Fleet Service GB achieves 325-vehicle LIVEWEST outsourcing contract win

Pro-active fleet and driver management embracing industry-leading online technology analysing data that measures the performance of both in real-time has enabled Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) to win a sole supply outsourcing contract with LiveWest, the largest provider of affordable homes in the south west of England.

The fast-growing housing association, based in Exeter, has around 36,000 homes and operates a fleet of 325 outright purchase diesel vans on a five-year/100,000-mile replacement cycle. Vauxhall dominated, the workhorse of the fleet is the Vivaro with the Combo also present alongside around 40 Ford Transit models.

The fleet, which is set to expand as LiveWest aims to develop more than 16,000 new homes over the next 10 years, includes 50 car-derived vans driven by supervisors, surveyors and housing officers with the remainder driven by a wide range of skilled tradesmen including carpenters, electricians, plumbers and plasterers.

The fleet management contract that embraces Fleet Service GB’s Achieve-branded programme of services including Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as its garage network, Achieve Fleet Service Partnership, was awarded following a nine-month pilot scheme involving 40 vans located at LiveWest’s Taunton depot.

Paul Ayris, LiveWest’s fleet manager, said: “During the pilot we were very impressed with Fleet Service GB’s performance and the company’s ‘can do’ attitude. The company and its staff were a breath of fresh air.”

LiveWest went out to tender with Fleet Service GB winning a two-year contract plus a one-year option against three more shortlisted suppliers.

Intelligent integrated solutions using a combination of online dashboards and a driver app delivering real-time critical headline data on vehicles and drivers to the fingertips of fleet managers providing the ability to drill down into the minutiae of operations is at the heart of Fleet Service GB’s service solution.

Within an unprecedented four weeks of the contract going live, all drivers – the housing association operates on a ‘one van, one employee’ basis – had enrolled on the Achieve Driver Management programme that pro-actively measures a driver’s performance and awards points against a wide range of parameters including points on driving licences and number and type of crashes.

The driver app was pre-loaded on to each drivers’ tablet to make enrolment straightforward. It embraces a wide range of features including notifications, prompts, reminders and alerts; the ability to arrange bookings for servicing, maintenance and repairs, including tyres; a facility to report an incident or breakdown; a facility to upload images, capturing incident and/or vehicle condition; and the ability to update vehicle mileage in real-time. Additionally, LiveWest’s bespoke check sheet for vehicle condition reporting was uploaded.

Mr Ayris said: “During the pilot employees were very receptive to the driver app and everything that we were doing around fleet and accident management. Having awarded the contract the first thing I wanted to do was to roll out the Achieve Driver Management programme across all drivers.

“LiveWest holds monthly ‘toolbox talks’ for all teams and I attended each one to tell drivers about Fleet Service GB and the initiatives the business was taking with regards to compliance and their safety.

“The transparency of the Achieve Driver Management programme means that points gained by a driver for a misdemeanour can be removed by completing e-learner programmes. Drivers are rewarded for good performance under the initiative, which is very well accepted by drivers.”

He added: “Some of our employees spend up to 25% of their working day driving because of the size of the area that LiveWest covers, but they are not professional drivers. However, they now recognise that driving is a major and potentially risky part of their job and accept that it is important for the business to implement processes to manage that risk.”

All LiveWest vans are equipped with telematics and the next stage of the programme will see data collected via the in-vehicle devices fed into the Achieve Driver Management programme to further improve vehicle and driver performance management.

Mr Ayris said: “The business partnership between LiveWest and Fleet Service GB has started very well and builds on a successful pilot. The new initiatives that have been introduced have been well received across the business – by management and drivers.”

Marcus Bray, Fleet Service GB’s head of sales, said: “We work closely with individual clients to understand their requirement and to tailor the service ultimately delivered. Technology is important, but so is personal service to deliver a first class experience and ensuring customer parameter compliance.

“We tracked LiveWest for a long-time prior to contract win. With our industry-leading online dashboards delivering real-time critical headline data on vehicles and drivers in addition to the driver app we believed that the performance management tools could be a deal-winning game-changer and so it has proved. Fleet Service GB is using technology allied to personal service to take fleet and driver management expertise to a new level to the benefit of customers.”

FSGB delivers fleet maintenance cost budget stability for NMR

National Milk Records (NMR) has benefited from a near 10% cut in fleet maintenance costs in the past three-and-a-half-years after outsourcing management responsibility.

Chippenham-headquartered NMR became one of the first customers of Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) and consistent and robust management of maintenance costs across the fleet have ensured operating budgets have been kept in check.

Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) cost analysis of the NMR fleet in the 43 months to the end of January 2019 under Fleet Service GB’s management reveal that the annual cost of keeping vehicles on the road reduced by £4,544 (9.4%) to £43,480.50.

Over the period under review SMR costs, despite the impact of inflation, have remained remarkably static with a £5.93 pound per saving per vehicle (1%) with the cost per annum per vehicle reducing from £585.67 to £579.74. Over the period key pence per mile costs have reduced from 2.86p to 2.76p (3.5%), reflecting a “well established travel working pattern”.

The average age of vehicles was maintained at 31 months in the months bookending the review period – although it peaked at an average 40 months in December 2016. Additionally, the average age of vehicles in miles was little changed – 53,015 miles in July 2015 and 52,569 miles in January 2019 – although it did peak at more than 65,500 miles in January 2017.

NMR is the leading supplier of dairy and livestock services to the UK dairy supply chain and Tracey Firth, senior administrator (pictured) who is in charge of the fleet, which currently numbers 75 company cars and vans and has reduced from 82 units in 2015 when Fleet Service GB took on management responsibility, said: “It is very gratifying to know that fleet operating costs are so stable.

“As a business we have been hugely focused over many years on ensuring the safety of our drivers and limiting their exposure to risk when on the road. That focus has translated into SMR cost savings and the excellent pence per mile figures that NMR is consistently achieving.”

NMR leases its vehicles – the majority being diesel with a handful of petrol models – on individual replacement cycles up to a maximum of five years/120,000 miles.

The fleet comprises: 38 company cars of which 13 are user-chooser management cars with the remainder mostly Skoda Octavia Estates driven by field-based area account managers; and 37 Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo vans driven by field-based area co-ordinators making farm visits.

Senior management at Fleet Service GB, headquartered at nearby Corsham, were known to Mrs Firth, who said: “We knew that Fleet Service GB was firmly focused on risk and driver management, and NMR shared the view that managing work-related road safety was critical not only to compliance, but also keeping fleet operating costs in check. As a result of the launch of Fleet Service GB we decided to partner with the company.”

Under the fast-growing technology-led co-ownership company’s umbrella brand, Achieve, it operates an array of solutions: Maintenance Management, Crash Management, Driver Management, Management Services, Fleet Manager and Fleet Service Partnership.

Utilising the strapline “inspire fleets to Achieve better”, Fleet Service GB delivers all critical management information across all key operations via intelligent integrated online dashboards that deliver real-time headline data on vehicles and drivers to the fingertips of fleet managers and the ability to drill down into the minutiae of operations. The easy to understand numerical and graphic formats, simultaneously highlight action areas.

Additionally, Fleet Service GB provides customers with access to a driver app that offers a wealth of sophisticated cutting-edge features delivering 24/7 support to employees at the wheel of company vehicles.

Mrs Firth, who has been responsible for the NMR fleet for more than 15 years, said: “We understand the importance of data and expect Fleet Service GB as our fleet management partner to continue to enhance existing solutions and be fully focused on supporting our vehicle operation and our drivers.”

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “The data reflects a well-managed fleet working within an environment where miles travelled by each vehicle to carry out work requirements is constant.

“Costs are influenced by a number of areas, not least drivers. But the results clearly indicate that NMR management has excellent control over all areas of cost, all of which is reflected in the achieved result.”

He added: “Fleet Service GB’s pro-active focus under its Achieve Maintenance Management programme underline that significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be a major area of fleet expenditure, can be delivered.

“Both Fleet Service GB and NMR understand the objective and importantly work together delivering results by adopting an open and transparent partnership approach.”

‘Many companies view road risk as managing compliance and not managing the risk itself’, health and safety lawyer tells fleet chiefs

Many companies are compliant with work-related road safety legislation, but those same employers fail to effectively manage vehicles, drivers and journeys on a day-to-day basis thus risking potential criminal prosecutions and/or civil actions in the event of a crash.

That was the message from health and safety lawyer Michael Appleby, of London-based law firm Fisher Scoggins Waters, to fleet decision-makers at the inaugural meeting of Fleet Service Great Britain’s Achieve Driver Management User Group (pictured).

Achieve is the company’s umbrella brand with a range of components – Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as Achieve Fleet Service Partnership.

Fleet decision-makers are able to ‘pick ‘n’ mix the tools in the Achieve box to provide their businesses with a single silo of live and dynamic online data to further improve vehicle, driver and journey management.

The Driver Management User Group is focused on providing support advice and mentoring on all aspects of managing drivers, vehicles and journeys, by sharing knowledge and best practice to influence behind-the-wheel behaviour and performance thus ensuring a safe working environment. Furthermore, fleet decision-makers in the User Group will provide input into the future development of new Achieve Driver Management features.

Mr Appleby, highlighted that many organisations went through the compliance ‘tick box procedure’ of, for example, checking the validity of employees’ driving licences and perhaps encouraging defect checks to be undertaken, but failed to translate the information gathered into practical management.

“There is a correlation between ‘bent metal’ crashes and proper management,” he said, with data collected via the Achieve Driver Management programme able to provide fleet decision-makers with detailed insight into the driving performance and behaviour of individual employees so remedial action can be taken. “Companies may have really good health and safety management across their core business, but when it comes to vehicles and drivers it can be much weaker.

“Too many companies view road risk as managing compliance and not managing the risk itself. Employers should have the basic elements of managing safety in place, but frequently there is very little actual day-to-day management. When ‘things go wrong’ businesses could be massively exposed because they do not have the answers to questions posed by investigators.”

Business journey crashes – either in a company-provided vehicle or an employee’s own vehicle – could be investigated by the police or Health and Safety Executive while coroners, in the event of a fatality, may also be influential.

Mr Appleby highlighted how coroners now had a statutory duty to consider writing a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to any organisation or person where they believed action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

“Coroners have a wide discretion as to the scope of an inquest. I can foresee the situation where there is a fatality in a work-related road crash and a coroner wants to enquire how a business is managing its vehicles and how data is being used to manage the fleet and drivers,” he said.

Mr Appleby also warned that employers could find themselves “caught up” in a work-related road safety investigation as a consequence of an associated incident.

He explained: “Investigators will want to know how a business manages safety and may find weaknesses in respect of managing vehicles, drivers and journeys that were a contributory factor to any incident. When I interview company directors and other employees the speed at which requested documents are produced is a good indication as to how well safety is managed in the business.”

Highlighting that “a well-managed company manages safety well”, Mr Appleby told the User Group that while both criminal prosecution and/or civil action could result from a work-related car or commercial vehicle crash, the rise of social media meant the “court of public opinion” was also becoming increasingly influential.

Many companies have corporate social responsibility statements on their websites and in their annual reports but, said Mr Appleby: “People can become particularly vocal, particularly through social media, if there is an incident and a business is thought to be uncaring towards its workforce. I can see problems in that scenario.”

He suggested that the resulting “wrong type of publicity” could cause “tremendous damage” to a business, its reputation, profitability and share price.

FSGB delivers fleet maintenance cost savings of almost £280,000 for Stannah

Robust management of fleet maintenance costs across the car and van fleet operated by Stannah has delivered a saving of almost £280,000 despite a 19% increase in the number of vehicles operated.

Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, outsources the maintenance management of its now 423-strong van fleet and 285-strong company car fleet to Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB).

Key performance measures indicate that maintenance costs on the Stannah van fleet have reduced a staggering 31% between December 2010 and January 2019 delivering a cost reduction of £104,307 with the critical pence per mile figure reducing 41% from 4.51p to 2.68p in a period when overall fleet mileage increased by almost 1.3 million miles.

In the wake of the remarkable van fleet maintenance cost savings, Stannah turned to Fleet Service GB to take over similar responsibility for its company car fleet. Over an almost identical period of time, the headline pence per mile figure has reduced by 1.65p (37%) to 2.84p delivering a maintenance cost reduction of £174,321 (51%). Pence per mile is widely recognised as the most accurate measure of a vehicle’s maintenance expenditure.

Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs in December 2010 across Stannah’s then 310-strong van fleet totalled £341,620. In January 2019, despite the increase in fleet size and mileage, the total cost reduced to £237,303.

Analysis of Stannah’s company car fleet reveals SMR costs in October 2011 across its then 264 vehicles of £341,616. In January 2019, despite the fleet increasing to 285 cars and taking into account a mileage reduction of 338,088 miles, total maintenance costs reduced to £167,295 a staggering 51% saving.

Across both the company car and van fleets, Stannah has benefited from total maintenance cost savings of £278,628.

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “Fleet Service GB’s pro-active focus under its Achieve Maintenance Management programme underline that significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be a major area of fleet expenditure, can be delivered.

Underpinning Fleet Service GB’s Achieve Maintenance Management solution is a focus on maximising vehicle uptime by constantly challenging lead times and repair processes. Other feature of the programme include: SMR work undertaken through a national network of independent garages; a National Price Promise that offers fixed prices for the same job on the same vehicle throughout the UK for around 75% of all predicted service and maintenance requirements; and instant online access to all reporting and fleet performance evaluation through an industry-leading portal.

Critically, the effective management of SMR and thus the achievement of fleet maintenance cost savings can only be achieved by stamping out driver abuse of vehicles, according to Fleet Service GB, and Stannah uses a suite of fleet management tools to ensure vehicles are in tip-top condition.

Each vehicle is allocated to an individual driver with Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director, who is responsible for the fleet, explaining: “That means every vehicle is completely traceable and it makes a major difference compared with an employee who travels to work each day and collects a van from a depot before returning it at the end of their shift. At Stannah each driver effectively ‘owns’ their van, exactly the same as it is with company cars.”

Efficient fleet and driver management at Stannah starts with buying the ‘right van and car’ for the job required. Each vehicle is then equipped with telematics that records and delivers to Mr Carter a raft of data notably relating to driver behaviour and how a vehicle is driven. Additionally, any incident is reviewed in detail with, potentially, driver training the result.

Furthermore, with drivers logged on to the Fleet Service GB app that offers a wealth of sophisticated cutting-edge features delivering 24/7 support to employees it brings a significant element of self-management to both the company car and van fleet.

Mr Carter said: “Managing maintenance costs starts with vehicle selection and then we use a range of tools at our disposal to identify costs and we seek to manage those. It is all about marginal gains and we seek to make savings wherever we can.

“The cost of most products and services increase year-on-year but, remarkably, the pence per mile vehicle operating costs on the Stannah van fleet have reduced since Fleet Service GB took over management responsibility.”

In part, it has to be acknowledged, that cost reduction is due to improved vehicle manufacturer reliability, but, said Mr Bray, it was also a reflection of the overall management approach to identify and then manage maintenance expenditure.

Mr Bray added: “The maintenance management results are hugely positive which demonstrates, in my view, a good working partnership and also, very importantly, a Stannah policy which encourages ownership and responsibility from a driver perspective.”

Fleet Service GB was launched in spring 2015 led by Mr Bray, who following his decision to leave his former company, Fleet Support Group (FSG), was approached by a number of industry-experienced colleagues to form a unique co-ownership fleet management company.

When Fleet Service GB launched, Mr Carter decided to invest his trust in the new company’s ability to deliver having previously worked with FSG initially maintenance managing the van fleet and subsequently also the car fleet.

Fleet Service GB delivers clients with intelligent integrated dashboards for fingertip control of vehicles and drivers

Intelligent integrated online dashboards delivering real-time critical headline data on vehicles and drivers to the fingertips of fleet managers and the ability to drill down into the minutiae of operations have been launched by Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB).

Introduced under the fast-growing technology-led co-ownership company’s umbrella brand, Achieve, fleet management and driver management dashboards join the previously launched maintenance management and crash management portals.

Developed in partnership with customers, the client-bespoke dashboards are designed to “inspire fleets to Achieve better” by delivering all critical information across all key operations in easy to understand numerical and graphic formats, while simultaneously highlighting action areas.

Drilling into the data beneath each dashboard’s single screen headline summary enables fleet decision-makers to manipulate the data and compile customised reports as well as view consolidated information on any single vehicle and driver or group of vehicles and drivers.

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, which has more than 7,500 cars, vans, HGVs, trailers and drivers under management, said: “Fleet Service GB is harnessing technology to measure vehicle and driver data and performance in real-time.

“Through intelligent integrated solutions, fleet decision-makers are able to access ever single aspect of data on their fleet and drivers via a straightforward online dashboard to drive down operating costs and ensure maximum compliance.”

The newly launched Achieve Fleet Management dashboard identifies all area of vehicle and driver-related administration in a single portal including vehicle acquisition and disposal, Vehicle Excise Duty, servicing and MoT information and motoring-related fines incurred by drivers.

The recently launched Achieve Driver Management dashboard identifies which employees have authority to drive, driver-influenced vehicle costs and a company’s best and worst drivers using a number of key intelligent parameters including: points on driving licences and number and type of crashes.

Achieve Maintenance Management and Achieve Crash Management dashboards, both launched late last year, identify critical information that respectively includes: Vehicle pence per mile costs and vehicle servicing and maintenance data providing in-depth trend and predictive analysis and aiding compliance; and detailed information on types of crashes drivers are having, a heat map of incident locations and crash data by day, time and driver.

Mr Bray said: “Previously all information was available by reports, but Fleet Service GB’s dashboards have transformed data access to provide customers with an unprecedented view of all key information in simple formats.

“Furthermore, many fleets have key vehicle and driver information recorded in separate silos. The Achieve dashboards integrate all information to give complete 360-degree visibility across all operational and performance areas relating to both vehicles and drivers giving one version of the truth.

“Crucially, the dashboards do not just provide data but also flag-up action areas. That means Fleet Service GB is not only providing vehicle and driver information, but interpreting it and so highlighting areas whether in respect of individual vehicle costs that need to be tackled or driver performance that needs to be improved.”

What’s more Fleet Service GB’s in-house IT team has used members’ skill and knowledge to design and build the technology in dialogue with customers.

Mr Bray said: “The totally integrated dashboards deliver the information that customers have requested in a format they want.”

Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, outsources the maintenance management of its fleet of more than 700 company cars and vans to Fleet Service Fleet Service GB.

Martin Carter, group information systems director in charge of the fleet, who was instrumental in assisting with development of the dashboards, said: “We want to collect data so we can exactly identify what our costs are and can then effectively and efficiently manage the fleet and drivers.

“We also want a partner that understands what we are aiming to do and then get on and do it for us. In terms of developing and introducing the dashboards that is exactly what Fleet Service GB has done.”

Vacant property management and maintenance specialists VPS UK, which is headquartered in Oldham with service centres across the UK, has almost 650 cars and commercial vehicles under management with Fleet Service GB and more than 900 drivers registered on the Achieve programme.

Head of fleet Steve Mulvaney, who also played a key role in development of the dashboards, said: “All headline data relating to every vehicle and driver is available in a straightforward visual style at my fingertips, Should I require more detailed information on any vehicle or driver or aspect of the fleet I can easily drill down.

“Crucially the fact that Fleet Service GB has developed and designed the dashboards in-house means that I can sit down with the IT team, discuss what I require and they then undertake the work. That means dashboard development is hugely efficient and totally in tune with the wishes of myself and other customers, who are effectively a user advice group.”

Mr Bray concluded: “Dialogue with our customers is continuous and so we have a programme to introduce other dashboards and implement upgrades and enhancements to existing ones as and when required. Technology and data access is not the future; it is the here and now and Fleet Service GB is leading the way.”

New Management Tool launched by Fleet Service Great Britain Makes Vehicle Rental Booking Easy

A new customer vehicle rental management tool has been launched by Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB), the fast-growing technology-led co-ownership company.

Designed to assist customers in placing and managing car and light commercial vehicle rental bookings, the new rental management tool is now live on Fleet Service GB’s advanced online customer portal.

Via the portal, drivers, cost centre managers and fleet managers are able to make a request to book a rental vehicle through Fleet Service GB’s preferred network of suppliers.

The rental management tool enables a user to submit all the key details required in order to fulfill a booking requirement including on and off-hire dates, type of vehicle, reason for hire and name of the person who will be driving the vehicle; provides a quote based on the daily rate of the vehicle selected; and submits the vehicle rental request directly to the Fleet Service GB team.

The rule set deployed within the rental management tool ensures that a customer can set configuration of the vehicle request flow so that it receives line manager approval prior to the booking request being processed. The person responsible for rental authorisation will then receive an email with a website link to approve the request.

Once authorised the booking will be arranged by the Fleet Service GB team and a confirmation email will be sent to the requester.

In addition to the ability to book a new vehicle rental, the rental management tool also gives a fleet manager, or the nominated Fleet Service GB contact, the ability to view and manage any live rental.

The portal provides a view of all live requests pending approval as well as the ability to view and amend all open rental bookings. Users are able to set a termination date or extend a hire during life through the integrated customer portal management area.

Further development of the rental management tool is currently in progress. It will allow not only for a vehicle to be supplied according to the processed quote, but also, based on the daily rate of the vehicle selected and the duration of hire, provide recommendations on how to reduce the rental cost.

Sarah Clifford, head of service delivery, Fleet Service GB, said: “The new rental management tool was developed at the request of customers, is easy to use and can be bespoke to the requirements of individual clients. Previously, bookings were made via email or a telephone call, which was inefficient and administratively cumbersome.

“The new rental management tool is intuitive, avoids duplication of information during the vehicle booking process, reduces the risk of booking errors being made and provides customers with a comprehensive record on all vehicles on hire.”

Fleet Service GB is now managing more than 7,000 cars and commercial vehicles for a wide range of clients that include VPS Group, which specialise in securing, maintaining and managing vacant property across a wide range of customer and industry sectors.

Steve Mulvaney, head of fleet at VPS UK and in charge of 650 cars and light commercials, helped develop the rental management tool. He said: “It is a brilliant step forward, as the vehicle rental request is now just a ‘couple of clicks’ away whereas previously it was a manual labour-intensive process.”

Previously a VPS-devised rental request form would be completed by a driver or line manager and sent to Mr Mulvaney for checking and authorising before being processed and forwarded to Fleet Service GB.

Mr Mulvaney said: “The rental management tool enables the vehicle hire request to be completed online and I can authorise it via my tablet or mobile phone rather than having to be at my PC. It is a seamless and very efficient process.”

He added: “If a rental requires an extension or goes over the hire period I receive an immediate automated alert, which enables me to take prompt action. The whole process is seamless.”

Business booms for Fleet Service Great Britain as customer-centric, technology-led company enters fourth year of operation

Senior management team members (left to right): Pete Hitt (head of operations), Sarah Clifford (head of service delivery), Geoffrey Bray (executive chairman) and Marcus Bray (head of sales) with Fleet Service GB employees.

Business is booming for Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) as the co-ownership company moves into its fourth year of operation.

Fleet Service GB was launched in April 2015 by an experienced management team with a focus on delivering customer service excellence and a comprehensive range of fleet management solutions underpinned by industry-leading technology.

The company is now managing almost 7,000 cars and commercial vehicles for a wide range of clients that include Stannah and VPS Group; has relocated into new headquarters on a Corsham business park four times larger than its launch premises; and its growing customer base means that it now employs 22 people.

Fleet Service GB is led by head of sales Marcus Bray, who with his father and stepmother was instrumental in the growth of Fleet Support Group from a kitchen table concept to becoming the UK’s largest privately owned fleet management company managing 55,000 vehicles and drivers before the business was sold.

Mr Bray said: “Fleet Service GB is growing at a manageable pace based on a partnership approach with customers.

“Fleet Service GB is successful because as a fleet management company it truly understands the needs of each client and becomes a genuine extension of a customer’s management team. Hand-in-hand we identify and specify objectives and work together to find and deliver solutions utilising cutting-edge technology.

“Fleet Service GB continually strives to deliver fleet solutions that are the most cost-effective for customers, while always ensuring that vehicles, drivers and journeys are managed efficiently and effectively.

“Fleet Service GB through online solutions and technology such as its Driver App and Achieve Driver Management programme provides customers with all the necessary tools to manage vehicles, drivers and journeys with work-related road safety compliance to the fore.”

Fleet Service GB’s unique co-ownership company, in which members of the senior management team are all shareholders, meant that employees, said Mr Bray: “Would not simply go the extra mile, but the extra 10,000 miles to deliver world-class solutions.”

He continued: “We spend our customers’ money as if it was our own, but Fleet Service GB is not part of a giant corporation and does not have venture capitalists sitting on its back.

“Fleet Service GB is a profitable but cost-conscious company. As the customer base expands the business is investing in people and new fleet management solutions that deliver cost savings to clients.”

Services include in-life car and commercial vehicle fleet, maintenance, accident, risk and hire management; a range of other services that includes fines management; and a 24×7 service that includes an out-of-hours facility manned by expert staff and not outsourced to a third party as with most fleet management providers. Additionally, Fleet Service GB uses its expertise to assist customers with vehicle funding and disposal decisions.

Mr Bray said: “Through the technology already being utilised and that which continues to be developed by our own experts in partnership with customers, Fleet Service GB is on the road to delivering its vision of a totally integrated vehicle, driver and journey management solution that provides fleet decision-makers with all required information via a straight-forward dashboard to make critical decisions.”

Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, and VPS Group, which specialise in securing, maintaining and managing vacant property across a wide range of customer and industry sectors, are two of Fleet Service GB’s largest customers operating more than 700 and 650 cars and light commercials respectively.

Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director, who manages the company’s fleet, said: “Stannah is very open with Fleet Service GB about what it is trying to achieve. We want to maximise the use of technology to collect data so we can exactly identify what our costs are so we can effectively and efficiently manage the fleet.

“In Fleet Service GB, Stannah has a partner that understands what it is aiming to do and gets on and does it for us. Fleet Service GB understands the culture of the Stannah business, makes the right decisions on our behalf and is very good at doing so.”

Steve Mulvaney, head of fleet at VPS UK, said: “Fleet Service GB is responsible for the day-to-day management of the fleet. The Fleet Service GB team is hugely knowledgeable and experienced and through its skill VPS is benefiting from financial savings delivered across the fleet as well as ensuring compliance with best practice

“Fleet Service GB is going the extra mile in managing the VPS fleet and continues to deliver enhanced service, fleet efficiency and sustainable cost reduction and control through the data provided.”

FSGB delivers new market-leading IT solutions to save fleets time and money and aid compliance

FSGB delivers new market-leading IT solutions to save fleets time and money and aid compliance

A string of new technology-based features have been launched by Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB) designed to save customers time and money in managing their company car and commercial vehicle operations and ensure legislative compliance.

FSGB launched in spring 2015 and, offering a comprehensive range of in-life vehicle management services underpinned by cutting-edge IT solutions and with a customer-centric focus, has expanded to currently manage almost 7,000 cars and commercial vehicles.

The latest IT initiatives, developed at the request of and in partnership with customers include: Event Scheduler, Bespoke Categorisation, Proactive Service, Maintenance and Repair and Rental Check Sheets (see details of each below).

FSGB head of sales Marcus Bray said: “FSGB’s IT solutions come from working hand-in-hand with customers and listening to the issues and problems that they face on a daily basis. Using the experience and knowledge of our employees gained over many years of working in the fleet management sector we can identify, develop and deliver solutions.

“FSGB works on the frontline with customers – effectively as an extension of their own in-house fleet team. Very few companies listen to their customers and then deliver what is requested. FSGB is using technology to make life easier for clients.”

He continued: “Fleet management continues to evolve with technological advances for managing vehicles, drivers and journeys, but ultimately success continues to be built on listening to clients.

“Businesses that lose touch with their customers and become disconnected, very soon lose those clients and that attitude is reflected by the contracts that FSGB continues to win.”

While industry-leading technology is business-critical for FSGB, the unique co-ownership company also understands that it is simply a tool – the big ingredient being people.

Mr Bray concluded: “Companies that uncouple relationships and de-personalise service and rely on technology to do the fleet management job soon find out the error of their ways. FSGB will always be face-to-face and personal – but discussions with customers and the application of technology are powerful forces as demonstrated by FSGB’s business success to date.”

Event Scheduler provides customers with an online overview of ‘planned events’ – for example servicing and MoT scheduled dates, oil change and cam belt replacement – during the fleet life of any vehicle and associated spend. Developed in partnership with customer Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, the solution is designed to assist with reducing vehicle off-road time and aid vehicle disposal planning.

Vehicle off-road time is a huge cost burden for many fleets and Event Scheduler provides a graphic view of vehicles with intervals due by month and looks to forecast events based on time/mileage. When an event falls due within an agreed tolerance, future events are analysed to see if they can be merged into a single same-day ‘job’ based on the cost of work being undertaken early and a vehicle off road cost for customers.

The feature’s dashboard view provides fleet operators with a scheduled vehicle disposal date, according to company policy. Built-in rule sets allow Event Scheduler to base ‘planned events’ around that date, which, for example, could be brought forward to avoid additional service or MoT costs or see a vehicle moved to a company’s pool fleet replacing an existing vehicle on that fleet. The dashboard also highlights a summary of decisions made based on a disposal review and the system has the ability to reset a disposal date based on a review.

Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director, who manages the company’s fleet of more than 700 company cars and vans, said: “We were looking for something that worked along the line of a master production schedule that showed all activities over a planning horizon. With Event Scheduler we can now plan six months ahead for vehicle disposal and replacement rather than respond to events and can group demand to reduce off road time. As a graphical representation, it’s simple to use and we look forward to it developing further as we gain real world experience.”

Sarah Clifford, FSGB’s head of service delivery, said: “Event Scheduler is a great tool for customers to see at a glance an overview of their fleet’s position. Alongside each vehicle is highlighted spend to date and projected spend to point of disposal. Such data can influence both replacement cycles and future fleet acquisition strategies.”

FSGB is continuing to develop Event Scheduler with the addition of more known or projected events based on customer requirements analysis of fleet data, which, for example, include the regular collection of tyre tread depth readings to enable tyre replacement forecasts to be made.

Bespoke Categorisation enables FSGB customers to easily identify all vehicles that perform a certain operational function or have a customised feature. As a result, FSGB has created a series of standardised categories that are applied to every managed asset enabling customers to split out management information based on their own requirements. Current categories are: Body type, feature (e.g. 4×4 vehicle, vehicle with tail lift etc), fleet type (pool vehicle, hire vehicle, ‘grey fleet’ vehicle etc), number of seats and vehicle type (car derived van, pickup van, utility vehicle etc). Additionally, customers have the ability to create further categories bespoke to individual requirements. The feature is now being rolled out to each client with many already utilising the tool to personalise asset data.

Proactive Service, Maintenance and Repair (SMR) is designed to assist customers and their company car and commercial vehicle drivers in complying with critically important manufacturer service schedules and MoT demands. Proactive SMR is an enhancement that uses FSGB’s vehicle management system’s ‘due item’ data to alert drivers as early as possible. The feature identifies a forthcoming service, MoT or additional inspection based on time or mileage and starts the pre-booking set up. A job will be initiated and where FSGB records identify a vehicle’s driver – a separate tool assists clients in keeping vehicle/driver allocations accurate – an SMS, email and other notifications are sent via FSGB’s cutting-edge Driver App. A driver’s depot/line manager is also alerted to the requirement as a defined stage within the process.

Ms Clifford said: “FSGB has the capability to customise how far in advance the Proactive SMR process is started; how frequently reminders are sent; and if, and at what point, cost centre managers are involved not only customer-by-customer but item-by-item.

“Should we not receive contact from a driver within a defined period prior to due date FSGB’s system alerts the team and tasks us to make contact with the driver via telephone. The process assists both FSGB and customers in terms of compliance with legislation and with the correct preventative maintenance recommendations for their fleet.”

Rental Check Sheets is an enhancement to FSGB’s Driver App which will enable the completion of a check sheet for any vehicle hired to a driver. The key objectives are:

  • To alert a driver that a Rental Check Sheet requires completion at the start and end of a booking
  • The Rental Check Sheet to provide key information as well as querying vehicle condition
  • The Rental Check Sheet to be stored against the rental reservation – but also stored against the driver should a rental have been arranged outside of the FSGB system.

Ms Clifford said: “Vehicle damage charges at the end of a rental are often very contentious and many customers are on the receiving end at the conclusion of a rental period as well as facing costs related to refueling and other ad-hoc charges.

“The aim with the development of Rental Check Sheets is to alert a driver via the Driver App prior to the rental reservation to complete a vehicle check to identify any existing damage and note the vehicle condition on delivery or as soon as possible subsequently.

“Frequently drivers are not always available to walk around the vehicle at point of delivery and so the aim is to ensure that when they do pick up the keys that they record any damage, taking images using the built in image upload feature and check for any mechanical issues.

It is also an opportunity for FSGB to remind drivers to note the level of fuel that the vehicle was delivered with and draw their attention to key information relevant to the rental booking. That includes taking responsibility for the payment of any road and bridge tolls or London Congestion Charge and ensuring the vehicle is available for collection at an appropriate location.

“At the point of termination the Driver App will also alert drivers to complete an end of hire check. Capturing any change in vehicle condition and prompting them to ensure that the vehicle is refueled etc. will minimise fleets’ exposure to end of rental charges.”

COMPANY CAR DRIVERS POTENTIALLY FACE BACK TAX DEMAND CAUSED BY NEW OpRA RULES, FIAG WORKSHOP TOLD

COMPANY CAR DRIVERS POTENTIALLY FACE BACK TAX DEMAND CAUSED BY NEW OpRA RULES, FIAG WORKSHOP TOLD

  • Courts “get tough” on companies and individuals guilty of health and safety breaches
  • Employers urged to relieve driver stress to improve road safety performance
  • Businesses “nowhere near” maximising the potential of telematics technology

Company car-driving employees have been warned that they could be subjected to demands for back tax from HM Revenue and Customs following this year’s introduction of complex Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRA) rules.

The Fleet Industry Advisory Group’s (FIAG) autumn workshop, ‘Fleet Policy – Challenges and Influences’ heard Activa Contracts’ sales and marketing director Lisa Temperton highlight that understanding and correctly interpreting OpRA regulations was one of the “major challenges” currently facing businesses.

Essentially the new rules were introduced by government to mean employees opting for a salary sacrifice arrangement or taking a company car in lieu of a cash alternative paid tax on the higher of the existing company car benefit value and the salary sacrificed or cash allowance given up. However, car arrangements in place before April 6, 2017 are protected until April 2021 and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) – currently those with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less – are exempt from the regulation.

OpRA rules were rapidly introduced on April 6, following confirmation in last year’s autumn Budget and subsequent Finance Bill, but the impact of the changes are still coming to light. For example, it was recently revealed that the new OpRA rules should only take into account the amount of salary sacrificed for the car itself thereby excluding vehicle maintenance, insurance, new tyres and roadside breakdown and recovery for example. That means that the finance rental for a car and all other costs should be separated out making so-called “proportionality” now an issue for employers in respect of OpRA.

Ms Temperton told delegates at the workshop, which was sponsored by driver risk management specialist Automotional and held at the company’s Training Centre located within the Formula E Paddock at Donington Park Race Circuit, that when P46 (Car) forms were sent to HMRC by employers at the end of the 2017/18 tax year they could be incorrect.

“Some employees will have underpaid tax and that will cause pain as HMRC looks to recoup the tax they believe due,” said Ms Temperton, who highlighted that underpayment was likely to be caused because company payroll departments were not yet set up to handle the impact of OpRA rules on tax.

Ms Temperton took delegates on a whistle-stop tour through “50 years of political meddling with the company car” and concluded that other “current challenges” facing fleet decision-makers included:

  • The introduction of the new vehicle emissions and MPG test procedure, known as the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)
  • “Anti-diesel” vehicle legislation including the introduction of Clean Air Zones in towns and cities nationwide
  • The impact of the new lease accounting standard, known as IFRS 16, effective from January 1, 2019, which in the fleet operating and vehicle leasing sector is mainly focused on its requirement for assets financed via operating lease – contract hire – to be brought on-balance sheet
  • Increasing demand for personal contract hire affinity schemes
  • Getting to grips with a raft of issues surrounding ‘connected cars’ and autonomous vehicles
  • The fall-out from negotiations relating to the UK’s exit from the European Union.

However, Ms Temperton concluded: “Reports of the death of the company car are greatly exaggerated. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.”

That presentation introduced a roundtable debate among delegates on the future of the company car and fleet decision-makers agreed that there was perhaps “more uncertainty” than in living memory.

Some delegates concluded that growing company car benefit-in-kind tax complexity added to demands by employees “not to be dictated to in terms of vehicle choice” could prompt a move away from ‘perk’ company cars.

However, amid such a scenario some delegates warned that could trigger the increased use of privately-owned cars – the so-called ‘grey fleet’ – being driven on business journeys, which, in many cases, was already proving to be a corporate challenge in terms of managing vehicle documentation and driver licence validation to ensure duty of care compliance. An alternative, to growing ‘grey fleet’ use, it was suggested, was a greater use of hire cars and even pool vehicles.

Meanwhile, other workshop delegates suggested that company cars continued to deliver “value for money” to employees and there would be no shrinkage in demand.

Delegates also suggested that job-need cars remained business-critical and, against a background of year-on-year increases in company car benefit-in-kind tax, required “more government support”.

Courts “get tough” on companies and individuals guilty of health and safety breaches

Company directors and senior managers inside businesses with fleet responsibility are increasingly likely to be prosecuted with organisations potentially facing fines running into millions of pounds in the event of fatal and non-fatal crashes.

FIAG workshop delegates heard specialist health and safety lawyer Michael Appleby, partner at London-based Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP, highlight the impact that the 2016 sentencing guidelines for health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences were having on organisations, directors and senior managers.

The guidelines were introduced by the Sentencing Council last year and provide for a sliding scale of financial penalties linked to the turnover of a business and level of culpability.

For health and safety offences the scale of penalties is: large organisation with £50 million-plus turnover £3,000-£10 million; medium size organisations with £10-£50 million turnover £1,000-£4 million; small organisations with £2-10 million turnover £100-£1.6 million; micro companies with not more than £2 million turnover £50-£450,000. Convicted individuals face a maximum sentence of up to two years jail and an unlimited fine.

For companies convicted of corporate manslaughter the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine although the guidelines state a range of £180,000-£20 million depending on the size of the company.

Mr Appleby revealed that in 2015 just three companies were hit with fines of more than £1 million for breaching health and safety regulations, but that had risen to 19 in 2016 following introduction of the guidelines with two-thirds of cases being non-fatal. Historically, he highlighted, that fines above £1 million were reserved for companies prosecuted following fatalities.

He also highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of directors and senior managers being prosecuted – up from 15 in 2015 to 46 last year. What’s more, following introduction of the new guidelines, those found guilty were now likely to receive, as a minimum, a suspended prison sentence with directors also disqualified from holding office.

Mr Appleby told delegates: “There is an increasing interest by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in all area of occupational health including work-related road safety. Businesses should focus on reducing potential areas of harm across the workplace, which includes managing vehicle and driver safety. Inside many organisations there is scant attention being paid to fleet safety, which is a huge area of concern. Policies and procedures must be in place to reduce the risk of exposure to prosecution of directors and senior managers as well as organisations if a crash results in a fatality.”

Employers urged to relieve driver stress to improve road safety performance

Employees suffering from stress were 50% more likely to drive dangerously and thus be involved in crashes, according to John Sunderland Wright, training director at Performance on Demand.

Drivers’ health and well-being was critical to their behaviour on the road, Mr Sunderland Wright told FIAG workshop delegates highlighting that the heart and brain were the two key areas of the body “massively effected” by stress.

“Stress can inhibit personal performance,” said Mr Sunderland Wright. “High levels of stress causes the brain to do far too much and that causes problems, which for drivers manifests itself in road crashes.”

Employee surveys frequently highlighted that stress and tiredness were issues for them but, said Mr Sunderland Wright, sleeping for eight to nine hours per night was a solution. He also advised that continually hydrating the body with water was vital as dehydration reduced concentration and reaction levels by 20%.

With driver stress being a significant contributory factor to road crashes, Mr Appleby reminded delegates that it was a major focus for the HSE in improving work-related road safety.

He told delegates: “Are drivers so stressed that they cannot do their job properly? Employers must look at their work-related road safety policies and ensure that employees that drive on businesses have the opportunity to have their views on such issues heard.”

The FIAG workshop debate on the health and well-being of drivers concluded that it was “a hot topic” and it was important that “a massive knowledge gap” across employers was filled.

Delegates suggested that many employers were “reactive” and not “proactive” in managing employees and only reacted with new policies and procedures following an “incident”.

As a result, Geoffrey Bray, chairman of FIAG, which was launched four years ago to enable fleet decision-makers to share fleet industry best practice and knowledge, said: “It is vital that employees that drive on business are given advice and information on how to relieve stress and be less tired. Information should not just be written into a company car policy, but there should be conversations and drivers should be empowered to speak up. Drivers are part of the solution and not simply the problem.”

Businesses “nowhere near” maximising the potential of telematics technology

Nine in ten businesses that fit telematics to vehicles were “nowhere near” maximising the potential of the technology to obtain a full return on investment, Phil Powell, sales director at Matrix Telematics told the FIAG workshop.

However, companies that used telematics derived data to effectively manage driver behaviour and vehicle performance reaped significant financial benefits notably in terms of reduced fuel bills, lower maintenance costs due to employees’ adopting a smoother driving style, fewer road traffic crashes and reduced insurance premiums, he explained.

Highlighting that in-vehicle technology and ‘big data’ was the future, Mr Powell said: “Employers must harvest data from vehicles and use the information gathered to analyse both driver and vehicle performance.”

During a roundtable discussion, FIAG delegates agreed that telematic systems provided a wealth of data, but flagged up concerns that with the 25 May, 2018 introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) information collected must be used responsibly with drivers informed the use to which it was being put.

Delegates also agreed that fleet decision-makers could be swamped with the volume of data emerging from telematics system. As a result, it was critical to both centralise and compartmentalise information and focus on highlighted “errors and weaknesses” measured against established key performance indicators so drivers and vehicles were “managed by exception”.

FSGB’s partnership approach delivers £100,000 fleet maintenance cost saving to Stannah

Robust management of fleet maintenance costs across the van fleet operated by Stannah has delivered a saving of more than £100,000 despite a 32% increase in the number of vehicles operated.

Stannah, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lift products supplying goods as diverse as loading systems, service lifts, platform lifts, homelifts and stairlifts, outsources the maintenance management of its now 410-strong van fleet to Fleet Service Great Britain (FSGB).

The headline figures, which reflects a pence per mile saving per van of 1.73p – down from 4.51p to 2.78p per mile – a reduction of 38% over a near seven-year period, proves that focused maintenance management can deliver significant operational financial savings on, what is generally perceived to be, a major area of fleet expenditure.

Critical to reducing service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs and ensuring vans are in tip-top condition has been driver discipline allied to Stannah using a suite of fleet management tools. They include FSGB’s driver app that has a wealth of cutting-edge features notably accident reporting and an SMR job booking facility used by the company.

SMR costs in December 2010 across Andover-headquartered Stannah’s then 310-strong van fleet totalled £341,620. In summer 2017, despite the fleet increasing to 410 vans and total fleet mileage extrapolated over 12 months rising 10% or 787,120 miles to 8.36 million miles the total cost reduced to £232,470 – a saving of £109,150 (32%). That equates to a cost per van per year reduction of 49% from £1,102 to £567.

The vast majority of Stannah’s purchased all-diesel van fleet are Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter and Volkswagen Caddy and Transport models operated over a five-year/120,000-mile replacement cycle with maintenance undertaken on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Martin Carter, Stannah’s group information systems director who is in charge of the fleet, said: “The cost of most products and services increase year-on-year but, remarkably, the pence per mile vehicle operating costs on the Stannah van fleet have reduced since FSGB took over management responsibility.

“Pence per mile is widely recognised as the most accurate measure of a vehicles maintenance expenditure. The fact that pence per mile costs have reduced 38% is very significant.”

In part, it has to be acknowledged, that is due to improved vehicle manufacturer reliability, but it is also a reflection on the overall approach to identify and then manage SMR costs.

During the last two years the age profile of the van fleet has reduced with Mr Carter explaining: “We are adhering much closer to our five-year/120,000-mile policy. We used to let some vans run on, but using FSGB’s data we looked at the pence per mile operating costs over a period of time and it was obvious that above 120,000 miles there was a clear increase in SMR expenditure.”

Furthermore, each Stannah van is allocated to an individual driver who works from home with Mr Carter explaining: “That means every vehicle is completely traceable and it makes a major difference compared with an employee who travels to work each day and collects a van from a depot before returning it at the end of their shift. At Stannah each driver effectively ‘owns’ their van.”

Each vehicle is then equipped with telematics that records and delivers to Mr Carter a raft of data notably relating to driver behaviour and how a vehicle is driven. Additionally, any incident is reviewed in detail with, potentially, driver training the result.

What’s more, with Stannah’s van drivers logged on to the FSGB app it brings a significant element of self-management to the van fleet.

Mr Carter said: “We ask our drivers to provide information and we give them data and they react. The result is that the majority of our drivers do not have crashes and drive sympathetically, which all helps to deliver maintenance cost savings.

“The fleet management tools that we use generate cost reductions through savings in SMR and fuel and a reduced number of crashes.”

FSGB head of sales Marcus Bray said: “FSGB provides Stannah with a comprehensive fleet maintenance management solution and, importantly, ownership of every single service and repair issue is fully managed through to completion. FSGB operates as an extension of Stannah’s own fleet department.

“The maintenance management results are very positive which demonstrates, in my view, a good working partnership and also, very importantly, a Stannah policy which encourages ownership and responsibility from a driver perspective.”

FSGB was launched in spring 2015 led by Mr Bray, who following his decision to leave his former company, Fleet Support Group (FSG), was approached by a number of industry-experienced colleagues to form a unique co-ownership fleet management company

When FSGB launched, Mr Carter decided to invest his trust in the new company’s ability to deliver having previously relied on FSG to manage the Stannah van fleet.