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Fleet News award winner: Fleet of the year 501-1,000 vehicles: Ashfield In2Focus

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Ashfield In2Focus ticks all the boxes when it comes to managing an effective and efficient fleet.

Chief among its concerns is ensuring the safety of its drivers, which didn’t go unnoticed by the judges at the 2013 Fleet News Awards.

They praised the company’s ‘robust safety policy’ and named it Fleet of the Year in the 501-1,000 vehicle category.

Ashfield In2Focus insists that every driver takes a Rospa risk assessment so their driving style can be evaluated, before embarking on road safety training, regardless of the results of their risk assessment.

It’s a proactive approach that allows the company to identify any potential issues before they arise.

All road safety incidents are also reviewed at its bi-monthly health and safety committee meetings.

Helen Walne, fleet and business services manager, explains: “As part of our duty of care, if an incident of this type arises, a nominated member of the committee is responsible for having regular contact with the injured employee throughout the recovery process.

"This measure was introduced to offer the employee support and to ensure that they are given the opportunity to raise any issues or concerns.”

The committee also discusses any driver incident trends that become apparent and may need addressing with further training.
Walne adds: “We check all of our drivers’ licences through the DVLA, as well as keeping hard copies on file.” 

As an extra precaution, all field-based managers carry out a vehicle check on each field visit.

“If anything is found that may compromise the safety of the driver, the manager will report the necessary details to the fleet department for further action,” says Walne.

Fleet News: How does the nature of your business impact on the lifecycle of your fleet?

Helen Walne: Ashfield In2Focus is primarily a contract sales organisation for the pharmaceutical industry.

We supply sales and nurse field teams to our clients on a contractual basis.

When a contract comes to an end, the team will either be disbanded or extended for another term.

Due to the nature of the business, we must ensure that at all times our vehicles can be managed for the minimum possible cost.

The majority of our fleet is on two-year lease cycle, with our management team on a three-year lease cycle.

Vehicle orders are planned at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure the allocation process is efficient.

If this process is not managed effectively, there is a risk of holding a large number of standing vehicles, the average cost of which is £10.20 per vehicle, per day.

We work closely with our lease provider to monitor the fleet, making alterations to lease lengths and mileages as and when required in line with the business need.

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