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4 fleet management insights you can get through fleet management technology

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 17, 2017 10:15:00 AM

4 fleet management insights you can get through fleet management technology.jpeg

When everyone talks about fleet management technology, vehicle tracking and similar tools that can definitely make life easier for fleet managers in a number of ways, people often focus mainly on the financial savings and less on the precious insights made newly available via this technology.

It is quickly apparent to most who start working with a fleet management solution that there are obvious substantial savings to be made, but the software should also be respected as an authentic intelligence tool due to the insights it provides—let’s focus on this aspect, and you will learn why these tools are just so incredibly useful if your business is to step up!
 
1. Productivity

Through technology you can easily be informed about work carried out and if there is scope for modifications, if some changes can be implemented in workflows and resources used differently in order to maximise productivity. This is a huge benefit for any business, but especially those looking specifically into increasing their activity.

 
2. Asset utilisation

Are vehicles underused, overused or is there a gap in terms of vehicle acquisition? Would you need more vehicles, more specialised vehicles or maybe just better utilisation of the assets already at your disposal within the company? Chances are that you wonder if some of these actions can be taken, but do not have the necessary data on your fleet activity to act decisively. With the help of a fleet management solution, your asset utilisation is right at your fingertips.

 
3. Area of business

With some companies relying on commercial vehicle usage, employees are required to travel so as to develop business prospects or visit customers. This activity might be concentrated in specific areas, while leaving some other locations untapped. Seeing this highlighted on a map or in a series of reports differs markedly from merely having customers’ addresses available—it provides an immediate feedback of new areas to explore.


4. Human resources

With a complete suite of reports informing on vehicle status (on and off), people coming onsite and leaving and hours worked, it’s much easier to optimise time and workforce, and learn if everything is proceeding as it should. With technology it is easier to get straight to the valuable data and grasp real, genuine information with a simple click.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Winter maintenance for councils: why it is not only cold for commercial fleets

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 12, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Winter maintenance for councils why it is not only cold for commercial fleets.jpg

As we normally advise this time of year on how to start prepping fleets for the cold season, especially lately, even if winter weather isn’t quite here yet, prevention is better than cure. This is definitely our favourite adage. You will surely by now have come across our drivers’ advice for winter weather or one of our resources: The Winter Checklist or Winter Driving eBook.

 

But how does this apply to councils or public sector fleets?

 

Winter maintenance has a very specific meaning for these sectors, as vehicles not only have to be made ready to face cold and ice, but certain vehicles are specifically tasked with tackling the snow and ice that endangers the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles on public roads.

 

What happens exactly?

 

Councils and public sector organisations work out a Winter Maintenance Plan, the aim of which is to allow the safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians, minimise delays due to winter weather and ensure all the necessary winter maintenance operations are undertaken safely.

 

The Winter Maintenance Plan is certainly a good way to start, but it needs to be translated into actions that both guarantee smooth activity on the road as well as compliance with legal and council standards. The challenge here is how to establish standards for Winter Maintenance, how to establish priorities and how daily winter maintenance operations can be directed. According to public work standards, performance of the operations also needs to be monitored and measured, and it is necessary for councils to seamlessly liaise with other councils or with police and emergency services in some cases.

 

This is far from being easy, and given the public area that needs to be covered by winter maintenance vehicles, the quantity of tasks that need to be performed, the decisions that often have to be taken quickly and the need to keep a safe record of everything for compliance and performance measurement purposes, the public sector fleet managers of today cannot disregard the use of technology to fulfil all these requirements.

 

Modern fleet management systems give fleet managers the opportunity to streamline their winter maintenance through a number of special features such as operating reports with on and off times and routes; routes and location reports to be used for the logistical planning of maintenance; gritting and salting data (even in real time); auxiliary equipment activity reports; monitoring of geographic areas that can be used to communicate which ones have already been worked on and can be travelled on by vehicles and the automating of external communication.

 

If you wish to combine that power with a suite of ‘personalisable’, intelligent alerts and a system that keeps track of everything happening in your winter maintenance plan, get in touch—we are winter maintenance specialists and have worked closely on this with several councils in Ireland and the UK (Dublin City Council, Cork County Council, Devon County Council to mention just a few!).

 

Photo Credit: https://www.twiggroup.co.uk

 

 Winter Maintenance for councils

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Topics: Fleet Management

4 winter driving mistakes your fleet drivers should never make

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

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Though severe cold and snow may have not hit your area yet, it’s still a good time to think about winter driving if you haven’t already done so. If you still haven’t called a meeting with your staff on how to prepare for winter, it’s time to do so. We would like to help you in this task with this blog post which highlights four mistakes drivers should never make in winter, plus a couple of useful resources on winter driving. Let’s go!

 

Mistake #1: not staying focused on driving

This is actually a mistake that you should never make which not only applies to winter but is valid all year long, although it is in winter when poor weather is much more common and roads are adversely affected when full concentration is usually needed the most. Avoid distractions and try to anticipate any potential hazards as they arise—any distractions increase risks dramatically.

 

Mistake #2: not operating at a low enough speed

Though most professional drivers do adapt to weather conditions, some do not; and all in all, it is not a bad thing to encourage drivers to have their driving style match the immediate weather conditions—particularly vehicle speed. A good rule of thumb is to encourage your drivers to stay at or slightly below the speed limit when the roads are icy to keep the vehicle under greater control.

 

Mistake #3: not maintaining enough space

Frequently, drivers position themselves too close to the vehicle in front, and this is especially dangerous in winter as reaction time and breaking distance is adversely affected by typical winter conditions. Maintaining "open" space to the sides is also critical; if you don't have that space, you'll limit your options when taking evasive action in order to prevent a collision. Back off a bit and ease up on the accelerator in order to keep the space open, at least on one side of the vehicle.

 

Mistake #4: harsh braking

Abrupt, sudden braking is one of the worst things a driver can do when the roads are icy, especially when vans don’t have all-wheel drive capability. Jamming the brakes can cause them to lock, potentially leading to a spin out and ultimately to an accident. When applying the brakes, firm pressure should be used to come to a gradual stop.

 

 

We hope these tips have been useful for you, and we'd like to encourage you to share more tips with us if you feel something is missing. For your winter fleet preparation you can also click on these two useful and free resources we created for you:

 

>SynX FREE Winter Checklist - get it now!

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety

Tyre safety initiative for the month of October: focus on tyre pressure check

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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October has been chosen by TyreSafe  (a charity established in 2006 to raise awareness on the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective tyres) as the tyre safety month. This initiative comes in the beginning of autumn when the nights are drawing in and temperatures are dropping. October generally sees the weather take a turn for the worse as the country braces itself for the onset of winter; and while regular tyre checks are important all year round, Tyre Safety Month takes place each October to make drivers aware of the dangers of illegal tyres and help them prepare their vehicles for winter.

 

According to the data forwarded by TyreSafe, around two million vehicles fail an MOT test due to tyre related issues that could be avoided if vehicles had been properly checked. While the need to carry out regular tyre checks may seem obvious, an alarming number of motorists are replacing tyres only when they have already become dangerous. If they carried out tyre checks, this avoidable safety issue could be rectified.

 

Still, according to the data shared, a shocking 35% of tyres are being driven at least 8psi below the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendation. Tyre pressure is key for vehicles, as it influences the way vehicles accelerate, brake and corner, but it also has a bearing on wear and tear (for every 10% a tyre is under-inflated, its wear can increase by 10%) and fuel consumption (3% more fuel used when pressure is 6 psi below recommended inflation). It has been estimated that in the UK, £600 million (around €683 million) are wasted yearly on fuel costs by British motorists driving with under-inflated tyres.

 

With regards to safety, tyres that have been properly checked, have the correct air pressure, with little sign of damage or tear and are correctly aligned can reduce risks to you, your fleet, your passengers and all road users. Vehicles with worn tyres exhibit greatly increased braking distances than those with ample tread (a vehicle travelling at 30mph on a wet road with 3mm of tread will stop up to 8 metres shorter than the same vehicle with 1.6mm of tread). Moreover, over the past five years there have been 5,677 casualties as a result of tyre related incidents, of which 989 people were sadly killed; that’s nearly 200 deaths every year.

 

Last but not least, if you are caught driving on worn or damaged tyres deemed to be illegal, you could face a fine of up to £2500 (around  €2850) and penalty points for each offense.

 

The tyre safety month is a good opportunity to sensitize your team to the dangers of unsafe/illegal tyres, review your tyre checks procedures or establish a tyre maintenance programme. Safe tyres can really save lives.

 

Daily walk-around checklist - FREE download

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety, fleet maintenance

Fuel spend reporting: how to make sure nothing is left behind

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

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Fuel spend reporting is extremely useful for fleets as fuel is probably the highest source of cost. Despite fuel being a single source of costs, there are actually a number of actions you can explore to make your fuel spend reporting more accurate and complete—assuming you do not already use fuel management software.
 
Here are some of the actions you can take to make sure you record where every drop of fuel you purchase ends up going:

1. Do check on personal mileage
 
Some of our customers are surprised to learn that their drivers have taken detours or have chosen a particular place to go for food or personal errands. While of course it might be part of the job to take lunch breaks and find somewhere to eat, is it necessary to depart too far from the planned route, especially for personal errands and admin? These actions still impact on your fuel costs and need to be taken into consideration. Having said that, it is possible to work out a personal mileage policy or think about a solution for drivers looking for a suitable place to break and eat so that this particular expense doesn’t become excessive.
 
2. Try to estimate quarter/monthly fleet fuel consumption
 
Making monthly or quarterly estimations of your global fuel consumption based on your average can help if you do not expect to stray far from your normal jobs or travel routine; any significant discrepancies from the average estimate should ring an alarm in terms of fuel consumption—has something specific happened with vehicles/fuel purchases/work load?
 
3. Document odometers
 
If you still do not have the technological tools to record the money you spend on fuel, keep track of your odometer reading and your fuel purchases to calculate how much you spend on fuel measured over distance. You can then set an average in litres per 100 km that could be considered your average consumption (although there are many more modern systems that can help you determine the statistical mile/litre average much more easily!).

 
4. Think about factors not strictly related to fuel
 
This is unfortunately something you are not necessarily able to keep track of if you aren’t reliant on technology: driver behaviour, vehicle maintenance and tyres, for example. You never really appreciate how these factors impact your fuel spend until you’ve acquired a technological solution that is able to track everything. Admittedly, you can still cross-check maintenance invoices with fuel consumption using odometers and bills and try to notice any suspicious patterns.


 
We recommend the use of a technological solution like SynX Perform for fuel management, not only for tracking purchase and consumption but also to provide information on other influencing factors such as driving style and global maintenance.

 

 

Cut fuel costs with driver behaviour monitoring - free Guide

 

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Topics: Fuel

Fleet policies and procedures implementation: how to get a smooth introduction

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Fleet policies and procedures cannot be completely separated from their implementation: if the idea itself of introducing policies within a fleet is good, having a smooth and intelligent implementation is key.

Induction and training, fleet policies concentrating on different topics (fuel, private use of vehicles, mobile devices etc.) and procedures within a company managing vehicles might be seen as unnecessary paperwork, but the truth is that they can help in many ways by keeping vehicles roadworthy, team and road users safe, decrease fuel consumption and increase efficiencies.

So now that we pointed out how crucial this could be for your fleet, how can the process be good enough to get anyone’s buy-in and improve the global performance of the fleet?

 
Here we suggest some rules that can help you transition with a smooth implementation of any policy within your fleet. Let us know what you think!

 

1 - Openness and disclosure

If you have decided to implement a new process or policy within your fleet, you need to be open with your staff and disclose key elements such as reasons for introducing the policy/new process/new tool, how the system you currently have will change and what will be the consequences for the staff. Different people or things will be involved, so it is important to consider all aspects; be transparent to get their buy-in as well as that precious feedback. This should assist a smooth transition so that everyone is acquiescent after discussing how all the new elements will impact them.

 

2 - Induction and training

As soon as everyone is familiar with all the elements and timeline of the process/policy implementation, you should think about training people on how this will impact them in real terms—basically, by simulating it. Not just reading out processes but also having them actually test them so as to get good feedback and ensure all the particulars of the process are taken care of: if you are using an electronic tool to do something, how this might involve driving or dispatching, do staff have everything they need to comply with the new process and any other elements affecting safety, fuel consumption, roadworthiness and so on.

 

3 - Positive thinking: focus on the benefits for everyone

There is never a new process implementation completely lacking resistance from staff, as a lot of people appear reluctant to embrace innovations. The key is to promote the benefits of the new actions you are going to introduce. Don't worry, we have some practical examples—if you wish to start using technology to implement vehicle checks, you can introduce your staff to some of the following benefits:

• Drivers will enjoy a faster process when taking care of walkaround checks
• Processes are more practical and efficient without the bother of paperwork, with potentially much less margin for error
• Increased safety
• More productivity
• Compliance ensured with less resources utilised and less pressure for everyone.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

What does a fleet manager do? True vs false on the role of fleet director

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

What does a fleet manager do True vs false on the role of fleet director.jpeg

A fleet manager’s role might arouse curiosity for those who have no direct insight into what it entails, but also for those who already occupy the position for a number of reasons. The responsibilities of fleet managers might be noticeably different according to the sector, size of company involved and according to the degree of technology used. It can be anything but easy to precisely codify a fleet director’s responsibilities depending on how regulations apply to each company or the countries in which they operate or because of their possible structural changes.  


With this post we tried to comment on some true and false affirmations regarding fleet management and establish what can be considered an objective answer—see if you agree?

 

1. Being a fleet manager requires more knowledge than it has in the past

This can be seen as quite true. With the implementation of technology and the change in the global economy, the fleet world has changed a lot in the last years: fleet telematics, new fuels, changes due to energy regulations, different methods of procuring vehicles (rental, for example, as well as purchasing), the introduction of fuel cards to buy fuel; a lot of innovations have allowed fleet managers to evolve and ease some of their responsibilities, but also require them to keep up to speed on various topics.

 

2. The use of technology has become a must for fleet directors

This is indeed true. For the role of today's fleet manager, it seems totally unthinkable not to use new technologies to manage a fleet. The list of things controllable with just a few clicks starts gets longer and longer: tracking drivers as they transfer, checking out fuel consumption, following up on sanctions or compliance—it’s just way easier to do it with one of the modern tools fleet directors can now count on. Traditional methods are not necessarily ineffective in the case of small fleets, but they yield very little useful information, do not guarantee full visibility and are prone to error.

 

3. A fleet director does not deal with maintenance and vehicles

This cannot be considered completely true: knowing when a vehicle within the fleet needs repairs or general maintenance is vital to a successful business. A solid knowledge of what the implications are of certain repairs is also a valuable skill that will likely be sharpened over time.

While it’s not necessarily mission critical for fleet managers to know exactly how to overhaul hydraulic brakes or fix a leaky oil sump, understanding what those fixes require helps the fleet achieve a level of efficiency that only benefits the business. Quickly ascertaining when vehicles are out of commission—and for how long—may require rescheduling of jobs and shifting technicians around as the need arises to keep things running smoothly.

 

4. A fleet manager ideally has not only technical knowledge, but also an entrepreneurial mind-set

A good fleet manager is not only tactical when it comes to repairs but also business-minded and tech savvy. He has to integrate these two aspects into his business knowledge to guarantee what’s in the best overall interest for the company.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

EU road fatalities: EDWARD initiative today, 21st September 2017

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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The still worrying number of EU road fatalities and the progress needed in reaching the EU’s objective to halve road deaths by 2020 have resulted in an initiative known as EDWARD, taking place today, 21st September 2017.


EDWARD means European Day Without A Road Death, the aim of the day is that no one should lose their lives on the road. The initiative, promoted by TISPOL, the traffic police network of Europe, is an opportunity to think about the risks that road users create for themselves, their families and other road users as motorists, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians for either leisure or work purposes. TISPOL is committed to reducing death, serious injury and crime on Europe's roads.


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According to TISPOL, for the first few years of this decade, countries across the EU have been highly successful in pursuing the 2020 50% reduction target. But the arrival of a second successive year of disappointing news shows that this downward trend has stagnated.


Project EDWARD is an initiative trying to impact on efforts and encourage all road users to reflect on their behaviour and attitude. Drivers are unwittingly or sometimes knowingly putting other road users in many ways, perhaps by speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seat belt, using the phone while driving, using vehicles they have not kept roadworthy, parking their cars on bicycle lanes, blocking pedestrian crossings, not turning on their lights or engaging in risky manoeuvres.


But it’s not just drivers who are at fault. Many cyclists and pedestrians increase their risk levels by choosing to ignore the rules or look for risky short cuts. The idea is to push all road users to think – even for a few minutes – about the risks they face, the risks they may pose to others and how they can go about reducing them.


Making the pledge promoted by EDWARD is also a way to help sensitizing on the issue, an apparently small action that can lead to big improvements. Here is the pledge promoted by the initiative you can take yourself:


  • Remind my family, friends and colleagues to take extra care on the roads.
  • Put my lights on for safety.
  • Drive as safely as I can and follow the rules when behind the wheel or riding a motorbike or bicycle.
  • Be extra vigilant and attentive to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, children, older people and horse riders.
  • Drive at speeds that are both legal and safe.
  • Carry out proper safety checks on my tyres.
  • Pay particular attention when driving near schools, and where there are lots of children.
  • Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs/medicines that could impair safety.
  • Look as far ahead as possible and not tailgate other drivers
  • Always wear my seat belt and ensure that everyone with me wears theirs.
  • Not use my mobile phone while driving.
  • Ensuring I am not distracted by anything inside or outside the car, or inside my head.
  • Set a good example to my passengers by driving calmly and safely.

 

This initiative could be a good opportunity to emphasize on risks on the road within your fleet - do not miss it.

 

 

Risks on the Road - FREE ebook

 

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Topics: Road Safety, fleet safety

Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) market: how are things shaping up in 2017?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are seen by companies (and fleet managers) as one of the best options due to their flexibility, and the market usually reflects this trend.
 
As far as Europe is concerned, Dataforce, a market research specialist, has shared some valuable data on the LCV fleet market, particularly regarding the first half of 2017 from January to June. In this period there have been some varied results for the EU-16, with the majority of them showing a significant growth over this timeframe, particularly Finland with a 25.9% increase from the same period of last year. However, some countries returned a negative growth.
 
The LCV Fleet market has grown by 2.4%, compared to the same period of 2016, with 681,000 registrations. For the EU-5, which makes up 73.6% of the EU-16’s Fleet LCV volume, it has also been a mixed bag, with France, Germany and Spain all managing an increase (January to June period) but negative growth from both Italy and the UK.
 
In terms of volume, France continues to dominate the LCV market, helped by the prevalence of passenger car models (26.7%) registered and used as an LCV, with the next nearest country (UK) a little over 35,000 registrations behind.
 
The actual Top 10 models remain unchanged from last year though their corresponding ranking does. The biggest gain in ranking goes to the Volkswagen Caddy, moving up from 8th to 6th place. While the biggest drop in ranking came from the Citroen Berlingo, falling from 5th to 7th. Mercedes Sprinter retains its #1 position as the True Fleet model of choice for the EU-16 but is being chased hard by both the Ford Transit Custom and VW Transporter in 2nd and 3rd respectively. The next nearest model is the Renault Kangoo in 4th but this is over 5000 registrations behind a podium finish and has its own chasers in the Renault Trafic (5th) and VW Caddy (6th). The remaining three are the Peugeot Partner, Renault Master and Fiat Ducato.
 
With Long Term Rental (LTR) allowing for a more flexible approach for companies and their fleets, we are seeing an upward trend in this form of procurement. Since 2015, the True Fleet Long Term Rental LCVs have seen a steady upward trend in both France and especially Italy.
 
What might be the reason for this continuous trust in LCVs and steady growth in sales and rental? Vans appear to suit many companies, and if operational needs are adequately met, this can help businesses generate savings and drive down costs. Such vehicles are also helping more and more businesses to cut emissions and pollution, updated safety features are available for most of them and their flexibility allows them to help with fleet right-sizing as they can be easily repurposed.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

Transpoco at UK fleet management community leading events in October

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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After September’s "back to school" activities (and our move to DCU Alpha;-)), it’s time for Transpoco to participate in some of the leading top fleet management events in October.

 

Transpoco will be attending the Fleet Management Live 2017 event and the Coach and Bus UK exhibition, both hosted at the NEC Birmingham: the first taking place on October 3rd and 4th, the second on the 4th and 5th.

 

Fleet Management Live welcomes organisations with car and van fleets of all sizes looking to face future challenges and explore opportunities together with two days of learning, sharing and networking at the NEC. Whether you’re a manager in fleet, transport, finance, procurement, HR, or you’re an SME owner/managing director, the event reveals opportunities to help successfully steer your business with ‘next generation’ fleet management best practices. Nine workshops and 120 plus exhibitors will be attending the event.

 

Coach & Bus UK is the new name for what was formally Coach & Bus Live, the UK’s premium coach, bus and accessibility exhibition, representing the ultimate domestic showcase for the coach, bus and mini-vehicle sectors. Almost 200 of the industry’s leading suppliers display the very latest vehicles and an abundance of technology and service innovations for the UK market.

 

If you wish to get in touch with our team at any of the shows, contact us at sales@transpoco.com.

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts

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