it in order to adjust driver behaviour to a more fuel efficient style.

Driving techniques that boost your fleet fuel economy an interesting infographic 2.png

We have listed the points of the infographic followed by our opinion of these tips. Have a good read through and let us know what you think!

 
1. Use google maps to avoid driving in traffic jams—we promote route planning, and, what’s more, with our technology you can do it with Google Maps. There are history options for traffic as well, so you can detect the most fuel efficient route for your drivers and plan accordingly.

2. Shed unnecessary weight—according to the Energy Saving Trust publication for the UK Department of Transport entitled Advising fuel efficient driving techniques for your fleet, anything adding weight to a vehicle increases fuel consumption.

3. Drive between 55-65 MPH on the motorway—the speed advised by the AA quoted in the infographic reminds us that excessive speed needs to be avoided.

4. Avoid unnecessary overtaking—we do agree with the fact that overtaking should be kept to a minimum and only attempted when strictly necessary as it can be risky. For some vehicle types and on some roads, it is also forbidden.

5. Change gears at the right time—using the gears wisely helps you cut fuel bills. According to the Energy Saving Trust publication, research into the effect of the use of gears on fuel consumption shows that both petrol and diesel cars shifting up at low RPM and 50% accelerator position result in the lowest fuel consumption.

6. Close car windows and use a/c at high speeds—here we actually do not completely agree, as having the air conditioning turned on always impacts on a vehicle. According to the Energy Saving Trust publication, air conditioning systems pump (compress) a fluid (refrigerant) around a circuit: the fluid is made to evaporate in one part of the circuit (absorbing the heat) and condenses in another part (dispelling the heat). With vehicle a/c, the fluid in the circuit evaporates within the vehicle due to the heat and condenses at a point outside where the heat is dissipated. The compressor that drives the movement of this fluid is powered by the vehicle engine, increasing fuel consumption.

7. Avoid switching off the engine at mid-drive—here we also disagree with the infographic, as any unnecessary idling lasting more than one minute should be avoided at all costs.

8., 9., 10. Going easy on the throttle, maintaining a steady speed and being gentle on the brakes are all behaviours we wholeheartedly support: a smooth driving style, anticipating the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration as well as avoiding dangerous driving events such as rapid acceleration or harsh braking.

11., 12., 13. Use the right oil, keep your tyres inflated and regularly service your car—these all comprise the best practices of fleet maintenance. Vehicles need to be regularly maintained with the suitable products, tyre pressure checked regularly and servicing performed; it helps fuel savings but also improves global safety.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, Fuel

Managing fleet compliance: which aspects do you need to keep tabs on?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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We work with any type of fleet, from big ones to smaller ones, from the public to the private sector, but when we talk with our customers or prospects, we understand managing fleet compliance is one of the things with which they struggle the most.

 

The responsibility for managing fleet compliance is often outsourced to fleet directors due to the burden it might pose and the investment in administrative time. There is also the need for companies operating fleets to make sure their fleet compliance process is comprehensive and nothing is skipped. We regularly consult with carriers who thought they were compliant only to find out months later that they overlooked an update, forgot about filing an entry or missed a renewal date.

 

So what do you, as someone with fleet responsibilities, need to keep tabs on in order to guarantee you are correctly managing fleet compliance?

 

Here are five essential aspects you need to focus on:

 

1 - Working/Driving hours

Driving hours compliance in the EU is based on three main principles: you must not drive more than 9 hours in a day (this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week), 56 hours in a week and 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks. There is also a regulation concerning breaks: a driver must have at least 11 hours rest every day; you can reduce this to 9 hours rest three times between any two weekly rest periods. 

 

2 - Fleet Maintenance

According to Health and Safety authorities, companies need to demonstrate they have processes in place to guarantee a safe working environment (extending to vehicles) as well as providing the appropriate tools and means for employees to maintain such conditions. Duty of care is a legal obligation which requires adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others.

Having precise processes for Fleet Maintenance, regular vehicle inspections plus the means to record them accurately is a specific requirement.

 

3 - Vehicle testing

Vehicle testing is a preventative road safety measure that ensures vehicles are subject to a basic safety check at regular intervals. CVRT in Ireland is the roadworthiness vehicle test for commercial vehicles—in the UK, DVSA annual tests apply to all categories of fleet vehicles.

 

4 - Driver licence and penalty points

Driver qualification audits should be carried out to ensure all drivers’ licences and specialties meet legal requirements. Drivers, in particular, should update companies if there are variations on their points credit due to off work events, and companies need to make sure their licence is renewed smoothly. If you need help with that, you can set up a process with our driver declaration form.

 

5 - Tachograph compliance

It is compulsory to install a digital tachograph in new vehicles over 3,5 tonnes with goods transportion and carrying more than 9 persons including the driver with passenger transport. The tachograph is a device that records the driving time, breaks, rest periods as well as periods of other work undertaken by a driver. The digital system includes a printer for use in roadside inspections, and the driver has a card incorporating a microchip which must be inserted into the tachograph when in operation.

 

If you need to manage compliance while reducing paperwork and administration, get in touch with us to learn how to do it simply and efficiently—you can begin a free 30-days-trial of our compliance software any time.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet compliance

5 awesome asset tracking implementation tips we wish all fleets knew

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 27, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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When it comes to asset tracking implementation, the numerous potential advantages for your business are undeniable. It’s something you need to start looking into if you haven’t done so already. But if you think about the process itself, in order for it to be fully advantageous for your company, its implementation ought to follow some kind of procedure—in other words, it is extremely important to start on the right foot to make it profitable.

 

If you need to know just how to do this, please follow the next lines closely!

 

1. Evaluate the expectations and requirements set by your business

First step is usually defining how asset tracking should meet these needs and how you could develop an asset tracking system, what you would need in order to reach an objective, how much you could allocate toward that and come to a final decision only after some thorough thinking.

 

2. Start tracking vehicles and mobile assets as soon as you get them

If you track all the assets you use from the very first day of their acquisition, it will yield a good deal of information over time, not only by way of checking your ongoing asset tracking processes, but also the data necessary in order to make decisions on the lifespan of your vehicles.

 

3. Eliminate unusable or deteriorated assets

Once asset tracking is started it is probably an opportune moment to get rid of those assets that fall into the “old van in the yard” category; the ones that are no longer used and maintained, and cannot for that reason be used. In this way you will tidy up your vehicle inventory and make sure you are tracking the best resources.

 

4. Determine responsibility for the assets

Though this isn’t ordinarily easy to ascertain, as asset use and management is often spread among different staff, determine far more accurately just who is responsible for what—which drivers, transport managers, fleet managers etc. are responsible for different aspects of your operation. Reinforce that responsibility by updating your company policy and circulating it.

 

5. Assign a unique reference to every asset

Make sure you do not assign duplicated numbers or references to your assets so as not to waste time and effort, and create a precision tool to track your fleet.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

How appropriate tyre maintenance cuts your fuel bills and ensures legal compliance

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 25, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Tyre maintenance is not only an essential aspect of fleet maintenance that improves roadworthiness and safety, but is also, if managed in the right way, about cutting down on your fuel bills. If you are a fleet manager, you are most probably already aware that checking the tyre pressure on your fleet’s vehicles increases the safety of your drivers, but you might not be fully aware that appropriate tyre maintenance also cuts fuel consumption.

 

However, many cars and vans are currently operating on underinflated tyres. They are not only ignoring the benefits of maintained tyres for fuel economy purposes, but also putting drivers and other road users at high risks. There is the continual risk that a roadside inspection can force a vehicle off the road with immediate effect. A recent survey from UK charity Tyresafe states that 57% of vehicles—cars and vans—are running on underinflated tyres. The impact of skipping tyre maintenance (checking tyre tread and pressure) has been calculated and is substantial: £600m/€678.9m is spent unnecessarily on fuel because of incorrect maintenance.

 

When vehicles are driven with tyres that are below the recommended pressure, the risks of incident increases sharply, as well as fuel consumption. As a matter of fact, the surface of the tyre in contact with the road is cut by half when the tyre pressure is 7psi below the recommended pressure. The study by Tyresafe found that more than a third of tyres are being driven 8psi and more under the recommended pressures. Dangers arise because the vehicle is more difficult to control, particularly in wet weather. An underinflated tyre increases roll resistance, reduces the tyre tread lifespan and increases fuel consumption. In extreme cases, the tyre could even burst.

 

These numbers show a lack of concern from drivers and fleets regarding the dangers and the costs of underinflated tyres. We advise your drivers to check tyre pressures regularly, before every long journey and especially if vehicles are under heavier load than usual. A proper tyre pressure will decrease the risks of incident for your drivers, thus increasing general roadworthiness and helping you save money on fuel. Remember that it is an essential part of the recommended daily walkaround checklist that are both recommended by RSA/HSA of Ireland and the UK’s DVSA—so its omission might interfere with the compliance of your fleet.

 

Recommendations from the DVSA regarding tyres daily walkaround checks include checking as much of your tyres and wheels as you can see. There must be

  • a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm
  • sufficient inflation of each tyre
  • no deep cuts in the sidewall
  • no cord visible anywhere on the tyre
  • no missing or insecure wheel-nuts

You can get three penalty points on your licence for each tyre that isn’t safe and legal.

 

HSA/RSA recommend that tyres are checked for

  • pressure
  • damage
  • correct inflation
  • tread depth—the tread must not be worn to the extent that the tread indicator contacts the road surface. The legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm.
  • deep cuts, cracks, bulges
  • evidence of carcass failure
  • separated or perished rubber

 

Make sure you communicate with your drivers on the importance of checking tyre pressures; and if you need to streamline your fleet maintenance and walkaround checks process, SynX can definitely help. We are now offering a free 30-day trial on our SynX Maintain compliance and maintenance software (with mobile app); you can fill in the form with your details on our dedicated page and one of our fleet management experts will be in touch to set up an account.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel, fleet maintenance

5 great asset tracking tips to keep tabs on your fleet

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Asset tracking of mobile devices today is able to help solve a large number of challenges. It undoubtedly helps fleets to become more efficient and increase profits by helping to better manage your resources and in reaching a higher utilization rate.

 

Today, we are looking at five great tips that will hopefully make you unhesitatingly choose to use asset tracking to better control your business demands and reach the desired results. Let’s begin!

 

1. Use asset tracking to reduce risks

Vehicles and mobile devices such as trailers are your most valuable assets when you run a fleet. If you decide to opt for asset tracking devices you will reduce the risk of theft and improve safety and security, having them much more under your control at any given moment.

 

2. Get asset tracking to make your vehicle inventory 100% precise

For bigger fleets operating in different locations, very often in the construction sector, it is necessary to exactly locate equipment for logistical and security reasons. Tracking your mobile assets is an invaluable aid to planning your daily schedule and cutting out the superfluous movement of assets from one place to the other. This can be achieved in a far more intelligent way!

 

3. Boost asset tracking automation to eliminate manual methods

Many companies which deploy working vehicles still do not realise the costs generated by the use of obsolete methods, which make them not only prone to mistakes, but also to unreliable fleet metrics that could lead to unwise decisions.

 

4. Better planning and forecast with asset tracking systems

Seasonal peaks and lows exist in every business, and you have to be prepared for them. Asset tracking provides intelligent forecasting and therefore assists decisions on vehicle and asset acquisition.

 

5. Asset tracking as a method for improving productivity

Knowing which type of activity is linked to your assets and team can help you tinker with job scheduling constructively with a view to increasing productivity.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Learn how driver behaviour management has an impact on your TCO

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Driver behaviour and its management do have an extremely important impact on the activity of your fleet, but most of all on the total cost of ownership (TCO), including the direct and indirect costs of a vehicle.

 

If we think about TCO, we should consider not only the 60% running costs in usage of a vehicle itself but also the important 40% attributed to the impact of driver behaviour on the total cost of ownership. Which type of costs are included in the 40% and how do we keep them under control? And what is key to better driver behaviour management?

 

 

1. Fuel consumption

Driver behaviour has a demonstrable impact on fuel—if driving style is aggressive or unsafe, fuel consumption increases and safety becomes an issue.

 

 

2.  Added maintenance

Linked to the former point: if your drivers practice an aggressive style, your vehicle’s roadworthiness could be at risk; it is more likely that your vehicle will suffer wear and tear, not to mention the increased risk of collisions or breakdown…

 

3. Insurance premiums

An unpredictable variable that can swing dramatically if your drivers are putting themselves, other road users and your vehicles at risk—insurance premiums rocket if the number of incidents creep up. But they can be avoided!

 

 

4. Incidents management

When unsafe driving style translates into incidents, it opens a whole new and painful chapter in incident management, investigations as well as legal costs.

 

 

5. Downtime

When aggressive driving results in incident downtime or your vehicles suffer maintenance issues that can be prevented simply by training drivers, it means less time on the road for vehicles that should be doing their job and developing your business

 

 

6. Missed opportunities

Furthermore, less time on the road due to the consequences of bad driving behaviour means less business opportunites.

 

 

Setting up tools for more intelligent driver behaviour management does not equate to a new expense in your fleet costs, but rather, they are a way to recover them and set up processes that can only benefit your business and positively affect your TCO. Get in touch with our experts if you want to learn more.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel, fleet safety, driver training

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