Organisations struggling to tackle grey fleet drivers could learn from the cricketing world, says Arval.
Many organisations, of all sizes continue to struggle to deal with their legal occupational road risk management responsibilities in relation to the many thousands of UK employees who drive their own cars on business related journeys - the so-called grey fleet.
According to Mike Waters, Director of Market Insight at Arval, Europe’s leading fuel and fleet management company, organisations across both the private and public sectors are missing out on cost effective and practical solutions to tackle this important ongoing issue. He argues that the key to starting to address the problems of managing grey fleet use is to examine individual areas of the organisation’s work related journeys, rather than view it as a homogenous whole. This approach allows companies to more easily tackle their grey fleet management responsibilities and can help to highlight the most appropriate driver solutions from the wide range of options available.
While potentially frightened off by the perceived investment associated with either company car fleets, contract hire, short-term lease or rental provision, Arval argues that organisations should look beyond any perceived up-front costs. They should instead apply a total cost of operation approach to understanding their grey fleet commitments to help lay the foundations for solutions that can help them cut costs and fully meet legislative requirements.
Using an analogy from the world of cricket, Mike Waters suggests that to promote efficiencies among employees who drive for business, companies and organisations should seek to break down their total grey fleet into smaller more manageable groups to establish a real knowledge base. This will help highlight potential driver-led solutions.
Mike Waters says: “Varied formats of cricket, whether five day Test matches, shorter one day games or speedy 20:20 shoot-outs, require different planning, tactics and often players, and such thinking can be applied when it comes to understanding the various elements of managing a grey fleet on a day-to-day basis. A more flexible mindset that connects simple and appropriate driver support solutions to company grey fleet needs is pivotal when seeking to tackle grey fleet risk responsibilities.
“Breaking down and identifying the actual patterns involved with grey fleet use can really help clarify the best management solution for companies. It means that they can start to satisfy their legal responsibilities as an employer, and drive real efficiencies across their business travel expenditure.”
Stereotypical grey fleet scenarios include:
‘Test Match drivers ’ – Drivers undertaking frequent, long distance journeys for business using their own vehicles will submit regular high mileage reimbursement claims based upon HMRC’s Advisory Fuel Rates. These can be at 40p per mile, and in some cases considerably more, as employees are compensated for both fuel purchase and own vehicle ‘wear and tear’. High business mileage grey fleet drivers also bring with them increased risks around employer duty of care and legal responsibilities around vehicle suitability, reliability, ongoing maintenance, road worthiness and appropriate insurance and M.O.T cover. In this instance considering the merits of a company car together with fuel card support provides cost effective high mileage driving solutions that tackle duty of care and overall cost issues.
‘One Day drivers’ – Employers who ask employees to drive to regular off-site meetings, but who do not necessarily incur high mileage, could see benefits from either a mini-lease product, daily rental, short-term hire or even a pool car solution.
‘Twenty/Twenty drivers’ – Typical employee business related travel could involve short, local journeys in a vehicle which may well be old and therefore carry with it increased corporate liability. Providing a short-term rental vehicle or a properly managed company pool car for such needs could prove beneficial. Consideration could also be given to evolving technologies such as the use of electrical vehicles as a safe, low cost and environmentally friendly driving solution for local business travel needs.
Mike Waters concludes: “The ongoing management of a grey fleet can present real financial and duty of care challenges for organisations of all sizes. Examining the actual day-to-day business travel practice of all areas of the organisation will start to compartmentalise the varying needs of staff. Management can identify and separate high mileage users from the staff who only have to make shorter, more localised journeys on business, and then consider alternative, but specific driver solutions that could make a real dent in overall business travel costs, as well as satisfy employers’ duty of care and legal requirements.
“As in the modern forms seen in the cricketing world, ‘one size does not fit all’ and the same flexible thinking should be applied to an organisation’s business related driver travel support.”