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Transport Safety Seminars 2019 by the HSA of Ireland: save the date

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 22, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Transport Safety Seminars by the HSA of Ireland save the date

The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland has recently published the dates of the next Transport Safety Seminars, which will take place in early May 2019.

The HSA will be hosting a series of free half-day morning seminars. The objective of these seminars is to inform and educate employers about how to implement safe driving for work practices and key transport and vehicle risk topics. The seminars will be of particular interest and benefit to employers, self-employed, transport, safety and fleet managers who operate vehicles in all work sectors. At the seminars, delegates will hear examples from companies who effectively manage driving for work.

The provisional dates of the seminars are as follows:

May 1st, 2019 – Cork

May 2nd, 2019 – Kilkenny

May 8th, 2019 – Galway

May 9th, 2019 – Dublin

Don’t forget to save the dates.

Booking details will follow soon at hsa.ie, but if you wish to get a taste of the presentations and the case studies included in the seminars, you can have a look at the detailed presentations of the 2018 seminars edition in this HSA list or in this Driving for Work events and seminars page.

 

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Topics: fleet safety, Road Safety, Fleet Management

4 New Year’s Resolutions ideas your fleet definitely has to consider

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 9, 2019 9:00:00 AM

4 New Year’s Resolutions ideas your fleet definitely has to consider

While we reconfirm our best wishes to you for the New Year, we unfortunately have to remind you of something that may be a little unpleasant for some of you: it is time to go back to work and, most importantly, focus on your New Year’s resolutions and start to work to fulfil them for the wellbeing of your fleet.

If you are still digesting all the food, the celebrations and the toasting, you might appreciate a slow comeback to the office—this post would like to positively inspire by considering some useful resolutions but also in seeing them through. Let’s go through the list!

Resolution 1: Not having New Year’s resolutions. While this might sound odd, there are actually reasons why having New Year’s resolutions can be perceived as negative. If you are among those that every year resolve to exercise more or quit smoking, but never do, that’s precisely the point we’re making. Also, if you have to address important issues within your fleet and business, consigning it to a resolution made at the end of the year—in accordance with a corny tradition—is surely not a professional approach. In short: if making resolutions is just habitually pointing out the need for change without actually following up with any commitment, then you should definitely stop doing it!

Resolution 2: Embrace outside-the-box thinking. It is dangerous to be held back from change simply because ‘we have always done it this way’. If this is true for your fleet but is not producing good results, you should look into experimenting with different solutions, even if you feel sceptical about them. Overcome some of your resistance and base your judgement on measurable results: only if you do that will you be able to establish whether a fleet strategy is good or not. Even something not looking particularly doable or that different from the usual remedies can make the difference; you just have to test it.  

Resolution 3: Never forget about maintenance. Despite making prefect sense and being one of the all-time best practices to follow, fleets still minimise maintenance or look at maintenance spend meanly when it comes to cutting expenses, notwithstanding that not having an appropriate maintenance regime can easily turn into safety and compliance issues. You typically realise maintenance shouldn’t have been skipped when you have a problem or something has happened—by then it is too late. Make maintenance routine in your fleet and you will see how your vehicles, team and global business will benefit greatly.

Resolution 4: Think about your staff. Think where your business would be without your drivers. Involve them in the important decisions you make concerning your fleet and they will be eager to help. Some information about vehicles or particular aspects cannot be established without communicating with them—don’t forget that drivers are those out on the road with your vehicles every single day. You might also consider getting in touch with your customers. Make sure you value all their opinions as they are a key part of your success.

 

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The Fleet Management Blog: learning from the tips of the past 12 months

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 2, 2019 9:00:00 AM

The Fleet Management Blog: learning from the tips of the past 12 months

Happy New Year!

2019 has arrived, and while we are still adjusting to typing in the new date, we plan for this to be a great year for our businesses and most of all for our fleets.

But what should we take stock of when we think about the previous year?

Our Fleet Management Blog is always committed to providing the best tips and content for you, so with this post we would like to recap on what we consider to be three of the best tips from our 2018 blogs that aim to get your fleet off to the greatest possible start to the New Year. Let’s take a look!

  1. Strategies to control costs in a fleet: measure types you can introduce

As every company will constantly think about strategies to control fleet costs, and fleet managers feel intense pressure to do so, this blog dealt with some possible cost reduction strategies aimed at improving the bottom line of a fleet. The starting point is to pinpoint what is actually impacting most on fleet activity and then controlling it to improve the global performance.

  1. How to make sure fleet vehicle utilization hits 100%

Vehicle utilization is extremely important for all fleets, but especially for those trying to cut the costs of their operation. Assessing the usage of the vehicles of a fleet can definitely open up the potential to running your fleets more efficiently and at an optimised cost. In this process, it is extremely important to examine the factors impacting on vehicle usage and from there begin to take action.

  1. How to keep both your fleet maintenance rolling AND your vehicles on the road

Lots of things necessarily need to work concurrently when it comes to fleet operations, but none of them are as crucial and pragmatic as carrying out maintenance properly while keeping vehicles on the road. In this article we take a look at that particular challenge, specifically the need for regular servicing, which is what keeps vehicles running, and the need of vehicles to be available on a daily basis.

These tips are really valuable if you are looking for something extra to boost your fleet’s performance; but if you wish to get hands-on help, you can sign up for our vehicle tracking trial or for our maintenance and compliance software trial. If you missed out on the opportunity to try them last year, you can really kick off 2019 to a great start by signing up. Once again, we’d like wish you a happy New Year!

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Festive season drink driving campaigns: the key is never ever drink and drive

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Festive season drink driving campaigns: the key is never ever drink and drive

Christmas time, as we all know, is a festive period that concludes with New Year’s celebrations. So while we want to wish you a great 2019 and realise that the general mood at this time of year is typically jolly, there is something rather serious that should never be forgotten: never ever drink and drive.

A research published by the Telegraph during the summer, found out that, unfortunately, not only do fuels power fleets, but drug and alcohol consumption is to some extent fuelling a percentage of drivers within the industry. According to Alere Toxicology (a company who specialises in drug testing), one in every thirty (3.3%) of employees is likely to have drugs in their system at any time; and the data shared by The Institute of Alcohol Studies state that each day in the UK, 200,000 people turn up to work nursing a hangover.

The data provided has obvious consequences on road safety: the UK Government states that 9,050 people have been killed or injured when one driver involved was over the drink drive limit, with a total number of 6,080 collisions, some of those behind the wheel were employees engaged in work related activities.

Festive season drink driving campaigns the key is never ever drink and drive2

As the festive period is once more upon us, the tendency to celebrate and drink more increases markedly and drivers might become more complacent—companies need to be alerted to the risks and have a solid policy in place dealing with the use of drugs and alcohol behind the wheel.

In some countries, the legal limit or the penalties have changed in an attempt by the authorities to make the roads safer: in Ireland, in October of this year, The Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 was put into force, and drink drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg will be disqualified from driving for three months and fined €200. In this case, the amendment increases the penalties so that drink drivers will now lose their license for three months based on a blood alcohol content that was lower than the law allowed previously.

Drink driving campaigns are in force all over the world, with Ireland focusing particularly on the ‘morning after’ drivers still likely to be affected by the alcohol consumed from the night before. According to data shared by An Garda Siochana and the Road Safety Authority, some 11 per cent of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol took place between 7am and 11am.

Festive season drink driving campaigns the key is never ever drink and drive3

Past campaigns also covered the importance of not encouraging friends to drink, like this “Think” one from last year, known as “Mates matter” and “A mate doesn’t let a mate drink drive”. The central theme can be also be found in the different designated driver campaigns running in other countries (here we are looking at the Irish campaign) but all concentrate on the importance of appointing a designated driver for a night of celebrations (who can benefit from the free non-alcoholic drinks on offer as an incentive offered by pubs in various locations that are participating in the Coca Cola campaign, where the driver will ‘give the gift of a lift’).

If a member of your staff is on the road with alcohol, it means unsafe roads, a higher possibility of injury and collision and liability of the company for any accident that a drunk driver can cause. Make sure you have drink driving monitoring in place if you want to run a safe fleet this Christmas.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety

Why Santa Claus can be considered a real fleet manager

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 19, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Why Santa Claus can be considered a real fleet manager

The Christmas season that usually kicks off with Black Friday shopping madness is one of the top concerns for fleet managers. The line between sales success and disaster can by mighty thin and a company can easily stray onto the wrong side if adequate planning and resources have not been put in place. Apart from increased sales due to online shopping, there is an obvious boom in the need for transport and logistic services for any service provider or product manufacturer. Just think about how many extra workers retailers and supermarkets require this time of year, or, to put it simply, just consider who is going to deliver your Christmas tree, for example?

Businesses often have high expectations in terms of keeping their shelves fully stocked over the Christmas period to satisfy seasonal consumer demand, and depend on fast, reliable ground transportation: investing in advanced tracking systems can be the solution for those experiencing a disproportionate amount of business.

But if we think about Santa Claus, when all’s said and done, isn’t he perhaps the first fleet manager?

What might sound like a slightly off-the-wall statement to most of us actually became the subject of an interesting book entitled The Physics of Christmas by Roger Highfield (then editor of the New Scientist) about which the BBC published an article some time ago. Assuming that Santa Claus exists, and that the population of children is estimated (at least at the time the book was written) to be around two billion, how can sweet old Santa physically complete such a phenomenal undertaking?

It is estimated by Highfield that Santa would have to make roughly 850 million stops. He would be able to buy himself another precious 24 hours if he were to actually complete these stops travelling in an opposite direction to the rotation of the earth. Nethertheless, this is not a very long deadline considering the magnitude of the task, so he’d have to get quite a move on.

Highfield calculates that Santa would need to be travelling at 6,000 times the speed of sound, or, 300,000 kilometres per second—light speed, in other words—in order meet his targets in time, something that is clearly beyond current technology.

For folk who still believe in Santa Clause, there is, however, some quite complicated scientific explanations as to why no-one ever sees him delivering the presents. The pool of experts interviewed by the BBC make a series of assumptions as to how Santa could physically perform such an undertaking without being spotted according to the principles of quantum mechanics, relativity, nanostructures and space, but also, last but not least, as the potential fleet manager of a colossal logistical operation.

The head of public relations for UPS, the delivery firm, at the time of the BBC article, Jim Daniell, explained how Santa Claus could be seen as a real fleet manager, making use of the most advanced technology of the era and asking his elves for help. Tracking and tracing, in the words of Daniell, would be the preferred technological method for the task. He then imagines Santa operating a small but powerful computer with GPS capabilities and which keeps tabs on deliveries and communicates with his HQ up in the North Pole.

Santa Claus could take advantage of real time data transmission; he could receive information about children who were still awake and use this information and his geographical position to achieve his objective—to deliver as many presents as possible in the shortest time without being seen.

We may never know how a real Santa could technically pull off such a feat year after year, but we do support this last hypothesis, and we tried to imagine how it might look in practice with this video:

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Fleet Year End Budget: what are the trends?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

  Fleet Year End Budget: what are the trends?

‘Tis the season to be jolly’—but also to be busy! At this time of the year you should typically be some way into next year’s planning—you’d be a little on the late side if you haven’t started already. We know everyone is extremely busy as this time of the year, but in order for a business to plan ahead for 2019, they should be sure to make the most out of what is left of the 2018 budget.

If you are like the majority of businesses operating fleets, you will probably have some leftovers in the budget that are subject to the old ‘use it or lose it’ rule. But what happens for lots of companies is that they either do not have time (or feel they do not have time) to decide on an intelligent spend for this, or they just squander it on irrelevancies, just for the sake of not losing it. If you are among those who, luckily enough, can decide what to do with the leftovers after your holidays and it is available through to 2019, you can weigh up your best investment options and get ready for the final toasts. But if not using that budget means having a lower budget for 2019, then you might be urged to spend.

First of all, how have you been able to establish how much is left of your fleet management budget? Like in every other sector, the idea is that everything applying to the expenses of your fleet is tracked carefully and all items accounted for when calculating your remaining budget. If you are still using multiple systems to get your fleet expenses on a digital file, chances are that your estimate is inaccurate and you might actually waste budget that you don’t have or either cannot take advantage of what is left for the year. Are you sure that you or your organisation is actually keeping track of all the factors that make up the fleet spend and that your budget estimate is accurate?

If the answer is ‘no’, you should definitely consider the acquisition of a system able to record all of your expenses in order to get a realistic view of how much you can potentially spend or how much you should keep on saving. Even better if that same system is able to offer other options at the same time, such as a complete maintenance module or other tools able to make your office paperless. With time, you should not only be able to check out on remaining budget, but also to have a realistic forecast on next year’s spending, a regular review of your spend which will allow you to set your fleet strategy in a more intelligent way.

If you already have a system able to do so, maybe you can check out what the next trend is: dashcams have started to become more and more important for both drivers and fleets, and insurance companies have started to offer discounts to those interested in this product. If you need more information, make sure to let us know: we have quite a few ideas to make your season jolly and your budget spend wiser!

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet management technology, News, Stats & Facts

Are PCH (Personal Contract Hire) contracts leading to lack of maintenance?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 4, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Are PCH (Personal Contract Hire) contracts leading to lack of maintenance?

Personal Contract Hire (PCH) has recently proven to be a very effective solution for small companies in need of vehicles for a definite period of time (despite being primarily addressed to private users); for example, when seasonality comes into play and companies face busier days and are not willing or not able to cope with a vehicle purchase or with business contract leasing due to lack of funds, longer contracts, higher responsibilities or just in order to follow a strategy which uses funds differently.

There is no right or wrong answer to the question as to whether companies should use PCH or leasing instead of acquiring new vehicles, as it rather depends on the activity, seasonality and objectives of a specific business: sometimes PCH or traditional business leasing could be the perfect answer to their requirements, but maybe not so much on other occasions. It might also depend on the type of vehicle a particular business might be looking for, as the choice is usually limited and more focused on cars or vans rather than on construction vehicles, for example. But it seems that Personal Contract Hire or PCH is actually a good solution for some companies whose business depends on driving, as the trend towards this option is increasing. According to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), the trade body for the vehicle rental and leasing sector, the trend towards PCH has grown steadily for both vans and cars in the period from 2012 to 2015, and grew by 14% in the first quarter of 2018. PCH seems no longer to be a prerogative of personal use, as more and more businesses start to turn towards it, though it certainly has some downsides.

With the general tendency for businesses toward vehicle sharing for their driving needs, PCH might actually be capable of accommodating changing requirements, as, according to some experts, vehicle ownership will definitely decrease in the future. But when we consider the increasing demand for leased vehicles, there are still lots of factors we need to look at. Compliance and maintenance seem to be the two aspects most fleets would rather not think about: but it is actually a fact that having a similar type of contract to the more traditional arrangements might lead to a clash of responsibilities and maybe to drivers not taking the appropriate care of maintenance, since around 20% of the PCH agreements, for example, do not include maintenance expenses according to research recently carried out by Epyx, a technology solution provider.

This might lead to some obvious problems, because if the company providing the PCH agreement is not taking care of maintenance, it creates some uncertainty upon the status of the vehicles and what their remarketing value will be when it comes to the end of the contract. Employers adopting PCH agreements as part of their fleets will use those vehicles for business, but will struggle to find out if they are actually maintained according to the necessary standards and if they meet compliance requirements. The employer is usually responsible for the duty of care obligations, so how could companies avoid an information deficit and find a way to implement sound maintenance practices so that the PCH provider, the company and the driver share the same information?

Having an independent maintenance system that could be checked by all parties is definitely a sound means of preventing possible miscommunication between all those parties. If you wish to know how this could be done, check out our SynX Maintain option.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet maintenance

The A-Z series: H for Health and Safety, essential or forgotten?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 29, 2018 9:00:00 AM

The A-Z series: H for Health and Safety, essential or forgotten?

Our latest article from the A to Z of fleet management series is directed at some of the more inconspicuous stakeholders. And as such, we are pretty sure we will catch the attention of those who often work in this important area, but are usually “behind the scenes”. Yes, health and safety officers, we are talking about you!

Health and safety, or, in other words, occupational health and safety, or again workplace health and safety, is concerned with the effect that the specific workplace environment and the tasks required in the day-to-day running of a business has upon anyone with which it comes into contact, and this applies wherever it is operating in a commercial capacity: this includes employees, possibly family members, customers or a more extended group of people. Take a moment to consider how this applies for businesses that operate vehicles.

Dealing with the protection of employees and other categories of people does not only involve a series of preventive actions to be implemented in order to prevent the health and safety of those involved being compromised, but those actions also need to be informed by the regulations that specifically apply to that particular sector, task, category of worker and, of course, depends on the country where the business is operating. This is why when we consider health and safety we are also considering legal compliance.

But what’s the story with health and safety officers? It seems in a lot of cases, as happens with fleet managers, when it comes to smaller businesses, health and safety officers with specific workplace health and safety responsibilities do not in fact exist. Conversely, for larger companies that have a greater pool of vehicles, there is usually a dedicated health and safety officer who is also partly sharing responsibilities with a fleet director. Particularly in these cases, the health and safety officer is a sort of a legal reference for the company and can best advise when new regulations come into effect or when different processes are being adopted by a company and they are expected to oversee whether they adhere to local/global law and health and safety at work regulations. In smaller companies, the person responsible for the role in absence of a dedicated health and safety officer is often the owner, the fleet director in some cases or the human resources department.

When it comes to decision-making about health and safety, it is very unlikely that health and safety officers alone implement processes that involve risk assessment, training or best practices that should be integrated into work practices. There is generally cooperation within all departments, so the contribution of the health and safety officer is key to understanding what can legally be done in some cases, but in others management might want to prevail over some choices, even though their directives might not be fully compliant.

Running vehicles at work should instead be regarded with the utmost importance as it continues to be one of the most frequent causes of injuries or fatalities. About half of the incidents reported to happen in transport in the workplaces every year still make up an extremely significant percentage and seems to indicate that the role and advice of the health and safety officer is still not taken seriously enough. Sites and workplace, drivers and vehicles need to be managed in the safest way possible while complying with the existing legislation. As usual, if you are not clear how this can be realised, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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Topics: fleet safety, Fleet Management

Dash cam users: insurance provider starts to offer discounted premium

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Dash cam users: insurance provider starts to offer discounted premium

Dashboard cameras are becoming more and more commonplace and companies who aim at improving the safety of their employees and want an extra level of precaution are starting to implement them within their fleets. Up until now, insurance companies had not openly supported the use of dash cams, but that is all about to change.

According to an online article published in the Independent on the 18th of November, the insurance company Axa has offered a 10% discount on premiums for customers who install a dash cam. Axa Ireland has partnered up with the camera manufacturer Nextbase who will provide the necessary dash cams, also for a discount, when bought through high-street retailers such as Halfords. It is extremely likely that other insurance companies will now follow suit with similar offers to encourage drivers and fleets to install dash cams on their vehicles.

This development was reported in Ireland, where it seems to be strongly connected to a series of joint strategies by the Gardaí, the Irish police force, which shares responsibilities in road safety with the RSA (Road Safety Authority) of Ireland. Recently, the road safety team has coordinated a series of actions aimed at tackling the issue of uninsured drivers in Ireland, which is currently calculated to be 150,000 cases. In order to solve the issue, a special system has been setup so that Gardaí will be able to immediately see if a vehicle is insured or not by means of special handheld devices. The system will depend upon a national database of cars and insurance cover and is expected to be up and running by the end of 2018.

In the UK, the first insurance company to establish some sort of favourable terms for customers who have dash cams fitted seems to have come from Swiftcover back in 2014, and some other insurance companies have subsequently followed their example.

But what about the other benefits of dash cams? Notwithstanding the discounts, fitting a vehicle with a dash cam can make a huge difference for both end users and companies who rely on drivers: according to studies held in the UK by the RAC, 25% of the interviewed on the matter claim that dash cam footage would be extremely helpful in improving driving style. Dash cams are also pretty useful when it comes to establishing the ultimate responsibility for a collision or an incident, as you can often get conclusive evidence of how an incident plays out over time. Moreover, if you are entitled to a no-claims discount, a dash cam could help you retain it if the responsibility of the other drivers is proved via the footage.

According to the AA’s director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan (interviewed in April by the Independent): “Where they are useful [dash cams], though, is in settling liability after the fact. They can be very useful in resolving disputes or establishing exactly how a crash occurred and in reducing fake crashes or insurance scams”. The move by Axa seems also to be part of the wider plan to eliminate fraudulent injury claims.

Dash cams can definitely help your driving team and fleet to improve their global safety and reduce the costs to your business (not necessarily only those related to insurance). If you want to learn more, we are here to help.

 

 

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Topics: dash cams, dashboard cameras, Fleet Management, fleet safety

Dear fleet owner, here is why tomorrow might be the best business day of the year

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 22, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Dear fleet owner, here is why tomorrow might be the best business day of the year

The rise of Black Friday is no longer simply a popular phenomenon, it has become the inspiration for labelling other noteworthy business occasions. For example, collateral events such as Cyber Monday (the “cousin” of Black Friday) and Green Monday (which is actually referring to the December Monday generating most sales—also known as Cyber Monday 2) make the season kicking off tomorrow one of the most critical periods for any type of business, as it has been calculated that it can account for as much as 30% of annual sales.

Retailers and parcel delivery companies pay special attention to the beginning of the holiday season, and the strong growth of online shopping is quite promising: potentially every sector is expecting a record shopping season.

If we want to look at some relevant data, the National Retail Federation in the US is expecting the sales happening in the holiday season period, that is, starting with Black Friday and continuing through the Christmas period, to increase by around 4-5% from last year to a global value of something like $680 billion dollars (£529 billion or €603 billion). According to the same source, potentially 136 million holiday shoppers will be active during the Black Friday weekend.

Forbes expects Christmas sales to increase by about 5%, with peaks close to a $2 billion spend on Black Friday and $2.5 billion on Cyber Monday. According to an infographic dating back to last year, 225,000,000 extra parcels are delivered on Black Friday and translate to an extra 82,050 vehicles on the road and 49,000 more staff to be hired. Some of the big names that are expected to excel in their performance in particular during this period in the UK and Ireland are Amazon, Argos and Royal Mail. Black Friday parcels do indeed need resources and efforts in order to reach consumers and huge plans are needed for any type of business to fit and succeed in the “Black Friday machine”.

Logistics is definitely what really makes everything possible at this time of the year. Despite the digitalisation of most sectors, it is a fact that as per now, envelopes and parcels still have to be delivered and pressure is often kept on destination delivery companies, with custom clearance from faraway places adding extra days to the original shipping estimate. It is then not surprising that professionals involved in the supply chain and logistic sectors and also fleet experts spend a considerable amount of time analysing data, thinking about speeding up processes and getting ready for this time.

Make sure you plan well in advance for your business during this time: dealing with Black Friday business can become stressful and challenging, with a considerable impact on safety, vehicle and personnel demand, but it can really represent a huge opportunity if you are able to catch it in time. It is also one of the most predictable high turnover periods of the year, so make sure you are helping your driving and office team with intelligent tools able to save time on admin and maximise driving time. If you are not sure how, we can show you how to make the most out of Black Friday—and, in fact, out of any other time of the year.

 

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