So I sit here on a damp and miserable Monday evening in February, pondering what the next step is for us as a company. It is clear to see that although there are some positive signs to 2019, the outlook for the automotive industry is certainly, not certain. It has been well publicised that diesel is now the demon, electric vehicles are where we are headed and whatever you do as a driver, you will inevitably be punished in some way for driving a vehicle that has more than two wheels.
We as a company endeavour to stay on top of the industry news, keep up with ever changing government legislation and be forward thinking when it comes to advising our client base on the next step for their Fleet. However, due to the motor industry appearing every other day on the news, whether it is Jaguar Land Rover announcing job cuts or Nissan pulling production of its new X-Trail from Sunderland, it is a hard time to offer our clients hard answers with confidence.
What we do know is that a number of our customer base are moving to Fleet Management and this is where we can excel in a number of areas. The number one priority for any fleet, whether you are running one or one hundred company vehicles, have five or fifty 'Grey Fleet' users must be your drivers safety when operating a vehicle for business use. Since the Corporate Manslaughter Act was strengthened in 2008 to target company directors as well as their drivers in cases of road deaths involving vehicles used for business, it has put an added emphasis on businesses to ensure all aspects of safety are covered for drivers. A few questions to consider whether you might need Fleet Management to help with the safety aspect alone would be:-
Who is checking vehicles are insured for business use?
Who is checking the vehicle is road worthy with up to date MOT and servicing?
Who is checking drivers licenses? How often are they being checked?
As a minimum, we would hope someone is doing these checks! If not, that is where we step in and take care of this for you. As well as ensuring the car is legal to use on the road, we also take steps to ensure the car is safe to use i.e. Are the drivers checking tyres, lights and levels regularly? We monitor the driver check lists and make any necessary recommendations based on the usage and history of the vehicle. As well as issuing checklists, we are able to send subtle reminders via SMS or email to make sure drivers are prepared for seasonal driving conditions etc..
To sum up what Fleet Management can do for your business, without taking too much more of your time, a simple trip onto a well known search engine, I found the following:-
“Fleet (vehicle) management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, speed management, fuel management and health and safety management. Fleet Management is a function which allows companies which rely on transportation in business to remove or minimise the risks associated with vehicle investment, improving efficiency, productivity and reducing their overall transportation and staff costs, providing 100% compliance with government legislation (duty of care) and many more. These functions can be dealt with by either an in-house fleet-management department or an outsourced fleet-management provider.”
In a nutshell that is what we do and we pride ourselves on offering a bespoke service to our customers that effectively enables us to become an extension of their company by providing the best service for its drivers.
I finish this article (my first attempt!!) on a damp and miserable Tuesday mid-morning, so I hope you have made it to the end and I hope that soon I will hear from some of you to quiz me on how we can help your business run its Fleet in the most cost effective and safest environment for its drivers.
Mark Baumfiled - Sales Director, Southern Motor Contracts Ltd