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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

Outsourcing to an external vendor: provider chosen. What now?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Outsourcing to an external vendor: provider chosen. What now

Choosing the perfect external supplier for any service your fleet might require is far from an easy task. Anyone responsible for this in fleets has to find the best compromise between fleet, business and driver needs, and at the lowest possible cost, though price should not be the overriding factor in a difficult choice. There are a good number of aspects you should consider before giving the green light to a new vendor, and while price is important, it shouldn’t dominate the decision making process.

 

So now you have chosen your solution, you have considered your top choice of vendors and you look forward to living happily ever after; that’s the end of the story… or is it? You might really believe this is what happens after you have found your (temporary) solution to outsourcing a service. But that’s actually just the beginning. You always need to keep an eye on your vendors and reassess them on a regular basis to see if they actually match up not only with your expectations, but also with the global budget and team.

 

What then are some of the resources you can use in order to evaluate the work and value of your external vendors?

 

  1. Use a system able to track your expenses: whether you have switched to a new vendor or not; or if you are starting to use an external provider for some of your fleet-related tasks, it is always best practice to be able to track your expenses and see how your vehicles behave after servicing or with the interaction of a particular provider. This can help you assess your vendors’ performance and see if the results are inline with your expectations.

  2. Have open communication with your provider and assess the full process. Check out not only the service provided but anyone else working for the vendor involved in your fleet and check if their performance is close to what you’d expect for the pay. Also, do not put off conversations for a moment; and if anything seems not up to your specifications, try to address this as soon as possible—you can actually test how the vendor tackles similar issues and the solutions they offer.

  3. Set deadlines. Check on a regular basis if progress has been made and if a service has actually improved; you can even propose this to your vendor as a sort of a trial— allow two months, for example, to a supplier to meet some sort of target. This will push your provider to excel in their performance, to win your commitment as a customer, and you will have the opportunity of a review after the first set deadline.

  4. Get feedback from your drivers. If some things are not performing as expected, you will probably get the heads-up from your drivers as they will have had direct experience working with the vehicles under the care of the new providers. If this is not the case, make sure you collect feedback from them—they may have not expressed it yet for whatever reason, but they are surely interested in conferring and will provide valuable information for you.

 

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Topics: fleet management technology, Fleet Management

Autonomous vehicle liability: who or what exactly is responsible for a self-driving car accident?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 14, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Autonomous vehicle liability: who or what exactly is responsible for a self-driving car accident

Autonomous vehicles have been a reality now since the first experiments carried out by Google nearly a decade ago and Tesla just a few years later. Self-driving vehicles have headlined many trade shows and sector events, and it looks more and more clear that self-driving vehicles are going to play a part in not only the future of our personal transportation needs but also that of the fleet sector’s.

 

Autonomous vehicles offer a wide range of benefits, and one of the most popular is the idea that in the future they will be able to guarantee safety and eradicate the contribution of human error in vehicle collisions and accidents (according to research carried out by the US Department of Transportation from 2005 to 2007, in around 94% of crashes, the final cause is assigned to the driver of the vehicle).

 

The technology is surely creating the conditions toward safer roads not only for end users, but also for fleets. Self-driving vehicles are being developed by companies such as Tesla and Otto, and autonomous trucks are an example of this. But what might actually have to change, and probably should, is the law regarding self-driving vehicles and the determination of liability in the event of a collision.

 

At present, a new area of law known as autonomous vehicles liability is evolving, and its duty (which looks anything but simple) would be to determine who is liable in the event of a self-driving vehicle causing damage to persons or property. Regarding autonomous vehicles, the responsibility for operating them is generally assigned to a specific technology rather than a human driver, at least theoretically; so there is probably a gap in the legal framework and the need for the existing liability laws to adapt to the new technology once it fully comes into force, though this need has already been highlighted as the technology advances.

 

Some of the possible legal scenarios might actually include several parties being held accountable such as vehicle components manufacturers, collision avoidance devices, vehicle manufacturers using the aforementioned and, of course, depending on the type of interaction required, the vehicle operator or the driver as we know him/her as he/she is today. Exactly as it happens in the event of a collision today, when we ask who is responsible, the answer seems to depend upon the action recorded and reported by the vehicle itself.

 

The different degrees of liability and autonomy will surely have an impact on the insurance industry too as the areas of blame can become blurred and might not be clearly defined by current policies.

 

This new mode of vehicle operation should not induce excessive anxiety about self-driving technology, but should rather prepare fleets, and anyone concerned about changing the way they work, for different compliance procedures. If compliance is not an issue at present and is taken care of as it should be in modern companies managing vehicles, only time and experience will reveal the future of autonomous vehicles liability.

 

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Topics: autonomous vehicles, self-driving vehicles, fleet management technology

Why the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 has lots in common with fleet management

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Why the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 has lots in common with fleet management

What is considered probably the greatest international sporting event, other than the Olympics, is now well underway and already reaching fever pitch. In almost every corner of the world fans are following the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 event, supporting their country (if they are still in it) or their favourite team, and getting increasingly anxious to see them progress to the final.

 

And what about you? Are you the type of football enthusiast who likes to operate with the match commentary on the radio constantly in the background, or are you not overly worried and too busy with your fleet? What about your staff and drivers? The next few paragraphs very much involve you whether you are a football fan or not and actually outline a lot of points in common with the fleet management profession and with running vehicles in general. You will be surprised how much you can relate to this event, and these points might also be a good team building activity for your drivers. Let’s begin!

 

#1 - Distracted driving is definitely an issue and collision avoidance systems are very much under discussion. We are not talking about your drivers listening to matches while driving (hopefully they are not doing anything as foolish as using tablets or phones behind the wheel to check the results—you’d better have a policy regulating that kind of behaviour if you suspect this might be happening) or using in-vehicle technologies, but this is more to do with something that happened at the very beginning of the event reported by Fleet Europe: just ahead of the World Cup games on Sunday, June 17, a taxi-driver in Moscow accelerated onto the sidewalk and ran over several pedestrians before hitting a traffic sign, something that would have probably been avoided with the use of specific safety systems. The taxi driver has been detained by police and the case is being investigated and has sparked widening discussions on the adoption of emergency brake systems and similar safety devices.

 

#2 - The World Cup has its own fleet: organising such a huge event requires fast transportation of media officers, players, officials throughout the whole tournament and vehicles need to be readily available to facilitate the logistics. This year, vehicle manufacturer Kia Motors has provided 424 vehicles to assist operations at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. Kia Motors has been FIFA’s Official Partner since 2007.

Why the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 has lots in common with fleet management_2
Photo Credit: http://www.thedrive.com/news/21262/kia-provides-424-vehicles-for-official-use-at-2018-fifa-world-cup-russia

 

#3 - FIFA is making growing use of GPS and tracking technologies. Yes, if you are a football supporter you will probably know this already—GPS technology has been fully recognized as a method of location tracking in football. Both on and off the pitch, this World Cup is seeing technology playing a bigger role than ever. Consider not only the goal-line technology, already in use for some time, but also the use of ‘wearables’ that generate player positional data and metrics for tactical analysis—just some of the latest technologies making news. GPS-based wearables are worn by players and record the data of hundreds of events per second—from player position, to distance covered, to speed and number of accelerations, heart rate, to kick accuracy and even the impact from tackles. By running this data on a special analysis platform, coaches can plan team strategies, substitutions, design physical workouts sessions and suchlike, according to the demands of each player’s position. Doesn’t this all sound familiar to you? In this video you will see how this is put into practice:

 


#4 - Metrics and technology are an invaluable help to managing teams.
Exactly like it happens for fleets, technology is making life much easier, helping to eliminate mistakes and improving performance. VAR (Video Assistance Referee), GLT (Goal Line Technology) and EPTS (Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems) are key innovations today just like vehicle tracking, dashboard cameras and fleet management solutions are for your daily activity. This is how the teams can take advantage of metrics to improve their collective performance:

 

If you wish to do the same for your fleet, don’t hesitate to let us know!

 

 

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

2018 CVO Fleet Barometer report: what is the current status of European fleets?

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

2018 CVO Fleet Barometer report: what is the current status of European fleets

The 2018 Fleet Barometer report is the result of an annual research conducted by the Corporate Vehicle Observatory, a neutral knowledge sharing platform dedicated to all corporate fleet stakeholders, both private and public companies. The results of this year’s edition were made public in mid-June and seem to provide a complete picture of how European fleets are confident about their future growth, still count on leasing as a reliable source of funding, and are increasingly reliant upon telematics and new technologies. For the 2018 research, more than 3000 fleet managers across a range of European countries were interviewed. Let’s review the survey outcome point by point!

 

#1 - Hybrid and electric vehicle growth. According to the CVO FB report, 30% of very large fleets have already switched to electric vehicles, and 27% to hybrids. Both large and very large fleets indicate they want to accelerate this trend in the years to come, with small and medium fleets planning to follow suit. Companies are increasingly concerned about their CO2 targets, and the trend towards alternative powertrains is seen as a future prospect or concern to be debated by 32% of the small fleets interviewed (48% for large fleets). The increasing stress is attributed to the pressures of Corporate Social Responsibility, and the stricter WLTP test is also seen as a contributing factor.

 

#2 - Interest in mobility technology and telematics. European fleets seem to be interested in mobility alternatives such as car sharing or ride sharing services, but fleet managers are increasingly interested in car-sharing and ride-sharing as mobility alternatives for their company. Mobility budgets and telematics are also becoming more popular, as almost a third of large and very large companies have telematics tools in place in at least part of their fleets, mainly for vehicle tracking, journey optimisation, lowering fuel costs and improving safety. Particularly important was the UK result with 50% of the interviewed companies there making use of telematics (some way above the European average). As for the individual reasons for telematics implementation: 60% of the interviewed confirmed they chose telematics to improve global driver safety, 55% to improve driver behaviour, 74% of companies use it to locate vehicles, 61% to optimize journeys and 59% to reduce the global fleet costs.

 

#3 - Whole business confidence has increased. Large fleets expressed the highest confidence in future fleet growth: 27% of them anticipate a growth in their size, but smaller ones also seem to be reasonably confident as 13% of them do expect fleet growth. Overall, small and medium-sized companies are most confident in the UK.

 

#4 - Full-service leasing as preferred financing option. Very large company fleets (51%) and large company fleets (38%) seem to prefer operational leasing as a financing option. This is hardly a new trend: leasing has been a preferred option for large to very large companies for a long time, and the figures mentioned above are fairly stable over time. But this seems to be something that SMEs—who traditionally have not used leasing as a financing method for their fleets—are tentatively moving towards. The share of small businesses choosing the lease option has increased from 9% to 17% in the last 3 years. For medium-sized companies, the increase is from 17% to 21%.

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, GPS & Tracking, fleet management technology

How an advanced GPS tracking system empowers your sales fleet

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 23, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How an advanced GPS tracking system empowers your sales fleet.jpeg

When people first approach us, they think that GPS tracking systems and fleet management technology is exclusive to companies fully dedicated to transport or the prerogative of those who operate specifically in the logistics sector, even though in a wide variety of businesses there are many workers who use vehicles as part of their jobs.

 

A good example are businesses that utilise company vehicles to develop sales activity. Every day sales fleets or, in smaller businesses, sales representatives, run vehicles in order to meet potential customers and offer them a product or service. They might also visit those who are already clients to explore new solutions or further develop business with them. In any case, whatever the exact nature of their business visit may be, sales fleets do all have a few points in common:

 

  • Sales teams that drive to customers are not professional drivers, driving is just an incidental part of their job

  • Despite the necessity for sales people to spend most of their active time selling, a lot of it is actually spent driving or sorting out admin work

  • Companies managing a mobile sales team sometimes struggle to organise their staff’s time to maximise efficiency 

  • Part of the sales person’s working time needs to be spent looking for new business opportunities—but how?

 

When it comes to tackling the four challenges just explained, advanced GPS tracking systems like SynX Move and fleet management systems like SynX Perform can really get the best out of a sales team fleet. With the help of technology and fleet management automation, companies can in fact:

 

  • Help their sales fleet adopt a safer and more fuel efficient driving style, educate them in road safety and keep vehicles compliant with the help of compliance and maintenance tools
  • Maximise the time spent in “real” sales activity by optimising schedules, choosing the best routes, providing assistance to drivers if they get lost or need to divert and predicting possible traffic issues

  • Optimise time spent behind the wheel and reduce the administrative work time (often dedicated to logbooks and taxable miles paperwork, that you can now automate), so the sales team can work more on closing deals.

  • Make use of detailed activity and journey reports to disclose what areas and companies your sales team is mostly concentrating on and learn what is still left unexplored.

 

Companies managing a sales fleet have already chosen SynX to steer their fleet to success. Have a look at our case study on the media company Radio Kerry: though it might seem unusual for a radio station to utilise a fleet management system, Radio Kerry actually had specific requirements for their sales fleet. Being a small team, the need for managing time and resources wisely is paramount—and here is how SynX helped.

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet management technology

How to manage your fleet: why manual methods are not a solution

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

How to manage your fleet_why manual methods are not a solution.jpeg

Despite living in an era of rapid technological advancement along with all the tools that make life so much easier for everyone (fleet directors included), companies still choose to manage their fleets based on manual entry methods such as spreadsheets; often worried at the cost of, or having to get to grips with, a modern system with which to perform the same tasks.

In reality, the time spent recording fleet data manually is actually wasted as it does not provide an accurate image of the situation of your vehicles. Even if some people do prefer to annotate spreadsheets, this method is much more prone to errors. So, what are the fundamental reasons as to why you shouldn’t opt for manual solutions or spreadsheets when managing your fleet, but instead, opt for technology and automation?

 Here we detail some of them:

 

1 - More paperwork and documents

 
If you only use papers and digital documents such as spreadsheets in order to record fleet activity rather than a technological solution, you will only increase the amount of paper going back and forth within your company and consequently the time to process it.


2 - No visibility on costs and company processes

 
Your spreadsheet, most probably, contains only a partial, somewhat subjective, record of the activity and costs of your fleet, as they have been filled out by an individual without the aid of technology or vehicle tracking. This is quite dangerous as it might lead you to make assumptions about the status of your fleet that later proves to be very misleading.

 
3 - Difficult sharing data

If you still use paperwork or manual spreadsheets, it might be difficult to share data across the team or to specify just who has access to which data. Apart from that, data can be entered by an individual in such a way that it is not necessarily easily understood by everyone—it may not be especially objective.

 

4 - Difficult to identify if improvements are needed

By manually collecting data, you are prone to making mistakes when copying numbers into a sheet or even, as previously mentioned, not entering up-to-date data (for example, you might have a fuel invoice stating the volume of fuel purchased dating from some time ago). In this way, it is difficult to see if you need to improve something in your fleet processes.

 

5 - Bad quality fleet data

Again, mistakes in the recording of data, failures in providing actual data, postponing the recording of data due to the tedious and drawn-out nature of the task, might be detrimental to the quality of fleet data or real-time fleet metrics.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet management technology, GPS & Tracking

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