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Diesel spillage: an event that not only impacts on your fuel economy…

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 8, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Diesel spillage an event that not only impacts on your fuel economy…

There are several factors that might impact on the cost of your fuel bills: fuel costs, the level of wear and tear affecting vehicles, the driving style of your team, but there is another issue that isn’t always considered—diesel spillage. Though diesel spillage incidents obviously involve a loss of diesel/fuel, there are also safety, financial, social and environmental concerns. Moreover, it has been proved that diesel exposure to the road surface results in significant damage and potential disruption on the road/highway network.

According to Highways England, in the year 2018 alone, 314 diesel spillage events were recorded, especially involving HGVs, which resulted in delays, risk to life and environmental issues.

It also seems diesel spillage is not really considered a risk worth worrying about by most operators, who often don’t have a strategy to protect themselves from this eventuality or are not fully aware of the cost/damage and, therefore, have not invested in the diesel spillage protection or equipped their vehicles to have spill kits on board.

Spillages may occur when refuelling or because of improper storage or equipment that is not properly maintained, but also because of accidents that might involve vehicles on the road colliding, losing control or ending up on their side and leaking fuel.

As an initial response to diesel or fuel spills, operators are advised to cease operations for the vehicle, remove any naked flames or potential sources of ignition, try to contain the spill and ensure workers are notified if the incident happened within company premises. The environmental and health and safety department have to be notified of the incident and assess it to avoid any repetitions.

The spill has to be contained with absorbing material ideally and then disposed of by professionals trained to clean up these kinds of substances. Operations shouldn’t take too long if companies prepare a diesel spillage kit to be used in the eventuality, which occur more frequently than they think.

Highways England is going to assist commercial vehicle drivers and operators in the UK in preventing diesel spillages by implementing a series of interventions to reduce the frequency and severity of incidents associated with diesel spillages from commercial vehicle drivers on the SRN.

 

 

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Topics: Fuel Economy

How to save on your fleet costs by managing tyres correctly: Michelin’s view

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 6, 2019 9:02:00 AM

How to save on your fleet costs by managing tyres correctly Michelin’s view

Michelin—one of the oldest and most popular tyre manufacturers in the world—has recently shared some tyre related tips on how to reduce fleet running costs. Combined savings resulting from the implementation of a series of actions on tyres could really make a difference to the bottom line and particularly for big fleets.

Here are some of the tips that Michelin recently shared about the impact of tyres on fleet costs:

#1 – Adjust driving habits. With driving style having such an important impact on fuel consumption, your drivers would be well advised to follow safe practices and keep a close eye on the status of your tyres. According to Michelin, drivers can adjust their habits to keep tyres in good condition for longer. What needs to be avoided is excessive braking or acceleration, or even constant stopping or starting that can lead tyres to wear faster.

#2 – Check tyre pressure. According to Michelin, running tyres even just a few psi below the recommended pressure will reduce fuel efficiency. Wheel alignment and tyre pressure are two must-checks that not only help with efficiency but also with safety. In 2017 it has been estimated that 384 car accidents in Britain were caused by illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres. Checking pressure and alignment also extends the tyre’s life—and yours!

#3 – Road surface. We sometimes cannot avoid travelling on substandard roads that might compromise our tyres, and potholes are unfortunately a constant issue; but an extra level of care when travelling on uneven road surfaces or speed bumps can certainly help increase the lifespan of your tyres.

#4 – Tread depth. Tyre treads also have direct impact on the performance and safety of a vehicle. By law, tyres must have at least 1.6mm of remaining tread depth, measured across the central three-quarters of the tyre and all the way round.

#5 – Replacement intervals. Paying attention to replacement intervals and substituting tyres when necessary can definitely lead to improved efficiency savings. If you have a consistent tyre check programme or check tyres on a regular basis as part of your walkaround checks routine, you will be able to establish when it is time to replace them in a timely manner.

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, fleet maintenance

The A-Z fleet management series: T for Technology—the best companion of fleets and vehicles?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 1, 2019 9:03:00 AM

The A-Z fleet management series T for Technology—the best companion of fleets and vehicles

We have arrived at T for technology in our ongoing alphabet of fleet management. Although we are running out of letters, and therefore topics, there is still so much to discuss when it comes to fleets and managing vehicles.

Choosing T for technology wasn’t easy: we could have been more specific and picked T for telematics or tracking; both are crucially important to managing a successful fleet these days, but they are still only two aspects of technology in general.

When discussing technology, we are not only including the commercial products we offer to help fleets manage vehicles—saving money and keeping drivers and road users safe—we are also referring to a whole set of modern innovations that have a substantial impact on fleet management and on the logistics and transport sectors. Which ones, you might be asking? Let’s take a look!

#1 – IoT – the Internet of Things. The extension of Internet and its usage evolved into intelligent objects and applications (in our specific case, connected vehicles) that communicate between themselves. In 2020 –not long!–it has been estimated that there will be 26 billion objects connected at a global level, and vehicles are definitely on the list!

#2 – Big Data. Hand in hand with connected vehicles and the IoT is the concept of Big Data: a huge volume of unstructured information is now available for analysis, and vehicles are no exception. This data can be used to create information-driven products for vehicles or to enhance existing products or even fleet management and driver safety.

#3 – Driverless vehicles. What seemed just the fantasy concept from a 1980s TV series like ‘Knight Rider’ or a futuristic movie is now slowly (or not so slowly, depending the way you look at it) part of our daily lives. From Tesla to Google, driverless vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the way goods and people are conveyed around urban areas. The potential to eliminate collisions is now available like never before, as well as the means to reduce to an optimum the number of vehicles on the road and minimise their time on the road.

#4 - Mobility as a Service (MAAS). The term for the digital platforms (often smartphone apps) through which people can access a range of public, shared and private transport, using a system that integrates the planning, booking and payment. A market still in its infancy, but developed in response to the growing demand from users for transport to be delivered as an on-demand service that allows passengers to travel door-to-door conveniently and seamlessly. In theory, MaaS could reduce congestion, improve air quality through the decreased vehicle use, and improve users’ health by encouraging increased use of active modes of travel such as walking and cycling. Is having a vehicle, therefore, still a thing of the present or future?

These are probably the latest tech trends in the world of vehicles and technology. Manufacturers have worked effectively with significant technology organizations to produce the most exceptional, most comfortable and most secure vehicles out there—let’s see what the future holds for these four scenarios!

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet management technology

EC road safety plan  2021 – 2030: the main points

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM

EC road safety plan  2021 – 2030 the main points

At the beginning of the summer, the European Commission made public some of the safety strategies that will be looked into for the decade 2021-2030. The main points of their road safety program have been outlined in a document called Road Safety Policy Framework, presented at the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index Conference in June.

Data collection is going to be the focus of the EC road safety plan for the decade 2012-2030. The EC has developed what looks like a comprehensive range of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to be measured for road safety, linked to outcome targets to be developed in collaboration with the member states.

The list of KPIs currently includes:

#1 - Speed: the idea is to collect with exactitude the percentage of vehicles travelling within the speed limit;

#2 - Safety belt: collecting the number of vehicle occupants using the safety belt or child restraint system in an appropriate way;

#3 - Protective equipment: percentage of riders and road users wearing a protective helmet;

#4 - Use of alcohol: percentage of drivers driving within the legal limit for blood alcohol content;

#5 - Distraction: number of drivers not using handheld devices;

#6 - Vehicle safety: percentage of new passenger cars with a Euro NCAP safety rating equal or above a predefined threshold;

#7 - Infrastructure: distance driven over roads with a safety rating above an agreed threshold;

#8 - Post-crash care: time passed in minutes and seconds between the emergency call following a collision and the arrival of the emergency services.

By collecting these data, the idea is to see how well are the EU countries performing in terms of reducing risks and increasing road safety.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts

DfT’s new safety action plan to reduce the number of injured and killed on UK roads

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 25, 2019 9:05:00 AM

DfT’s new safety action plan to reduce the number of injured and killed on UK roads

The UK’s Department for Transport has recently presented its new action plan to reduce the number of people killed and injured on UK roads.

The actions target different categories of drivers: fleet drivers, end users, young and old drivers and children, and actually focus on the essentials of road safety:

#1 – Use of seat belts. According to the CDC, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%. Seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. According to ETSC sources, despite wearing rates of 98.6% for British car drivers, 27% of those who died in cars on the roads in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt. These and other interesting figures have been published in the recent report “Seat Belts: the forgotten road safety priority”.

The new safety action plan will launch an initiative to increase the use of seat belts. Under the driver safety action plan, failure to wear a seatbelt could result in penalty points as well as fines, under new plans to reduce the number of deaths on the UK’s roads. This is one of 74 actions being considered to improve road safety.

#2 – Drink driving. Other measures under consideration include the use of ‘alcolocks’—devices which measure the alcohol in a driver’s breath and stop a vehicle from starting if the level is too high. The DfT has apparently invested in the development of roadside breathalysers too, which once finished, will enable suspected drink drivers to be tested directly at the roadside, without having to go back to the police station.

#3 – Incident data reporting via app. Part of the two year program taking place to see what works best in terms of strategies and enforcements, so as to maximise road safety at all times, consists in identifying gaps or improvement opportunities. In order to make sure this won’t be an additional burden on local police forces, DfT has rolled out a new version of the Collision Reporting and Sharing software and provided a smartphone app for existing police mobile devices. The app enables officers to accurately report crash data and locations on site, rather than having to return to a police station to duplicate paperwork on a computer.

According to Minister Michael Ellis, “This review will not only highlight where police forces are doing good work, it will show what more can be done to improve road safety.”

 

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Van market figures: growth in June 2019

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 23, 2019 9:00:00 AM

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The van market is currently experiencing an upsurge in the UK according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

According to the data shared by the SMMT this July, the first six months of 2019 have been particularly positive, with new registrations rising by 13.5% as well as the demand for smaller vans, which increased by 10.3%. Registrations of larger vans up to 3.5t rose by 22.2%.

But it wasn’t all upbeat for vehicle manufactures and sales: the registration of pickups and 4x4s fell by 0.7% and 21.8%, respectively.

The van/LCV market recorded a growth of 8.7% during the first six months of 2019, ahead of expectations according to the SMMT.  There were 15,722 more registrations this year in the same period, clocking up a total of 196,418 new vans.

The results published by the SMMT confirm that vans and LCVs play an extremely important role in the UK economy, especially in the urban areas; and there is no reason why these trends can’t continue in the same positive vein if a good Brexit deal can be thrashed out.

According to the SMMT sources, AFV (Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles) sales have increased dramatically—200% up on 2018 for the same month. The growing need for alternative fuelled vehicles in order to comply with emission targets whilst also providing great logistical performance and the ability to meet delivery targets seems to be the reason behind this incredible surge in sales. Getting cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles is increasingly becoming a priority for all fleets.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

The A-Z series: S is for Strategy—why do I really need strategic fleet planning?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM

The A-Z series S is for Strategy—why do I really need strategic fleet planning

We have reached the final third in our A-Z of fleet management and would really like to take the opportunity to touch on a point that is valid for every business but is particularly relevant for fleets: strategy and strategic planning.


Why do I need a strategy? Isn’t this just old-fashioned?

Sometimes—if not a good deal of the time—‘old is gold’. Having a strategy can only be beneficial for your fleet, vehicles, staff and company. Nobody can hope to succeed without a plan and then expect success just to come out of the blue. Strategic planning can not only help you formulate a roadmap for your business and fleet, including where you want it to be in 3-5 years’ time, but also help you to achieve sub-goals along the way.

Fleet strategy needs not only to help in developing operational objectives but also in identifying ‘wins’: ways to save or earn money as well as opportunities to improve.

Having a strategic plan helps you direct your fleet towards its goals through specific focus on what needs to be done, what your organisation needs to develop in order to get there, getting all the elements you need to work towards your objective and appraising your staff regarding their efforts and offering them clear direction.


What are some of the elements that need to go into a fleet strategy?

The final aim of fleet strategy is to develop fleet activity that saves time and money, reduces administrative work, and achieves the best performance while vehicles, drivers and road users stay safe, and everything is carried out according to global compliance. Fleets are complex entities and their optimisation and strategic planning embraces a lot of different aspects and ideas that need to be considered separately from just the traditional topics of managing vehicles and drivers. Here we include some of them (to mention just a few):

  • The importance of having a sound fleet policy that is reviewed on a regular basis
  • The identification of risks within the fleet and the sector, and the means to manage them
  • The concept of duty of care and the responsibilities of the company towards vehicles, drivers, employees and road users
  • Procurement and funding for fleets
  • Reduction of costs (fuel, maintenance, insurance...) and best choice of resources
  • Improvement of service
  • Managing vehicle whole life costs, replacement and remarketing
  • Developing new technologies and keeping up to date with the industry, the legislation and the environmental considerations

 

Which tools can help me in the successful implementation of a fleet strategy?

Involving users (drivers) in the implementation of strategy and letting them know the strategic targets and how they can contribute is an important step to successfully implement a strategy. But technology with its recording of real time data, vehicle performance, fuel consumption and costs can definitely sharpen the focus on the essentials when planning a strategy.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Fleet manager training courses: new program announced by the FTA

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 16, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Fleet manager training courses new program announced by the FTA

The FTA and Venson Automotive Services have recently partnered up to announce an education initiative for fleet managers in the UK. The new courses will cover the most important aspects of fleet management: raising safety standards, best practices for LCVs and a reminder to companies of their duty of care responsibilities along with all the associated implications. However, that isn’t the sum of it—the courses are comprehensive with a practical approach to vehicle maintenance systems, some guidelines on loading and preventing overloading, towing and driver competence. The objective is for fleet managers to operate safer, legal and more efficient commercial fleets.  

The program mirrors a certification scheme run by FTA called ‘Van Excellence’ that was formulated by some of the top van operators in the UK and is designed to recognise excellence and improve operational standards. The scheme is centred around the ‘Van Excellence Code; a code of practice that focusses on ‘what good looks like’ within the context of a commercial LVC operation. A very similar program is currently up and running in Ireland called ‘VanSafe’, which is being promoted by Enprova, Insuremyvan.ie, Merrion Fleet and, we’re pleased to say, Transpoco.

With regards to the promotion of best practices for fleets and van operations, the FTA let it be known in June that it strongly criticises the exemption of commercial vans from the new tyre safety standards.

Bearing in mind that vans account for around 4.2 million of all road vehicles, preparation of van operators and fleets are critical to maintaining compliance and safety standards and should be regarded as just as important, and on an equal footing, with any other commercial road vehicle.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Why fleet tyre maintenance should become routine for your team and vehicles

by Mark Dressekie on Jul 11, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Why fleet tyre maintenance should become routine for your team and vehicles

Did you know that, on average, one third of a fleet company’s annual maintenance budget is spent on tyres? That was the figure reported by Fleet News magazine and it’s one that clearly shows the importance that fleet companies place on ensuring that their vehicles are fitted with roadworthy tyres.

But another reason why that portion is so high is that some fleet companies try to skimp on purchasing tyres that aren’t of the required standard and, over time, the maintenance for these is disproportionate to how much they initially cost. Had they invested in premium tyres at the outset, their vehicles would have remained on the road for longer.

 

Tyre Maintenance & Vehicle Downtime

It isn’t just the expense of repairing and replacing tyres that hits fleet companies hard, though. For every minute that their vehicles are off the road and in the garage, they are losing the business money, as they are unable to fulfill their transport duties. For fleets, vehicles being off the road is the same as desk-based office environments experiencing IT downtime, in that essential tasks cannot be performed. Downtime can happen for a number of reasons and inadequate tyres or tyres that have not been checked may have serious consequences that range from downtime to global safety.

 

A Core Element of Employee Health & Safety

Aside from the financial aspect of tyre maintenance, in fact, there is the far more important consideration of employee safety. If vehicles in a company’s fleet are fitted with substandard tyres, this raises the possibility of an accident occurring and puts drivers at unnecessary risk. The safety of personnel needs to take precedence over everything else in managing a business; for fleets, that means ensuring that vehicles are in prime condition.

 

5 Best Practice Tips for Fleet Tyre Maintenance

  1. Before investing in in-house maintenance facilities, be sure to conduct a thorough assessment analysing the costs and the complexity of implementation. If you intend to carry out your maintenance work in-house, you will need to match the standards and expertise as a commercial workshop.

 

  1. Rather than waiting until the tread reaches 2mm, consider changing tyres once the tread is down to 3 - 4mm. After this point, the tread can deteriorate quite quickly and waiting any longer could put the driver at risk in adverse weather conditions.

 

  1. Implement a comprehensive tyre safety training programme to teach staff proper tyre maintenance and instructs them on how to conduct all the necessary checks including tyre pressure, tread depth and damage.

 

  1. Fleet managers should also make a point of carrying out regular spot inspections.

 

  1. Rather than alternating between winter and summer tyres, opt for “all-season” tyres instead. This will help to reduce costs and vehicle downtime.

 

Conclusion

The message is simple: fleet companies must make tyre maintenance a routine part of their operations, just as restaurants incorporate cleaning and hygienic practices into their core activities.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet maintenance

The A-Z series: R is for Replacement—when is it the right time to replace a fleet vehicle?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 9, 2019 9:02:00 AM

The A-Z series R is for Replacement—when is it the right time to replace a fleet vehicle

When it comes to fleets, we will never stop talking costs: naturally, they are always too high but they are still a necessary expenditure in order to develop commercial activity, and we are always looking for ways of managing those costs and doing things more wisely. Replacing vehicles is another one on the long list of costs which comes with its own set of challenges.

Vehicles shall be kept in fleets as long as they constitute a measurably reasonable expense. So when fuel and maintenance costs seem excessive for a vehicle, and age and mileage also suggest that a vehicle is probably not as efficient as it was some time ago, it is maybe time to start thinking about a replacement. But these indicators alone do not provide enough data alone to formulate a definite opinion on the matter; there should in fact be clear guidelines for replacement, ideally based on vehicle data obtained from the vehicle itself or from the fleet as a whole.

Replacement policies should detail conditions for disposal and replacement of vehicles in a way that should be widely understood within your organization. They cannot be drafted in isolation, but rather interconnected with fleet management budgets or financial policies and procurement strategies, as a piece in the entire jigsaw. The objective is not to incur excessive cost from mileage, maintenance or aging and to sell the vehicle at the best moment and price possible, to then use this advantage to acquire new assets. In order to guarantee that the remarketing process is carried out successfully, the vehicle needs to be roadworthy and in good condition, so it might need servicing or even have its functionality certified by a third party provider specialised in this type of service.

What then are some of the details companies need to consider when drafting a replacement policy for their fleet? We have outlined some of them, although we need to bear in mind that they are not all necessarily valid for your company or for every sector—as there is no one-size-fits-all approach in fleet management, or business in general—but are still worth checking if you are preparing your own replacement policy:

#1 – Fuel consumption— technology changes mean vehicles today consume less fuel than yesteryear. If your vehicle has been in service for a while, its technology might have been surpassed by a newer vehicle, or wear and tear could just be the cause for an inefficient performance from the point of view of fuel consumption. Emissions too are important, as they start to increase together with the intake of fuel needed for the vehicle to operate after a few years.

#2 – Maintenance expenses—for much the same reasons as fuel consumption: when the level of maintenance is no longer a reasonable expense and vehicles require more and more garage time, it might be time to look into a replacement, so a threshold needs to be established before initiating the process.

#3 – Breakdowns—if you start to experience a certain frequency in this area and the associated costs are no longer sustainable, then it’s time to look for an alternative: again, you should have clear lines on how much you can spend, as a threshold, for every vehicle per month or year, and look into the matter when figures start to significantly surpass your forecasts.

#4 – Mileage—following manufacturer recommendation, establish a mileage threshold too and cross-check it with fuel consumption and costs generated by the vehicle to determine if replacement is necessary.

#5 – Vehicle general status—maybe physical appearance is not important in every aspect of life—but with regard to company vehicles and fleets, it definitely matters for your brand image and for your sales fleet. Make sure you include this criteria in your replacement policy terms.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management

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