How our driver-based van fleet strategy can help combat Covid-19 operational challenges

Fleet Service GB is encouraging companies to continue investing in their van fleet operation as the industry combat ongoing operational challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vans are getting older and more expensive to maintain as semiconductor shortages compromise new vehicle supply, vehicles are working harder and covering more miles due to the meteoric growth in home shopping and competition for drivers continues to grow.

From years of working in partnership with its van fleet customers and focusing on work-related road safety, driver wellbeing, and importantly ensuring drivers feel valued and appreciated has resulted in an efficient and deliverable Fleet Service GB van fleet management programme.

Fleet Service GB puts drivers at the heart of everything it delivers for clients and can demonstrate that this approach delivers reduced costs, crashes, incidents, and maintenance costs.

Housing association Live West’s fleet manager Paul Ayris and Fleet Service GB have worked together for the past three years to create a detailed behavioural overview for 400 drivers through the Achieve vehicle and driver management programme.

A reduction in driver vehicle abuse has translated into reducing fleet maintenance costs from 3.43p per mile per van to 3.09p in just 12 months, proving a driver-centric approach works. Incident rates have halved with at fault crashes reducing by 40%. Driver related damage costs have also fallen by 50% during that time leading to self-insured insurance policy rebates and reduced premiums.

However, anything less than a 100% buy-in from the company’s board risks compromising a successful work-related road safety programme. This includes ensuring that sufficient time and energy is invested in the implementation and management of the programme. The company must be able to demonstrate that it is fully committed to always supporting drivers and vehicles, communications must be effective, and drivers must feel fully involved in all aspects of the programme. 

Geoffrey Bray, Fleet Service GB’s chairman said: “Working with van fleet operators of all sizes across the UK, the results are clear to us; if drivers are well managed, communicated with and supported by an integrated IT management system, then the drivers will feel valued, vehicle utilisation will improve, all impacting positively on operational efficiency. 

“As time pressure increases on a driver, stress levels go up resulting in more crashes employers must have in place a comprehensive driver, vehicle, journey management programme capturing and joining up all of the measured performance data. As the data is analysed the appropriate and necessary support initiatives and interventions are applied. Safety and compliance must never be compromised, a fully integrated approach will produce positive results. 

“It should also improve driver retention, which is particularly pertinent in this current employment environment,” he added.

Driver communication is another key part of a successful van fleet management policy which is why Fleet Service GB has spearheaded the ongoing development of its Achieve Driver App. The App plays a significant integrated role in all aspects of communication, access to all services easy to navigate processes, prompts reminders and messages covering driver handbook and fleet policy updates plus seasonal advice and a variety of tips showing drivers how to look after themselves and their vehicles.

As companies face the increasing pressure to comply with environmental changes and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time for van operators to revisit their van policies and embrace an integrated, fully inclusive vehicle and driver strategy. 

Managing work-related road safety is a good place to start.

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