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Hiring fleet drivers: how to build up a talented, responsible workforce

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Hiring fleet drivers how to build up a talented, responsible workforce.jpeg

 

Hiring reliable fleet drivers and retaining them is not an easy task. The results of the Transport Manager Survey carried out by the FTA last year underlined the current situation of driver shortage as one of the most challenging issues for fleet managers. Driver shortage, difficulty in hiring and retaining drivers is something companies which rely on driving are starting to look into with increasing scrutiny.

 

If it is indeed true that in the current economic climate it has become especially challenging to retain drivers due to the continuous need to cut on costs, and therefore the prospect of offering attractive pay increases, it is also true to say that pay does not necessarily play as decisive a role in employee turnover as typically believed. Certainly, it is a substantial factor, but if on one hand you can do more with salaries by, for example, using technology in order to cut costs elsewhere, on the other hand there are some strategies you can implement to build up a more engaged driver workforce, which can also make a real difference:

 

Respect for the driving profession

If you are reading this, driving is probably an important part of your business: remember that even if drivers do not actually “sell” as such, they do guarantee your products are delivered, or the service requested is carried out. There should not be distinctions or “caste” among employees; drivers have to be considered as vital a part of the team as everyone else.

 

Start before you hire people

Set clear expectations when you have people sitting at interviews with a view to joining your driving team. Do not make promises you won’t be able to keep and maybe consider the help of a senior driver in making your hiring process more efficient and successful.

 

Communication and transparency leads to engagement

If drivers are kept aside from some conversations or not involved in processes that impact on the whole company, this will inevitably lead to an unhappy employee. As a telematics provider we encourage dialogue and communication; it is a key factor in the successful introduction of this technology. Correctly introducing new tools and new processes, encouraging feedback and so on is going to require their active contribution. The same holds true regarding transparency of processes. These points help to boost employee engagement.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

New FTA van safety campaign underlines risks of poorly managed van fleets

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

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When it comes to fleet safety we know it can never be disregarded in order to protect workers and road users, but in the case of van safety it is even more important. It has been estimated that vans are the fastest-growing type of vehicle class in the UK and Ireland, particularly in the UK—they account for over one in ten vehicles on British roads. The choice of vans for most fleets is down to the fact that they are considered more flexible and reliable, and better suited to modern consumer demands, which is fuelled by online shopping with expectations of rapid and multi-drop deliveries. But as with all other vehicles, van safety needs a boost, as companies cannot simply expect to absorb the risks associated with poorly managed van fleets.

 

The FTA has been developing the Van Excellence scheme in the UK over the past seven years which creates a benchmark for compliance, encouraging operators to demonstrate that they meet with an agreed set of standards—the Van Excellence Code. The same initiative has been taken in Ireland, where the FTAI has activated something similar called the Van Safe scheme.

 

Quite surprisingly, despite these initiatives and despite the fact that one of the most dangerous thing we do every day is driving, many van operators still do not buy in to the importance of safe conduct and often not only put drivers and the public at risk, but also their businesses.

 

The new FTA van safety campaign, “One Fateful Day”, is a short film that tells the story of a male van driver, distracted by using his mobile phone as he talks to his office. The driver has an accident involving a young pedestrian and is found to have been taking drugs and driving a defective vehicle—all of which have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the driver, operations manager and company owner. The driver is jailed and the company owner receives a crippling fine for corporate manslaughter. The film highlights how the catalogue of errors could have been prevented by putting processes in place to effectively manage the driver, vehicle and operation. The videos examine the situation through different points of view and has the purpose of bringing van safety to the attention of more operators in the sector.

 

Video 1 is a kind of introduction where a policeman analyses the causes of the incident, stating the driver had tested positively for drugs, that one of the front tyres was below the legal tread limit and visibly worn, the vehicle’s windscreen wash reservoir was empty and the dashboard was cluttered impairing visibility. The vehicle was also travelling over the speed limit and was overloaded; all behaviour which contravened company policy.

 

Video 2 is the driver interview at the police station.

 

Video 3 is an interview with the Operations Manager, who is apparently not only responsible for the vans, but as sometime happens in small companies, expected to deal with other tasks as well.

 

Video 4 is an interview with the Managing Director of the company involved in the incident.

 

Video 5 is the outcome of the court case in the form of a news report: the summary of which is that the incident could have been prevented. The company clearly failed to manage the driver and fleet, skipped vehicle checks and had no policy regarding mobile phone use.

 

The film is the product of a several year project lead by Mark Cartwright, the FTA’s head of vans and LCVs, who says the story illustrates some of the typical failings seen among van operators. The final product aims at raising awareness of the issues of driver distraction and compliance, and we definitely encourage everyone to watch and share as widely as possible.

 Video credits: ©FTA - http://www.vanexcellence.co.uk/media/videos/one-fateful-day/

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety

Environmental targets for public sector fleets: how telematics helps

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

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Public sector fleets have their own special challenges and characteristics just as any other fleet, though people erroneously think life is made easier for public companies or governments compared with private enterprises.

 

Environmental targets and objectives are pressing concerns right now and not just something that might crop up down the line. Their impact is clear and legislation is already in the pipeline that sets emissions targets which all companies are required to respect; and public sector fleets are probably first under scrutiny because they above others are expected to set an example for the rest of the community to act in an appropriate way towards the challenge of environmental issues.

 

Addressing the crisis of global climate change, for some, means a big economic policy fix, for others, it means old fashion hard, patient work, such as gradually improving efficiency in the way we use energy. For those in the second category, working on the efficiency of energy consumption also creates a number of challenges, such as beginning to change behavioural habits—and we know how hard that can be. The public sector is no exception, and is called to act quickly: in Ireland, for example, following a Green Paper seeking consultation on energy policy, and a White Paper adopting certain energy policies, the government issued Maximising Ireland’s Energy Efficiency: The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2009 – 2020 where it formally committed to a 33% savings in energy by 2020 for the public sector

 

For the purposes of the policy, the public sector includes the Civil Service, commercial and non-commercial state bodies, the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, Health Service Executive hospitals, Local and Regional Authorities, schools and universities.

 

A similar program has been developed in the UK referred to as the Energy Efficiency Scheme, in which Northern Ireland participates, that provides financial incentives to reduce emissions by putting a price on carbon. It applies to both public bodies and to large, low-energy intensive businesses.

 

In such a complicated background, where public sector fleets have to deliver the highest standards, how can telematics offer tangible help with environmental concerns to a sector that makes high demands on fuel?

 

1. Cloud computing

 

Cloud computing has proven environmental benefits. Moving software applications from local computer systems to centralised cloud services can cut IT energy consumption by up to 87%. Telematics applications are no exception to this, as SaaS companies like Transpoco provide the SynX technology from any web browser or device 24/7.

 

2. Fuel consumption control

 

Only with the best fuel economy-focused products can it be possible to make cost savings and considerably reduce the carbon footprint. By integrating with fuel cards or data from on-site fuelling systems, public sector fleets can get the most accurate calculations of fuel consumption ratios and the carbon footprint of vehicles.

 

3. Certified provider

 

Technology does not have to be environmentally unfriendly—quite the contrary! If your provider belongs to an approved compliance scheme for the collection, treatment and recycling of electrical waste and electronic equipment and is respecting standards, it is most likely a sound choice.

 

 

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Topics: Eco-driving & Green actions, GPS & Tracking, Fuel

Telematics in the public sector: 57% of fleets plan its introduction

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 13, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Technology is taking over in all business sectors, and the telematics of today is just another example of how technology can help deliver much greater efficiencies than even some of the most recent tech of yesterday. Right now, Fleet Management Solutions have proven to be especially helpful in a variety of industries where vehicles form the basis of the working day, and public sector organisations are no exceptions.

 

The study "Employee Mobility and Fleet Management Solutions in the Public Sector", a joint publication of IGov (a team of public sector experts who collate information about UK public services on behalf of both private and public sector partners) and LeasePlan UK (the world leading global fleet and mobility company), is an interesting report on the current situation in public sector fleets and what government fleets plan for the future.

 

Times have changed for every industry sector given the economical moment and the global crisis, and the report especially focuses on environmental considerations, procurement options and economic issues that are currently influencing the choices being made across public sector fleets. The study also explores the unique characteristics of the public sector fleet.

 

The introduction of telematics and fleet management solutions in the public sector is surely the best means of increasing efficiency and protecting the assets of councils or organisations that are located in different areas. At present there is a need for fleet managers to keep up-to-date with technology, to comply with environmental regulations and also to keep a handle on finances in keeping with the government’s program of austerity.

 

The majority of respondents to the survey (58%) do in fact believe that government policies to reduce vehicle emissions have changed their employee mobility and vehicle fleet strategies. According to 30% of respondents, such policies might even have prevented the purchase or lease of new vehicles, and an additional 36% stated vehicle replacement cycles have been extended as a consequence of budget cuts. A further 43% of participants revealed austerity measures have had a negative impact on the size and quality of the vehicle fleet they operate. The need for systems to both economize resources and reduce emissions is very clear; what better than telematics to help public sector fleets optimize their limited resources?

 

According to the same study, 57% of participants in total have already introduced or plan to introduce telematics. A further 51% of participants told us they have introduced telematics to monitor vehicles and employees (lone workers). It is encouraging to see such a high take-up for telematics and it’s clear fleet managers are exploring this area more. Those not planning to do it (33%) cite either cost or lack of resources to manage incoming data as the reasons why.

 

If cost is not an issue (it is estimated that for every euro spent on telematics, it is possible to achieve a 3 euros cost saving) and the running costs of vehicles during their working life is managed with the aid of live, operational data, fleet managers can no longer overlook the need for companies (be they public sector or not) to work with these tools and respond to the data they offer.

You cannot simply miss the train—get in touch with us and learn how SynX can help.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Accident management: which steps to take to lower accident costs?

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

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Accident prevention through driver training, risk management and driver behaviour monitoring, among other things, should be a priority for fleet managers. However, there is always an unpredictable element that can result in a collision and then the important question is, do you have an accident management strategy?
 
There are important steps to be taken when an incident takes place and even if you’ve been lucky and it has never happened to your fleet, you need a process in place so as not to be caught by surprise and to minimise the inevitable costs incurred.
 
Here we mention three of the most paramount:

 
1. Have the technology available to document the incident
 
Telematics and dash cams are often helpful in reconstructing an incident. The financial consequences can be minimised if the incident is immediately reconstructed and technology can help defend the company’s legal position. Dash cams especially, have already proven that they can offer vital evidence in defence in some cases.
 
2. Have a breakdown and recovery solution
 
You should think about having a method of recovery in case of breakdown or incident that is active 24/7 and easily reachable in the event of an emergency. Sorting this out last minute might complicate an already difficult situation and it might even be harder if the vehicle involved is in a remote location.
 
3. Think about replacements
 
If one of your vehicles is involved in an incident, chances are that it won’t be available for some time; however, you should already have an alternative ready in order to carry on with the job. Planning in advance for a replacement or even a rental option is the best strategy in order to prepare for the unexpected. If you agree terms and prices as well, in advance, you will benefit from it, otherwise you might be forced to take decisions quickly but which are not necessarily the most suitable in terms of choice and costs for your company.

 

Prevention is better than cure because accidents unfortunately tend to happen eventually—remember to think one step ahead, it is definitely worth it.

 

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Topics: fleet safety

Vehicle risk management at work: HSA guidelines for fleets and vehicles

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Following on from the inspection and sensitization campaign promoted in Ireland on vehicle risk management at work, the HSA has continued in the same vein with a series of best practices and steps that can be used to manage vehicle related risks in the workplace.

 

While some of the reference links to the official websites of HSA are specific to Ireland, most practices can be applied globally and will undoubtedly help initiate the risk management process for companies whose business is dependent on vehicles.

 

1. Make work related vehicle safety a priority topic for your business. Safety must be treated thoroughly and never underestimated.

 

2. If you haven’t already done so, appoint a responsible person for vehicle risk management in your business.

 

3. Inform yourself about common vehicle related risks in the workplace. You can find relevant information at www.vehiclesatwork.ie; www.drivingforwork.ie and  www.loadsafe.ie.

 

4. Educate yourself on how to manage vehicle risks. HSA has made available a series of free online courses: check out Workplace Transport Safety and Managing Driving for Work courses at www.hsalearning.ie.

 

5. Develop a vehicle risk management policy for all vehicle related activities in the workplace. This includes not only vehicles operated by you and your employees but also visiting vehicles that need to be managed and controlled.

 

6. Carry out necessary risk assessments to fully identify, understand and measure level of risk exposure in your business.

 

7. Put procedures in place to eliminate and control known risks associated with: driving for work, loading and unloading, deliveries and collections, parking, reversing and manoeuvring, and coupling/uncoupling trailers

 

8. Inform, instruct and train all employees how to work safely with, on or around vehicles. Often, those killed and injured by vehicles are not driving them, but working on, near or around them.

 

9. Record and learn from all incidents and near misses. Learn from your own business but also from accident trends in your sector or similar businesses.

 

Such procedures are necessary to protect you, your employees and your business from vehicle related harm, cost and damage.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety, fleet compliance

LeasePlan and Transpoco partner up to provide excellence in Fleet Technology

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

Irish telematics company Transpoco has announced a new strategic partnership with LeasePlan, the largest leasing and fleet management company in Ireland. LeasePlan Group has become the World's leading provider of fleet management services, managing over 1.5 million vehicles, operating in 32 countries and employing more than 7,200 people.

 

Nationwide, LeasePlan has an extremely large network, with concrete opportunities for Transpoco to further expand in Ireland with the product and develop their technology: LeasePlan is the largest leasing and fleet management company nationally, managing over 18,500 vehicles and purchasing annually over 4,500 vehicles.

 

As for the capacity of LeasePlan, the company manages anything from one solitary vehicle to a fleet of 2,500. They specialise in SMEs and have their own banking licence and in-house insurance. The Irish subsidiary is wholly owned and administered by LeasePlan, the world’s leading leasing and fleet management company.

 

LeasePlan and Transpoco partner up to provide excellence in Fleet Technology.jpg

Left to right, LeasePlan Ireland Management team: Joe Maguire - ICT Director, Sharon O'Buachalla - Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Harty - Commercial Director & Madeline McGovern - Operations Director, © LeasePlan Ireland

 

The core business of LeasePlan is the provision of fleet and vehicle management services to both business users and the public sector. Their key objective is to become the preferred partner for fleet owners by offering cost-efficient fleet management solutions. In terms of technical expertise, the ideal partner in this venture would be Transpoco: LeasePlan is signing an agreement as a Transpoco reseller to promote the Fleet Technology solution SynX throughout their customers and network.

 

SynX is a complete fleet management software that is available 24/7 online as a cloud service. With GPS technology as a base, the system is providing insights into vehicle data, offering users not only cost savings business intelligence but a system for correctly managing risks and protecting drivers as well as other road users.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

Vehicle risks at work: HSA inspection campaign in progress in Ireland

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Last week, the HSA has actively begun a campaign targeting vehicle risks at work and initiated inspections, focusing on four sectors in particular: Transport and Logistics, Wholesale and Retail, Waste and Recycling and Manufacturing.

 

The whole purpose of this campaign is to ensure all employers are aware of their responsibilities for managing risks connected with the use of vehicles at work, to help decrease the number of incidents and eliminate the contributory factors.

 

Within the last six years, around 45% of all workplace fatalities have involved vehicles. In the same period nearly one in five (18%) of all non-fatal accidents were vehicle related.

 

An analysis of HSA accident statistics indicates that the majority of these fatalities occurred as a consequence of manoeuvring, reversing or coupling and uncoupling vehicles. Non-fatal injuries generally occurred during the manual handling of loads or as a result of falls from vehicles.

 

Deirdre Sinnott, a Senior Inspector within the HSA, says that risk can be reduced by focusing on four key areas.

 

“Firstly, employers should have a vehicle risk management policy that covers all vehicle related activities in the workplace.  This includes not only vehicles operated by employees but also those visiting that need to be managed and controlled. It is also important that procedures are in place to eliminate and control known risks associated with: driving for work, loading and unloading, deliveries and collections, parking, reversing and manoeuvring. Then safety information, instruction and training should be provided for all employees and finally, a method to record and learn from all incidents or near misses and take corrective action where necessary.”

 

This will include enforcement, education, raising awareness, research and statistics, new guidance and working with key stakeholders to influence a sustainable reduction in the numbers of workers and others injured and killed in vehicle related incidents in the workplace and on the road.

 

Telematics itself as well as fleet management software can help in researching risk factors in fleets and in managing them by organising continuous driver training and education. Raising awareness is helped by organising driver challenges that focus on safe driving, and offers the additional benefit of improving fuel efficiency.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety, fleet compliance

3 more things that fleet directors need to look at to be fleet rock stars

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

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We have recently analysed three aspects that fleet directors need to look at in order to be successful in their fleet management activities. Being a fleet director or fleet manager was once an activity particularly restricted to those who were assigning tasks to drivers or dealing with vehicles. Today, challenges are increasing as well as responsibilities and fleet directors are not only looked at from a financial point of view as someone responsible for the global costs of a company, but also as technology experts, since fleet software tools are increasingly taking over.

What else should then be included in the list of things fleet managers should definitely look into?

Following on from the preceding post, here we suggest three more points of interest:

 

1. Continuous education

Just like any other business related discipline, fleet management changes constantly, both because of tech evolution and also because of the economic requirements that make fleet managers scrutinise financial resources. Both tools that are used to track fleet metrics and even the vehicles itself have taken great evolutionary strides, so if fleet directors still want to be successful, they need to keep updated in pace with the changes.

 

2. Fleet policies

Fleet policies are not a one-size-fits-all item or even something that is done once and then forgotten. As fleet specs and requirements are constantly changing, fleet policies also need to be updated accordingly. It might seem trivial, but even by simply updating and broadening fleet policies there are a lot of issues that can be avoided or at least predicted then tackled in good time and dealt with wisely.

 

3. Different vehicle possibilities

Purchasing is not the only option, rightsizing, renting and remarketing are also available when the current circumstances of a fleet manager of a company operating vehicles radically change tomorrow for seasonal reasons or due to fluctuations in budget. Being prepared and aware of the different options available can really make a difference in these cases.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

3 things a wise fleet manager should be looking for

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Fleet managers and professionals operating vehicles should really never ease up. If on one hand we have previously clarified the reasons why such professionals should not be afraid of technology replacing them, but rather use it as a friendly tool, on the other hand we consider it necessary for fleet managers to adopt certain skills, evolve in the profession and be as innovative as possible to remain competent.

What, according to the current scene, are the things fleet managers should be looking to do in order to operate their fleets successfully?

In this blog post we have selected three that could really make a difference—let’s review them together!

 

1. Advanced fleet data

We are way pass the time of annotating fuel data and fleet vehicle registration numbers into a spreadsheet: it is not reliable and whoever is responsible for it might be prone to mistakes. Monitored vehicles generate a lot of data that can be converted into advanced reports and analytics, which deliver insights about different aspects of a fleet, from area of work to driver behaviour, from fuel consumption to maintenance processes. Wise fleet managers have always updated data available to provide reports for intelligent decision-making.

 

2. Integration of fleet with company departments

A fleet is no longer separated from the other departments of a company, technology is helping to connect fleet performance and tasks scheduling, but a fleet manager today is also expected to use his abilities to help the financial side of the company and to look for new business opportunities that could be disclosed by fleet management software tools.

 

3. Evolution of risk management practices

Fleet safety is paramount for the development of any business reliant on the operation of vehicles, for the protection of road users and the team involved. Fleet safety practices today have evolved to better detect risk patterns, and the range of concepts involved vary from the use of telematics and other technology to driver training and the use of updated safety devices and security systems. Wise fleet managers have to keep up-to-date with these new practices and use them to better manage risks in a fleet.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

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