By Paul Wilkins, managing director, emergency and critical services, Babcock International Group
Before you can improve performance, you need to have a complete picture of your fleet. It is critical to be able to view all vehicles that are on and off the road, to see the lifetime costs of maintaining them, their full servicing history and full mileage and breakdown records.
This data is critical to enable you to make strategic decisions.
It was only by having a complete picture of the Metropolitan Police Service fleet that we were able to assess warranties and leasing costs and reduce vehicle hire expenditure by 25%.
Improving performance of your fleet has a cost.
Condition monitoring, preventative maintenance and regular maintenance are not cheap, and need to be weighed against the price of not having assets available.
Optimising workshops can reduce this expense, for example, planning repairs and services during times when the fleet is known to be under less pressure.
Ensuring vehicles perform well for as long as possible is important, but it is critical to recognise when a replacement must be made.
Again, data is key here, ensuring that vehicles are retired before they become a problem and incur more expense.
When the time comes to replace an asset, an independent approach to identifying the right vehicle is essential.
Tying yourself to one manufacturer is limiting and potentially damaging.
This is because the market is constantly evolving and you need to assess what the best vehicle is to meet your objectives.
If fleet managers are willing to innovate, learn from other sectors and be open to collaborating with experts, there are proven means of delivering better performance and decreased lifetime costs of their fleets.
The essential thing is to research what is on offer, and identify the right partner or approach that will deliver your fleet’s objectives in the optimum way to service your local authority.