Managing a huge amount of data is becoming a growing issue for fleet managers, as technology and processes such as telematics and driver risk assessments become more widespread.
This has been a challenge for many of the attendees at the Fleet News Awards finalists roundtable in London, sponsored by Škoda, with a number of attendees using fleet management software to help them.
Other issues discussed included the adoption of electric vehicles and managing the grey fleet.
Fleet News: How are you managing data?
Alison Moriarty, fleet road risk manager, Skanska: Over the past 18 months we’ve introduced the Key2 system from Jaama and, apart from telematics which we are close to getting in, we’ve got every bit of information about every driver and vehicle in there.
It’s got collisions, endorsements on licences, whether they’ve undergone a risk assessment and the associated training, their age, the miles travelled. It makes giving meaningful management information to the various parts of the business a doddle whereas before we were pulling things from lots and lots of different systems and trying to look at different trends. It was just impossible.
This is great and in terms of risk profiling, it does give us a really good snapshot of every single driver in the business, whether that’s somebody in a commercial vehicle, company car or even someone who has got a car allowance if they are driving for the business.
Mark Woodworth, head of transport and logistics, Speedy Hire: We also run Jaama Key2. When Lycrecia (Lycrecia Rea, project manager – transport and logistics, Speedy Hire) joined, her first job was to get 14 systems into one and we are now down to three. We’ll never get to one because with telematics data Jaama is never going to produce a map for you, but we can see the average age of a driver in one of our grades etc., all within two or three minutes. We can now report on a huge amount of data very quickly.
Rory Morgan, head of logistics support – Western Europe, Iron Mountain: We use eDrive Fleet and we can access the same sort of data: we send in driving assessments, online assessments, licence history, incidents, tachographs, etc. You can then build a profile of that driver, so when the driver trainer goes to visit someone to take them out on his annual assessment, they’ve got a good idea of what the employee’s driving style is like even before they get in the vehicle.
The trainer doesn’t have to spend two hours with them to find out how they drive, while the employee is driving very carefully and watching his mirrors.
Mark Woodworth: We are trying to develop that at the moment. We want the driver trainer to be able to find out at the click of a button when the relevant employee is in the depot. If the driver trainer gets there and that driver has phoned in sick, they can say ‘while I’m in the depot, who’s the next highest risk driver?’ and they can click on a report, and it will give information on mileage, vehicle type etc.
Rory Morgan: For us, it is important to say that when we talk about high risk drivers, they may only be a high risk in comparison to the other drivers in our system. So someone we identify as high risk could be a very good driver, he’s just high risk compared to a fantastic driver. Doing this keeps you pushing for improvement.
Alison Moriarty: One of the important things when using a system like this is that you have to make it clear to your drivers that being identified as high risk doesn’t mean they are bad drivers. It’s about us identifying potential risk to them and we want them to get home safely at the end of the day.
FN: How do you manage your grey fleet?
Alison Moriarty: Probably one of the best things we’ve done in terms of our car fleet is that the fleet department has to sign off payment to anybody for driving for the company, whether they are company car allowance employees or very occasional users.
Having this control means if we haven’t seen all the documentation to show the driver and vehicle is compliant, then they can’t get any money out of the system: it’s impossible to get around it. Grey fleet is always that anomaly where you’ve got the least control, and we can exert more control by doing this. Also, all our grey fleet drivers are treated exactly the same as our company car drivers and do everything, such as risk assessments, our company car drivers do.
Luke Stanbridge, marketing director, Z-Tech Control Systems: Have you capped what they can drive for grey fleet as well?
Alison Moriarty: Yes. Cars need to be less than seven years old and we have a CO2 limit of 130g/km. Drivers also need to have eyesight checks as well.
David Millar, procurement manager, Advantage Smollan: When we were looking at the insurance certificates people were giving us when registering grey fleet cars, quite often we were finding certificates for vehicles belonging to their spouse or partner. Basically, they were saying ‘I’m registering a Fiat Punto with you, but actually I like to go around in my Ford Capri’. I’m picking cars out just to illustrate a point, but there is the risk drivers may be using something completely different to the vehicle they tell you about.
Graham Telfer, fleet manager, Gateshead Council: I can see a point not so far ahead where grey fleet will be frowned on as ‘why did you ever do it?’. If they are driving for you, put them in something that you’re in control of.
FN: Are you adopting electric vehicles?
Rory Morgan: We’ve got five electric Nissan vans on order for the UK which will be used in London simply because there isn’t the infrastructure anywhere else. We’ve got a Nissan in Amsterdam and the driver of that plans his route so he knows he can arrange to have his lunch break somewhere where he can stop and plug it in to charge it. Ten minutes on a fast charge will give 35% battery charge apparently. I recently went to lunch in an Amsterdam business park while I was over there: nice café, two electric charging points. So if you are popping out and taking somebody for a business lunch, you can charge while you eat and all the business parks are exactly the same.
Robert Whitmore, engineering (fleet and equipment) manager, London Fire Brigade: The infrastructure in the UK is the issue, isn’t it? If there’s going to be an increase in the uptake of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the infrastructure has to be there. We were lucky that our organisation had the foresight to take advantage of the Government grant and put 78 dual type fast charging points on our fire stations about three years ago which has facilitated us taking on our 57 EVs. Without them it’s a hopeless policy. However, if you are taking the analogy of a business lunch, if everybody is driving to the same place in an electric vehicle and it has only got two charging points, then the system is falling down.
Stewart Lightbody, head of fleet services, Anglian Water: I’m preparing a business case at the moment to put charging points in at five sites, such as our main offices and recreation sites like Grafham Water, where we have got a plug-in hybrid already. Some of the feedback is ‘why are we doing that?’ and the answer is that it’s the right thing to do.