Miele GB distributes and sells its German parent company’s extensive range of domestic and commercial appliances, such as dishwashers, ovens, coffee machines and vacuum cleaners. It also has a professional division which services public buildings such as care homes, hotels and hospitals. Miele GB has circa 420 staff, including a car fleet which is used by sales teams, and a van fleet used by those who service and repair its products.
Mandy Vanstone is the fleet and purchasing manager for Miele GB. In June 2018 she was asked to manage its car drivers and eventually its entire fleet. Mandy tells us how she has approached safety, as someone completely new to fleet, with such resounding success.
“At Miele the safety and welfare of our drivers is paramount and our partnership with National Highways and their Driving for Better Business team has enabled us to gain access to many useful resources. We know our drivers will find the resources helpful, and they will either act as a refresher or include new information on specific topics. The partnership is a great step forward and forms part of our commitment to driver safety each day our drivers are out on the roads.”
John Pickering MD, Miele GB
- Consistent reduction in insurance premiums year on year since 2019
- 23% reduction in claims in 2022 compared to 2019
- Speeding review time reduced from 1.5 hours to 10 mins (2018 vs 2022)
- Won AFP Fleet Bursary based on improvements
Miele’s car drivers tend to plan their own schedules, while the van fleet is scheduled by Head Office. Mandy says the drivers themselves were keen to engage with the idea of fleet safety, but organisationally she realised Miele was lacking key governance components.
When the previous fleet manager left some years previously, fleet governance was decentralised and split between the two separate departments.
In 2018 42% of licence checks were incomplete; this was of paramount importance and Mandy worked to achieve 100% licence compliance which Miele now maintains.
The company also lacked a driver handbook and there were no fleet inductions for new employees.
Mandy created a series of communications which emphasised driving as a critical part of other roles, and worked with HR to make fleet induction a standard part of a new recruit’s training.
In Jan 2020, she also took fleet ownership of the 150 van drivers, whose driving risk was more complex, given their high mileage.
Mandy says: “Whenever a driver is on the road in a branded vehicle, they are an ambassador for the brand, and their behaviour reflects upon the company as a whole. It was therefore imperative that they keep themselves and other road users safe.”
The driver handbook is condensed to 15 pages, but is nonetheless very thorough, and very clear about what is and isn’t acceptable for drivers. It can be used by the HR department, as disciplinary evidence, as drivers are expected to read it, and sign to say they have understood the expectations and policies it contains.
Mandy reinforces this with regular bulletins emphasising topics such as the unacceptability of mobile phone use while driving, speed limits and other safety essentials.
The handbook also covers driving posture, driver well-being and what to do in the event of a collision.
Although the company already had Webfleet telematics installed in 2018, no one within the fleet department was responsible for analysing the data. Mandy focused first on speeding data, sharing inappropriate speeding incidents with the drivers concerned. She emphasised that it was an endorsable offence and put other road users at risk. With the support of line managers, the messages were accepted, and a speeding data report which used to take an hour and a half to peruse now takes ten minutes.
She says drivers started to realise that:
- Driving was a professional component of their job
- A loss of their driving licence could equal the loss of their job in some circumstances
- A potential collision is only ever one distracted moment away
Miele’s insurer offers a driver behaviour portal which is useful for monitoring overall driver performance; however, driver behaviour is averaged over the week and so the telematics data is needed to show exceptional events such as excessive speed.
Mandy encourages line managers to notice when a driver’s overall scores are dipping, because it can be an indicator of a deeper problem. She says it is an ‘arm around the shoulder’ approach.
Driving for Better Business
Mandy met a DfBB representative at a conference and realised the wealth of resources DfBB offered which could help her. Most recently she noted some drivers inadvertently driving too fast in freshly posted 20mph zones in cities, and says it helped to land the message to drivers when she could append a pdf from DfBB to the news alert.
Fleet News Awards 2023
Miele won a coveted Fleet News Award for Most Improved Fleet, and was a finalist in the award for Fleet of the Year up to 250 vehicles.
“I haven’t achieved this by myself. It’s come from driver and manager engagement, including support from our Heads of Service in our Domestic and Professional divisions and from my line managers’ support. We’ve done this collectively because everybody’s taken road safety really seriously.”
Mandy Vanstone, fleet and purchasing manager, Miele GB
Given that Mandy was completely new to fleet, she immersed herself in learning the company’s statutory obligations and best practice. She used conferences, online resources and webinars to increase her knowledge and then turned it into action, putting measures in place and cascading what she has learned through the organisation.
She has built up a network of fleet professionals in other organisations who have supported and inspired her.
In the 2018 insurance period, Miele was paying premiums in excess of £900 per vehicle because its claims history was high. It has enjoyed reductions year on year since then, and at the next renewal expects the premium to drop to approximately £582 per vehicle.
Mandy engaged the support of line managers throughout the business. She created a Fleet Teams channel to educate them about fleet issues, and shares all the resources she accrues there, so that managers can disseminate appropriate information whenever it’s required.
She says the key is consistent and frequent messages, because many drivers will not read large amounts of material at once.
Car driver training
Van drivers receive in-vehicle training from AA DriveTech, and Mandy has also extended in-person training to all car drivers. She says occasional resistance to delaying a driver’s vehicle allocation until they have had adequate training was quickly overcome by managers’ acceptance of the safety issue.
“Our role is to be supportive, not obstructive,” she says.
Procurement as safety
Mandy’s background is in procurement, so she has thoroughly researched her fleet role from scratch, unburdened by preconceived ideas. She says that procurement choices can also help the safety culture: Miele owns its vehicles outright which means there is a vested interest in maintaining their value. It also specifies all its racking and storage custom-made so that every tool has a distinct place within the loadbed.
Currently some drivers do walk round vehicle checks, and other rely on monthly vehicle checks by regional service managers. The company is currently investigating a vehicle check app, which it hopes to integrate with its tracking app.
Mandy is currently compiling a business case for dash cams.
Vans are speed limited to 70mph.
Any urgent jobs which involve pool cars must also follow strict loading protocols. Pool cars can only be used for business, and every driver of a pool car is licence-checked and expected to read and understand the handbook and all relevant policies.
Every van driver is given a direct line to Miele Fleet, which they can use if asked to complete any task they feel is unsafe, whether by a customer or a manager.