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The A-Z series: let’s talk about U for Uptime

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 12, 2019 8:59:00 AM

The A-Z series let’s talk about U for Uptime

We may be running short of letters to complete our A-Z series of fleet management, but never topics. Uptime, according to standard definition, is the period of time which a computer, piece of machinery, etc., is operational and available for use. It goes without saying that in the case of fleets, uptime, when specifically referring to vehicles, is one of the eternal quests of fleet managers—to make vehicles ready to perform as much as possible, as opposed to downtime, in order to maximise profits.

Fleets have only quite recently begun to abandon a type of reactive maintenance, which seemingly worked for ages, in favour of more adequate planning that involves other factors than just facilitating the transportation of material from point A to point B. This may include the consideration of the customer perspective, the need for precise quality standards and conformity and also the nature of the business producing revenue.

Now, in order to prevent a problem suddenly arising and forcing vehicles into downtime, fleets know that they have to stay ahead of the game, on the lookout for anything related to potential issues, fixing them before they actually cause a problem while the vehicle is on the road. Apart from the usual pre-trip checks or walk-around checks that are legally required, some specific checks on particularly troublesome features can be conducted with a degree of regularity to avoid issues in the long run. Another concept that has only recently been considered by fleets is the idea of having a comprehensive check after the vehicle reaches a certain threshold in terms of mileage, with the same aim of anticipating possible problems.

Technology has also started to provide the means to gather data and notify fleets regarding the perfect timing of servicing a vehicle, offering a heads-up regarding a potential malfunction or simply capturing vehicle performance in terms of fuel consumption, number of services and similar metrics to help establish the regular checks to be carried out to preserve vehicles and help prolong their uptime. The information, often given in real time, can also help establish whether the vehicle can continue on the road without risk or if it is preferable to take it off rather than waiting for the regular check. And the increased connectivity of a vehicle can, according to numbers shared by Volvo Trucks, reduce incidents of unplanned downtime by 80%.

It has been calculated by LeasePlan that the average cost of having a van off the road is between €785/£700 and €1122/£1,000 per day. Nevertheless, according to data shared by Autoglass, a substantial number of fleet managers appear to be unaware of the financial impact, with 40% of them unable to estimate the business cost of having a vehicle off the road. Those who were able to give a figure said the average cost in terms of lost business revenue was €815/£727 per day per van. No surprise then why the focus has changed in fleets in favour of a more proactive approach to maximise uptime, though it still has yet to become standard practice for some of them.

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet maintenance

3 unique challenges that airport fleets are expected to overcome

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 10, 2019 9:01:00 AM

3 unique challenges that airport fleets are expected to overcome

When thinking about “airport fleets”, it may for most people automatically bring to mind the bright and colourful fuselages of different aircrafts; from the impressive A380, to the A320 or Boeing 747 that we are accustomed to board for our short-haul and maybe low-cost flights for either business or leisure. But the truth is that aircrafts are not the only fleet involved in smoothly conveying us to our destinations—there are ground fleets in airports that help to make this possible.

Just like any other ground fleet based organisation, airport fleets come with a set of challenges typical of them all, plus an array of unique ones peculiar to commercial aviation. Now that we have clarified the kinds of fleets we are specifically focusing on in this post, let’s have a look at three airport fleet challenges that ground services, handling and air transport businesses tackle every day!

#1 – Managing an incredibly diverse fleet. Again, we can bring to mind a mental image of the familiar service vehicles such as cars, vans or pickups that we invariably find in the perimeter of an airport—and also the buses/shuttles that transport passengers between terminal buildings, to departure gates or to and from aircraft. But these vehicles are just a small part of the fleet operating inside an airport, on runways and ramps. Airport fleets are in fact comprised of both motorized and non-motorized assets that are all of equal importance in the task of transporting goods and people by air; that all have to be precisely located to ensure efficient and fast operations and maintained so as to guarantee swift service. Airport fleets might just about have almost every means of conveyance: think about baggage tractors, cargo tractors, cargo loaders, mobile assets, power units, trolleys, passenger steps, elevators, escalators, conveyor belts, pushback tractors...

#2 – “Phenomenal cosmic powers—in an itty-bitty living space” is no fun: this is not only Aladdin’s genie’s motto, but it’s the bread and butter of airport fleets. Aircrafts, vehicles and assets move around a limited space in a precise way to ensure timings and slots are respected, that there is no delay caused by operations on the ground and everything is obviously happening in a safe, compliant way flight after flight, after flight.

#3 – Diverse assets in a reduced space—actually, in a LOT of reduced spaces. If we consider airports as reduced perimeters and handling companies with multifarious challenges depending on how many airports they control, airport fleets have to operate in a consistent, standardised way all around the world and comply with different regulations in different markets at the same time and with different stages of development or maturity depending on the airport they work in.

 

Airport operators: contact us to book a visit at the Inter Airport Europe show

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, Airport fleet management

Driver behaviour rank: who are the worst drivers in Ireland and the UK?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 5, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Driver behaviour rank who are the worst drivers in Ireland and the UK?

If you are worried about driver behaviour and are afraid somebody from your team might engage in unsafe driving style habits, you should not only contact us as soon as possible to seek help, but also, meanwhile, make sure to continue reading this post, as Fleet News recently revealed Britain’s worst drivers and it might interest you - although we seriously hope your fleet is not involved!

Vantage Leasing, an associate of Lex Autolease, recently shared data on the worst drivers in Britain, which sees Halifax having the most motorists with penalty points on their licence (9.62% of the local driving licence holders), followed by Bradford, with the 9.46% of its driving population being the second highest points holders in the UK. Third place has been conquered by Huddersfield, with 9.04% of drivers having penalty points on their driving licence, while in terms of best practices, Canterbury seems to host the safest drivers: only 3.72% of the drivers of the town do have penalty points.

We are still not aware of a similar rank being made public for Ireland, though we can remember two related pieces of news about "worst drivers". In year 2009 Ireland was hunting a mysterious offender who repeatedly collected speeding tickets and parking fines throughout the different Irish counties. Apparently, every time the offender was stopped he was able to bypass justice by giving a different address. The enigma of the unknown transgressor was then solved once Garda officers realised that "Prawo Jadzy" was not actually the driver they were looking for, but the Polish translation of "driving licence". No secret motorist then, just a consistent error in copying the first name and surname of the driver, which had led to the creation of a "Mr Prawo Jadzy" with over 50 identities.

Driver behaviour rank who are the worst drivers in Ireland and the UK 2


Learning from making mistakes brings benefits
, they say. But some people might never learn the lesson - and Ray Hefferman is probably one of them, at least until his next try. This Cork man has been defined the worst driver in Ireland and failed his driving test for the 20th time on the last week of August. Hefferman has even taken the Department of Transport to court eight times to challenge the results of his tests, but lost every time and his car still displays an "L" plate...

Kidding aside, there is definitely room for significant improvements and plenty to learn if you start monitoring driver behaviour - you will be surprised how many savings can be achieved and how easy it can be to run a safe fleet. Talk to us if you wish to learn more!

 

Cut fuel costs with driving style management

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, driver training, driver behaviour

Airport Fleet Management: Transpoco at the Inter Airport Europe Show 2019

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 3, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Airport Fleet Management: Transpoco at the Inter Airport Europe Show 2019


Who said intelligent fleet management is just for logistics, public transportation or couriers?
Transpoco's suite of SaaS tools can offer real benefits to GSE fleets, ground operations, support equipment and services. From cutting costs to assessing risks, from maintenance to compliance management, Transpoco will present all the latest innovations and updates targeting the aviation sector at the Inter Airport Europe Show 2019.

The international exhibition has this year reached its 22nd edition. The event, organised as its tagline claims, for Airport Equipment, Technology, Design & Services, is welcoming digital transformation in aviation and airport operations (so, who better than Transpoco to show how interconnected airports can work - efficiently and effortlessly?).

Manufacturers and suppliers of airport equipment will showcase their new, revolutionary products that will find different airport uses and applications, from technologies to predict passenger flow to digital service platforms for operators to access and analyse data across the airport and software solutions to enhance both safety and quality management.

 

Airport Fleet Management: Transpoco at the Inter Airport Europe Show 2019_2


We are now just 5 weeks away from this important appointment: Transpoco will exhibit at the stand number 2262 in Hall C6 from October 8-11, 2019 - come talk to us if you wish to have smoother airport operations!

Airport operators: contact us to book a visit at the Inter Airport Europe show

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts, GSE fleets, Airport fleet management

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

How to decide between leasing or purchasing a fleet

by Joseph Brady on Jul 4, 2019 9:03:00 AM

How to decide between leasing or purchasing a fleet

The decision to lease or own a fleet is a well-thought through choice that a transportation owner should make. Usually, the choice depends on the then finances and requirements. But a proper plan is required to gain long-term profitability. Here are few factors to consider before jumping into the leasing vs purchasing decision.

  1. Cost: calculate the money that you currently spend on the fleet and estimate how much you will be spending in the future for both the lease and buying options.
  2. Flexibility: being flexible is essential for small businesses to save a lot of money. Ask yourself if you will require the same number and type of vehicles in the future as well.
  3. Maintenance: maintaining the fleet is critical in the transportation industry and is unavoidable. Analyze if leasing a vehicle or buying one will be more economical.

Though leasing and buying have their own advantages for different transportation businesses, it’s better to know about them to make well-informed decisions.

 

Leasing a fleet

There are two main types of fleet leasing:

Open-ended leasing: Lease the vehicle for a certain period of time and extend if required. But once the contract period has expired, the vehicle becomes yours to sell. If you sell the vehicle at a higher value than the estimated cost, then the leaser gives you a refund. However, if the vehicles are sold at a lower cost, the business owner will have to pay the difference to the leaser.

Close-ended leasing: In this type, you can lease the vehicles for a specific amount of time and once it expires, the fleet has to be returned to the leaser. This type of leasing is also called, ‘walk-away lease’ as you don’t have anything to commit to after the lease period is over.

 

Benefits

Works for small capitals: The monthly payments for leasing a vehicle is less than the cost of buying one outright. This is a major reason for small business owners with humble beginnings to incline towards leasing the vehicles.

Lowers maintenance: Maintaining the fleet is an expensive yet essential part of your business. If you are leasing the vehicles, the leaser usually takes care of the maintenance but there is a catch in this cost-wise. If the leaser has a maintenance unit of their own the cost will be low, but if the maintenance is done by another company then costs will go up.

Goes off the balance sheet: Your debt-to-equity ratio takes a hit when the fleet is bought with a major capital expense. This will reflect badly on your company for lenders and investors. Leasing the vehicles balances out this expense over a period of time.

Brings fleet flexibility: Business requirements change from time to time and it is good for a transportation business to be flexible in the fleet that they own. Analyze the trends season-wise, geography-wise, and client-wise to understand what type of vehicles and their quantity is required for your fleet.

Opens gate for new vehicles: It’s not possible for any transportation business to keep updating their vehicle to newer models. But, you can lease the latest models that come with additional features, safety upgrade, lesser maintenance requirements, and more fuel economy.

 

 

Buying a fleet

If you are new to the industry, buying a fleet might look like a huge financial step and your capital might not synchronize with your buying plans. But, owning vehicles come with their own set of advantages.

Payments end eventually: The best part of buying your fleet is that the payments in installments too end one day. But, if you want to make an upfront payment you can always turn to small business funding options that might be more advantageous. Also, the fleet will be a way of making a solid investment for your business.

Comes with no limitation: From wear and tears to mileage, you are not answerable to anyone. But, remember that maintenance is billed under your business if you own the vehicles. Hence, educate your drivers on taking care of the vehicles and also devise a plan such that the work is distributed equally among all vehicles.

Offers tax benefits: The value of vehicles depreciate over time and this can actually help your business instead of bringing losses. This depreciation can equalize the offset profit, making you get tax benefits. In leasing the depreciation benefit lies with the leaser.

Provides positive equity: Your fleet adds equity to your business and over the years this will turn into positive equity. Positive equity means the amount your fleet owes for your vehicles becomes lesser than its value and you can reinvest this difference amount back into your company.

 

Managing a transport business is a challenging task involving many tough decisions and calculated judgments. Leasing or buying of fleet vehicles is one of them. Though the pros and cons of both these options are explained in detail, what suits best for your business should be your decision to make.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management

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