Fleet managers have had a rough ride over the past couple of years. Supply chain issues have delayed parts deliveries and increased wait times for new vehicles. Globally,125M vehicles that were scheduled to be built since January haven’t rolled off production lines, says the Australasian Fleet Managers’ Association.
However, there’s still plenty that fleet managers can control – the safety and integrity of their fleet – as these tips reveal.
Create a fleet safety plan
Prepare and plan to prevent poor performance. Ask your drivers for their suggestions and concerns. As well, consider:
- How you’ll communicate the policy
- When it will be reviewed, and by whom
- How it will be enforced.
Conduct preventative maintenance
How proactively do you maintain your vehicles? The key elements of such an approach include:
- Regular inspections. Not only pre-trip, but also a system to capture drivers’ inspection reports and yard checks
- Preventive maintenance by your in-house team, using refresher training and the latest tech
- Optimised parts inventories with barcode technology to gauge the most-needed items
- Scheduled repairs based on mileage, engine hours, fuel use, etc.
The most common fleet issues relate to wheel alignment, hydraulic systems, or engines, with the latter due to a lack of compression, bad fuel mix, or overheating.
Preventative maintenance helps you control costs, and build more reliability and safety into your assets and systems.
Run safety training and awareness
Driving a vehicle is potentially one of the most dangerous activities within workplaces, says the Australian Road Safety Foundation. Yet many organisations aren’t as vigilant as they are for other workplace activities.
More than nine out of 10 Australian vehicle accidents happen due to human error, a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry has heard. Autonomous truck fleets might be a solution in the long term, with trials underway in Australia. Until then, there’s one fleet driver category that’s doing well – bus drivers. Researchers have found they had, on average, fewer and less severe risks of injury, possibly due to slower operating speeds and more training.
No matter what vehicle types are in your fleet, you can improve your safety training and awareness by doing the following:
- Identify your drivers’ training needs by drawing on accident statistics and your fleet analysis tools
- Match training with each driver’s behaviour and individual skills
- Set performance benchmarks that link in with your fleet safety plan (see above)
- Train and diversify through individual, group, online, on-road, and driver coaching
- Articulate your training strategy with clear deadlines, expectations, communication protocols, feedback loops, and a system to manage completed and refresher training.
You can boost your safety with newer, safer vehicles, but it’s rarely an instant fix. That’s because the National Road Safety Strategy says it can take 20 years to achieve fleet turnover.
Invest in telematics
Improve fleet safety and productivity by investing in dashcams to record driving, and a telematics platform to track your fleet’s movement in real-time. This is a tool to give you actionable insights into the status of your vehicles and your drivers’ movements.
Data analytics will reveal which team members are driving safely and who isn’t. It might even fuel a ‘reward and recognition’ program for the safest driver of the month/year to draw attention to the behaviour you want to see.
Telematics analytics allows you to intervene with those drivers who aren’t up to standard, before your insurer deems them a higher risk, bumping them into a higher risk insurance category.
Motor fleet insurance
We can customise motor fleet insurance for your needs, whether your fleet includes cars, utes, vans, light rigid vehicles, buses, prime movers, trailers, rigid trucks, plant, and equipment, etc. Typically, a motor fleet policy factors in:
- Fleet size and composition
- Driver selection and training
- The type of goods transported
- The area and your scope of operations, including base, depots, and transportation areas
- Accident history.
Here’s what’s generally covered:
- New vehicle replacement
- Market value or sum insured (depending on which is the lesser)
- Financial protection for total losses
- Damage your business causes arising out of one event
- Legal liability to third parties for non-dangerous/hazardous goods
- Dangerous goods
- Removing non-dangerous debris.
There are also additional covers that you might need. Let us help you better manage your risk profile to improve your fleet management.