No matter the size of your business you will need a fleet management strategy if you have any company vehicles or employees who drive, whether that’s as part of their job, driving to the office, or on business trips.
Fleet management is an essential part of any business and covers a number of different vehicle and driver management aspects, which we hope to give you a full overview of in this guide.
What Is Fleet Management?
Fleet management can be a time consuming and expensive aspect of your business if not managed correctly which is why we think it’s important that you have an effective fleet management strategy in place no matter the size of your business.
It is essentially the management of vehicles and drivers in your company.
Fleet management involves a number of things, including but not limited to:
- Sourcing vehicles
- Making sure vehicles are taxed
- Insuring all vehicles
- Arranging MOTs
- Ensuring the vehicle is regularly serviced and any maintenance work is completed promptly
- Arranging for any additional features or functions to be added / removed from the vehicle
- Assessing safety policies and updating where necessary
- Accident management for any drivers or vehicles involved in incidents
- Fuel management including expenses and fuel card management
- Arranging vehicle disposal / collection
- Planning and optimising routes your drivers may travel
- Checking your drivers have valid driving licences and can use the vehicles provided to them
- Managing any driver training and assessments needed
- Managing telematics
- Reporting on any areas of concern for vehicles and drivers
- Developing, updating, and ensuring compliance with fleet policies
- Answering any questions or queries drivers may have about their vehicle, entitlement to company benefits associated with the vehicle and much more
Why Is Fleet Management Important?
Fleet management is an essential part of running a business when you have any vehicles that are used by employees, including company cars. It encompasses a wide range of topics, that we've listed above, and there are many reasons that effective fleet management is so important.
Firstly good fleet management keeps your vehicles safe, legally compliant and road-worthy which in turn helps keep your drivers and other road users safer as well. You'll also ensure you fulfil your business' duty of care, regarding vehicles, and compliance with appropriate legislation with robust fleet management.
Effective fleet management will reduce vehicle downtime and the amount you spend on maintenance costs. This can also reduce spending on additional or temporary vehicles and driver frustration at damaged or faulty vehicles and equipment.
The success or failure of a fleet management can be determined by the quality of the fleet policies they have in place and how well drivers and managers adhere to these.
This is a key aspect of fleet management, and we recommend that all policies are reviewed at least annually and more regularly if you have a particularly fluid fleet to ensure that the policies are up to date, in line with regulatory changes, and fit with the current fleet you’re operating.
The best fleet policies will ensure there are processes in place to keep drivers and vehicles safe, regular checks and work is completed to schedule, there is accountability at every level of the process and each party is aware of their responsibilities and that there are adequate risk management and mitigation strategies in place in case of any incidents.
Fleet policies will differ between businesses and in a larger business there may be slightly different procurement and management policies between departments depending on their needs.
Wessex Fleet are currently offering a free fleet audit, which involves us reviewing your fleet’s existing policies and making recommendations for strengthening weaker areas and aligning your fleet policies with your future expectations and plans.
Just get in touch with us now on 01722 322 888 to start your free fleet audit process now!
Depending on your individual business’ strategy then these may remain as two distinct areas to manage with only a little necessary overlap between the two, a completely blended strategy or somewhere between the two.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll separate the requirements into drivers and vehicles though you will see some overlap between them.
It’s not just the vehicles but their drivers that will need looking after, under the bracket of fleet management.
This involves several different areas including:
- Helping arrange their company vehicle
- Checking driving licences
- Scheduling and monitoring driver training and assessments
- Answering any questions drivers may have
- Ensuring drivers complete maintenance checks and any other necessary actions as needed
- Liaising with them for maintenance work
One key aspect of managing a business’ fleet is procurement. This will be some vehicles that are used as pool cars or vans that never leave the business premises, for example site maintenance vans on a campus, but the majority of fleets are comprised of company cars that are assigned to individual drivers.
On the driver side of this will involve advising drivers on the options available for them and what would be the best method for them to choose if there are multiple options, such as a company provided vehicle or car allowance, available.
Fleet managers may also be required to advise on specific restrictions or requirements within this, for example if you are funding a particular vehicle through leasing then you might want to put a mileage limit on them to help reduce the overall lease cost.
When drivers are looking at the options available they will likely have questions about particular features, the company car tax rates, and driving restrictions which will be dealt with under the fleet management umbrella as well.
It is the businesses responsibility to ensure that their drivers are legally qualified and entitled to drive any company vehicle that they are offered the use of. In order to do this, you will need to check each and every driver’s individual driving licence.
Checking driving licences can be a time-consuming process depending on the method you choose to use. We’ve got a full breakdown of the two main methods and everything else you need to know about driving licence checks here.
An added bonus to driver licence checks is that you can also see any current endorsements on the drivers’ licences which can help you spot any areas of concern so you can tailor training or additional support for individual drivers.
Another aspect of managing drivers is ensuring that not only are they qualified to drive the vehicle but that they are confident in doing so.
Assessments and training enable you to support your drivers so that they feel comfortable driving the vehicle provided to them by the business or required for their role. It also helps you to fulfil your duty of care responsibilities as you are ensuring they are competent in the vehicle they are driving.
For more information on training for company drivers why not take a look at this guide.
Drivers will have questions, about their benefits packages, their vehicles, their responsibilities and much more!
Your fleet managers will be responsible for handling these questions and answering them. If they do not know the answer themselves, they will need to find this out from the relevant department and respond to the drivers.
This can be a rather time-consuming aspect of fleet management as individual drivers will all have different questions, there will be particularly busy times of the year with multiple maintenance, servicing or MOTs being processed and so a higher volume of driver queries, and the need for all fleets to electrify over the coming years.
In order to ensure that vehicles provided by your company are in the best possible condition we recommend that you regularly ask drivers to complete checks of the vehicle to ensure no maintenance work is needed. This not only encourages a sense of personal responsibility for the vehicle in drivers but also helps save you from further damage to the vehicle and the costs associated with this. You can find out more about what we recommend these checks include here.
It will usually be the fleet manager’s responsibility to ensure that drivers know what is expected from them, that they do the necessary processes and report any issues they notice. It will also be their responsibility to chase up any drivers who fail to complete these checks.
Arranging maintenance work is one area where driver and vehicle management overlap.
As well as the previously mentioned checks you might ask the driver to complete you will need to arrange with the driver a convenient time and location for any work to take place. This can involve arranging mobile units, utilising garages with collection and return options so your driver is not stranded at a garage without transport, or those who offer replacement vehicles whilst the work is completed.
From the driver side of arranging any work on the vehicle involves ensuring it does not inconvenience the driver too much.
With the vehicle there are a few different areas that will require administration work, which are:
- Procuring new vehicles
- Maintenance work
- Servicing vehicles
- Scheduling MOTs
- Taxing vehicles
- Insuring vehicles
- End of life arrangements
Vehicle procurement not only involves managing the driver’s expectations and requirements but also the vehicles.
Fleet management will be responsible for deciding the best funding methods for the business, which may be as a wider policy or on a car by car basis.
Your fleet manager will also need to look at the lead times of vehicles if they are not in stock and compare how long the expected production and shipping time will be for the vehicle compared with the date it is required by. There may then be additional work with extending current leases or arranging temporary cars for drivers if the lead time is too long or the vehicle is delayed.
We mentioned above that when arranging maintenance for any vehicle also involves managing the driver so that you can arrange it at a convenient time and location for them but you will also need to factor the vehicle into these arrangements. You will need to ensure any needed work is completed promptly to avoid any further damage or safety risk for your drivers.
All vehicles will need regular servicing in line with that model’s manufacturer guidelines.
Managing when services are due can be time consuming and a complicated process as each vehicle will have different servicing guidelines, drivers will have different mileages so reach the mileage servicing marker at different points.
As part of your duty of care for your employees you should ensure that the vehicles they are operating are in the safest possible condition, and following their servicing schedule is a part of this.
If you have any vehicles that are three years or older then they will require annual MOTs.
The due date of the MOT is based on the first registration date of the vehicle so you will find your fleet vehicles will have MOTs due throughout the year. Your fleet manager will need to be aware of these due dates and schedule the MOT and any follow up work before this date for each vehicle.
If your company owns vehicles, then it will be responsible for taxing them each year. Again the date that each vehicle’s tax is due will differ based on when they are first taxed.
You will usually be sent reminders when the tax is due on a vehicle but we do not recommend relying on this in order to remember when tax is due as there might be postal delays. We advise keeping a record of these due dates with reminders in the fleet management calendar of when the tax is due so it can be paid and you are not liable for any untaxed vehicles on the road.
If you are leasing vehicles then this will be paid for by the lease company. However, that will only be at the rate that the vehicle was initially taxed at, which means if there is an increase in the vehicle’s tax then this may be charged to your business.
All vehicles will need to be insured.
There are various levels of insurance and different types available for businesses that are tailored for their particular industry. We’ve got a guide to the different types here but what’s important to note is that your fleet manager will need to make sure that all vehicles have the appropriate insurance and that this is renewed as it approaches its expiry.
Most businesses find it easiest to have a fleet policy that covers multiple vehicles to avoid having numerous renewal dates to keep track of.
When the vehicle reaches the end of its life then what happens next to it will need to be arranged, depending on the funding method that was used for a particular vehicle then the options will differ.
If it is a lease vehicle then they will need to liaise with the driver and funder to return the vehicle before the agreement end date to avoid additional charges at a convenient time and place for the driver.
If it is an owned vehicle then it would be a case of selling the vehicle onto another party at an appropriate price.
Another area that will come under fleet management is looking after the telematics put into fleet vehicles and compiling the required reports from them.
You can use telematics to pull reports on:
- Vehicle locations
- Trip data including routes, speeds and stops
- Driver habits like harsh braking and acceleration or speeding
- Fuel consumption habits
And much more! These reports can help you detect areas of concern on a particular vehicle or driver as well as showcasing well-performing, efficient vehicles, from which you can adapt policies, training strategies and procurement processes for an even better performing fleet.
Though telematics might seem like a small part of fleet management it can have a large impact on how your fleet is managed and its overall efficiency which is why it’s important to look after it.
Duty of Care
As a business, your company has a duty of care for all of its employees, and this extends to when they are using any vehicle you provide to them even if they are using it for personal journeys.
You need to ensure that your drivers have safe and operational vehicles that they are qualified and competent to drive, so that they are as safe as possible and to fulfil your requirements as a business.
One part of ensuring your drivers are safe whilst in company vehicles is to manage any potential risks, put strategies in place to mitigate the likelihood of risk and plan for in the event any danger does occur.
Risk management is a key aspect of running a safe and efficient fleet, and improper management can have serious consequences.
We have a more comprehensive guide to risk management here that you can review.
It will also fall to the fleet manager to ensure that accurate records are kept. We touched upon this briefly when talking about driver checks and maintenance work but there is much more that will need to be looked after to make sure that everything is kept a track of.
Is Fleet Management Right for Your Business?
If you have any type of company vehicle, even if it is just one forklift and a delivery van, then you will need some form of fleet management to look after the vehicles and keep your employees safe when using or around them.
Depending on the size of your fleet then you may be able to effectively manage your fleet internally, but as your business grows a third-party fleet manager, like Wessex Fleet, can be a useful and cost-saving element to introduce to your fleet strategy.
How Do You Manage a Fleet Effectively?
There is no set answer to this question as it depends entirely on your fleet's needs as to what strategies will be the most effective for managing your fleet. We recommend that you review your fleet management strategy annually to make sure it's still in alignment with your business' direction and needs, as well as to rectify any issues that may have arisen over the previous 12 months.
Who Can Run Our Fleet Management?
Fleet management can be done by an internal member of staff, or team depending on the size of your business and fleet, or by an external company.
Many businesses opt to outsource their fleet management to a third party because it helps save them time, money and the stress of having to manage multiple vehicle schedules and drivers.
Why Choose Wessex Fleet for Your Fleet Management
With over 15 years in the industry, Wessex Fleet knows what it means for companies to have an efficient and effective fleet management solution in place.
We tailor our fleet management strategies to provide your business with an individual fleet policy that meets all the needs of your company and provides your drivers with the best experience possible, whilst not providing and charging for unnecessary services.
We can help with:
And much more to help you save time and money with a safer and more efficient fleet.