The first section covers the company and starts to build a picture of your fleet, looking at the operational policies and processes you currently have in place. In order for a company to be meetings its legal obligations for risk management it should really be scoring around 85-90% in this section yet the average score is just 64% implying that many businesses are not managing their fleet risk as well as they need to.
Two of these important questions relate to recording fleet activity and monitoring driver performance. As this issue of Fleet News is focusing on ‘Fleet Software’ it would be prudent to ensure the capabilities and benefits of these systems are fully understood as they can contribute enormously to any improvements you might want or need to make. Fleet Managers need to have a robust way of identifying trends – especially ones that indicate rising costs or accident rates – and then tracking the effectiveness of any corrective action. If it isn’t measured, it can’t be improved.
A key element of this section relates to the company’s Driving for Work policy and what rules it sets out for drivers. This can be a common anxiety for directors and fleet managers who want to know if their policy is up to scratch and what a good policy looks like. The Driving for Better Business website contains example policies and driver handbooks from some of our Business Champions such as Arval, McLaren Automotive, Amey and Gateshead Council so that you can see how others deal with similar issues and use them to improve your own.
Fleet software is also vital to help reduce the time and resource needed to keep on top of the issues in the three remaining sections of our risk assessment.
In the section on managing Drivers, the focus is on ensuring you have all the information you need about the people you ask to drive on your behalf including their health and driving record, and the level of risk they are exposed to. Again, we see the average score of 60% lagging someway behind what should be a minimum acceptable level of around 75-80%.
Management of vehicles is another important subject as poor checking and maintenance regimes can significantly increase both the costs to the business and the risk that one of your vehicles could be at the centre of a serious crash. The average user score here is 66% and is much closer to the required level of around 70-75% but this leaves a lot of room for fleet managers to pursue good practice and see some significant benefits they wouldn’t otherwise achieve.
The last section – assessing the risk associated with journeys – highlights the lowest average user score at 58% however, as with vehicles, fleets should be aiming to hit 70-75% here so there are a lot of businesses not reaching the level of journey risk management they really should be achieving.
Overall this means fleets are, on average, achieving an overall score of 62% when they should really be hitting 75-80%. While this isn’t a complete disaster, it does illustrate that many fleets have some way to go to fully manage their risks. What is of concern however is that this is an average only – so some of those companies are likely to be falling worryingly short of where they need to be.
If you’d like to see where you currently sit with regards to general fleet risk management, then please take a look at our online gap analysis tool for fleet managers and those who employ drivers, which will give you a clear idea of the main risk issues fleet managers should be addressing.
Over the coming months, we’ll be looking at specific issues where benchmarking can prove really beneficial, such as policies on driver distraction, use of telematics, emission levels and vehicle safety in much greater detail, to see what good practice looks like and what benefits the best performing companies are achieving.
One of the most common areas where companies fall below required standards is the failure to keep adequate records of fleet activity and driver behaviour. This means the issue isn’t being managed properly, Directors aren’t aware of the true business costs, and what should be worrying trends don’t get identified and corrected.