Fleet Man­age­ment

Rising costs, new tech­nolo­gies and of­ten con­fus­ing reg­u­la­tions mean man­ag­ing a fleet of ve­hi­cles has never been more chal­leng­ing. Not sur­pris­ingly, an in­creas­ing num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions are out­sourc­ing to utilise the ser­vices of spe­cial­ist fleet man­age­men

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS - By Glenn Baker.

These are chal­leng­ing times for New Zealand’s fleet man­agers. For those charged with keep­ing fleets cost-ef­fec­tive and com­pli­ant, and stay­ing up with fleet tech­nolo­gies, the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the job have steadily in­creased. In the past few years, Ge­off Tipene, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of SG Fleet NZ, has seen an ac­cel­er­a­tion in cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment fleets in par­tic­u­lar be­ing out­sourced to Fleet Man­age­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tions (FMOS). “It is very dif­fi­cult for any fleet op­er­a­tor to stay up to date on reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments, health and safety mea­sures and strate­gies, fit-for-pur­pose anal­y­sis, and keep­ing a fleet mo­bile when as­sets are off the road,” he says. It’s hardly sur­pris­ing then that New Zealand’s lead­ing FMOS can post a long list of the ben­e­fits of ex­ter­nally man­aged fleets com­pared to in­ter­nally man­aged ones. These in­clude di­rect cost re­duc­tion and so­phis­ti­cated re­port­ing for bet­ter man­age­ment. Am­brose Plais­ter, CEO of Fleet­wise, puts the key ben­e­fits un­der the four ‘C’s’ of cost, con­sol­i­da­tion, con­fi­dence and con­ti­nu­ity. They cover things like ne­go­ti­at­ing dis­counts on ev­ery­thing from tyres and ser­vic­ing to fuel; cen­tralised ser­vices; monthly re­port­ing; mon­i­tor­ing com­pli­ance and ser­vic­ing; and hav­ing one con­tact point for all fleet-re­lated is­sues, such as ac­ci­dent or road­side as­sis­tance. How­ever, he ad­mits that it is dif­fi­cult for an ex­ter­nal man­ager to drive change within an or­gan­i­sa­tion. “If a busi­ness de­cides to out­source, there needs to be an ad­vo­cate within the or­gan­i­sa­tion to drive fleet ini­tia­tives and fol­low up on in­dis­cre­tions such as speed­ing in­fringe­ments.” Once hav­ing de­cided to out­source fleet man­age­ment, should or­gan­i­sa­tions opt for a to­tal pack­age from one FMO or choose ser­vices a la carte from dif­fer­ent providers? Tipene be­lieves the days of hav­ing mul­ti­ple sup­pli­ers are get­ting shorter. He says cus­tomers see the most pro­duc­tive way to man­age a fleet and con­trol costs is to be aligned with one sup­plier that can not only man­age the fleet end-to-end but be­come part of the busi­ness they are man­ag­ing. “At SG Fleet 99 per­cent of the time we deal with the driv­ers di­rectly, leav­ing our in­ter­nal con­tact free to per­form their own du­ties.” Plais­ter says the á la carte ap­proach can be ex­tremely de­mand­ing on a com­pany’s time.

One thing’s clear from in­dus­try sources NZ Com­pany Ve­hi­cle spoke too – if you’re go­ing to more than one fleet service provider, thor­ough re­search is para­mount so an in­formed de­ci­sion can be made. Per­haps the role of an out­sourced fleet man­ager is best summed up by Fleets­mart’s com­mer­cial man­ager Brian Elmes – de­scrib­ing it as “very much con­sul­ta­tive”. “From be­ing a trou­ble-shooter of spe­cific is­sues through to [pro­vid­ing] full blown con­sul­tancy ser­vices.”

Pain points

In 2017 there are a num­ber of pain points for fleet man­agers. Fleets­mart’s Brian Elmes says his­tor­i­cally those pain points have been cost con­trol, plus cen­tralised poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to en­sure driv­ers needs are eas­ily and con­sis­tently re­sponded to with­out non-core dis­trac­tions. “In 2017 we are see­ing more or­gan­i­sa­tions fo­cus­ing on cre­at­ing a bal­ance be­tween driv­ing out cost, hav­ing a gen­uine health and safety fo­cus and keep­ing staff en­gaged through us­ing ve­hi­cles as a means to help drive en­gage­ment.” Shane Mil­lar, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Car­track, says one area of con­cern is the changes within the Work­safe health and safety leg­is­la­tion and their im­pact on com­pa­nies from a fleet per­spec­tive. “It’s try­ing to un­der­stand what their le­gal obli­ga­tions are and what they need to do to mit­i­gate them,” he says. “For smaller com­pa­nies this can be a real chal­lenge as they may not have the re­sources of a fleet man­ager or some­one who spe­cialises in work­place safety. “For­tu­nately, telem­at­ics can play a large part in over­com­ing a lot of these new re­quire­ments very eas­ily.” (Telem­at­ics in­volves the use of wire­less de­vices and ‘black box’ tech­nolo­gies to trans­mit ve­hi­cle and driver data in real time to fleet man­agers.) Mil­lar re­ports that cost con­tain­ment – things like fleet util­i­sa­tion, fuel costs and unau­tho­rised use of ve­hi­cles – are also pro­vid­ing headaches for busi­nesses. Plais­ter be­lieves gov­ern­ment clients, in par­tic­u­lar, are be­ing squeezed be­tween

bud­getary pres­sure and the pres­sure to adopt to­day’s ex­pen­sive elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

The future

When look­ing at fleet man­age­ment trends – one word that con­stantly ap­pears is ‘telem­at­ics’. Tipene de­scribes the ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy is this area as “mind blow­ing”. “Seventy-five per­cent of our cus­tomers have some form of telem­at­ics in their ve­hi­cles. The data we re­ceive and re­port on for cus­tomers is a real in­flu­encer in shap­ing the fleet for future use.” Car­track’s Mil­lar says there is a lot of talk around pre­dic­tive telem­at­ics an­a­lyt­ics and how this can help driver safety. “For ex­am­ple, it can be an ideal tool for iden­ti­fy­ing high risk driv­ers. In­for­ma­tion about driver be­hav­iour can be used to de­ter­mine how likely some­one is to be­come in­volved in an ac­ci­dent as well as the as­so­ci­ated costs with that risk.” Mil­lar also com­ments on the future of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles and elec­tric ve­hi­cles and how they will im­pact the fleet arena. “Whilst it is great to see some of New Zealand’s lead­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Waste Man­age­ment, Air New Zealand and NZ Bus get­ting behind this this new wave of trans­port, the proof will be in the vol­ume sec­tor.” He be­lieves the elec­tric ve­hi­cle sec­tor is on a real verge of ex­po­nen­tial growth. Fleets­mart’s Elmes agrees that the ac­cel­er­ated rollout and main­stream ac­cep­tance of EVS will de­fine the fleet man­age­ment mar­ket be­yond 2017. “The height­ened aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts, com­bined with rapidly de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy, is driv­ing ac­cep­tance of EVS as a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine.” Am­brose Plais­ter pre­dicts a surge in driver aid tech­nolo­gies such as adap­tive cruise con­trol and blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing – but not driver­less ve­hi­cles. He thinks hy­brid ve­hi­cles will in­creas­ingly find favour in large fleets, and there’ll be more ve­hi­cle shar­ing, in or­der to re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the na­tion’s fleet.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.