The Logistics of Running Your Fleet (Part Two)
Vehicle Leasing and Outsourcing
Not all fleets are entirely owned by their operating companies; you may choose to lease or outsource vehicles, either in part or even to comprise the entirety of your fleet. This can allow for much-needed flexibility for fleets where needs can vary greatly from one day to the next.
If you choose to lease or outsource vehicles, you need to be very clear on the contract terms; whether you or the owning company are responsible for repair, insurance and maintenance, for example. You must also be aware of the risks involved; whilst leasing vehicles frees you from the necessity of making high-value purchases to set up the fleet, it also means that you surrender certain aspects of control. Should the service provider discontinue their services for any reason, your business will be subject to considerable disruption.
Whether your fleet comprises cars, vans or trucks, none can be expected to last forever. It’s important to monitor the condition of every vehicle in your fleet, not only to ensure that maintenance is carried out whenever needed but also to ensure that you don’t carry on trying to run a vehicle past the end of its efficiency. Once maintenance costs and fuel consumption rise, the vehicle becomes economically unsustainable; it’s time to let it go. You should have a clear policy in place regarding when fleet vehicles should be disposed of (i.e. at a stipulated mileage or length of service, when costs become prohibitive, or when the vehicle is no longer needed) and how disposal should be undertaken.
Understanding the performance of both your drivers and the vehicles themselves is essential in keeping your fleet running efficiently. Fuel monitoring systems can help you to keep an eye on vehicle usage, distances and destinations travelled, fuel consumption and other factors, meaning that you can ensure efficiency, run checks against unauthorised usage, and keep abreast of the condition of your vehicles.
Security & Legislature
Briefly mentioned in part one, security is a vital aspect of fleet management. Vehicles must, of course, always be stored securely to prevent theft; certain cargoes may require special arrangements for this. However, it’s not only the vehicles themselves that must be secure – if you operate your own fuel pumps, you will also need to ensure that they are secure, to ensure that your fuel is not taken by unauthorised users.
It’s also essential that you ensure that your fleet complies with all relevant legislation; if you operate internationally, you must be aware of the relevant legislation in all the countries that your drivers will enter. For example, you must ensure that vehicles are equipped with tachographs and the correct logbooks where applicable, and that drivers have the correct licensing and authorisation documents.
Health and Safety
Finally, and perhaps most vitally, the Fleet Manager has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the entire fleet. It’s estimated that the total number of road casualties in the UK averages around 720,000 per year, and you don’t want your staff to be part of those statistics. Training on the safe operation of vehicles, and on accident and incident procedures, is vital.
Fuel storage areas and vehicle workshops have their own particular risks and hazards, and you must ensure that these risks are reduced as far as practicable, that you have thorough and well-documented safety policies and procedures, and that all staff are familiar with them.
At Fueltek, we offer robust, secure solutions, from fuel storage tanks to monitoring systems, to make the life of a fleet manager easier. For more information on our products and services, get in touch with us today on 01254 291391 to speak to a member of our team.