The key driver behind developing a fully-functioning fleet management system is widely agreed to be cost savings across the business. But just as important is compliance. Whilst cost savings are integral to every area of the business, and particularly in fleet management, compliance is a fundamental necessity also.
In simple terms, compliance ensures that the business can operate in order to put cost saving initiatives into action, so most successful businesses agree that compliance is the starting point when addressing objectives, and that certainly applies to fleet management.
In which areas does fleet management need compliance?
The key variables in fleet management are people, vehicles and operations. Fleet management as part of a business falls under the jurisdiction of many different bodies and organisations, which essentially enable the fleet and the business to operate. These can be governed by law, tax rules, health and safety regulations and internal standards, so in terms of compliance, most fleets have the same issues to address regardless of the nature of their business and operations.
- Roadworthy vehicles: the business must ensure vehicles are safe and well maintained and properly equipped for the nature of their use. So this requires a well-managed service and maintenance system, policies for regular internal inspections and a system for managing warranty policies.
- MOT: of course this is the ultimate test of a vehicle’s roadworthy status and this has to be complied with for all vehicles within a fleet.
- Risk assessments: here you need to check if vehicles and operations are safe and have considered all risks. This will involve routes you are asking drivers to take, operations they need to undertake and also issues such as the working/driving time directive, ie. are you complying with safe and legal driving times?
- Licenses: do all your drivers have them? Are they up-to-date? Are they the correct licence for the vehicle you are asking them to drive? Do drivers have penalty points on their licence?
- Training: From a health and safety point-of-view drivers need to be trained in the appropriate way to drive and conduct themselves on the road, and also if carrying out operations at a customer’s premises.
- Funding models: vehicles can be acquired and financed through several different funding models, so you need to ensure these are legitimate, regulated and able to be maintained.
- Tax: this involves road tax for all vehicles and also the tax applied to company car drivers.
- Insurance: this covers both vehicles and drivers and should also consider ‘grey fleet’, ie. where employees use their own vehicles for company business. In all cases the employer is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is suitably insured.
- Duty of care: ultimately the employer is responsible for the health and safety of its employees when out on the road, and whilst this involves many of the issues listed above, this is the fundamental starting point when addressing fleet management compliance.
How do I maintain fleet compliance?
The simple answer is you need a fleet management system, and in most cases that now involves investing in software. A database needs to be established which collates all the compliance factors listed above, includes key dates, requirements and criteria and can trigger action through notifications and alerts.
You need a comprehensive plan which allows you time to monitor and react to ensure that records, documents and submissions are maintained and kept up-to-date. This should also enable you to schedule actions such as block service and maintenance visits so that multiple vehicles can be attended to at the same time. This saves money in labour and internal admin. You should also set-up an internal audit system to self-govern compliance.
Ultimately, compliance is a continual process, which needs visibility and organisation and consistent policies throughout the business. This will help create a comprehensive solution to compliance and help the business avoid fines, penalties, safety violations, excessive admin costs and significant delays and disruption.
Do you need advice on fleet compliance? Speak to Total Motion, the UK’s leading fleet management company.
For more information visit www.totalmotion.co.uk
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