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GE Capital’s achievements over the past few years read like a wishlist from any fleet manager: reduce costs for business and driver alike, keep drivers safer through significantly reducing accident rates and considerably cut average vehicle CO2 emissions.

These improvements have resulted from a range of intitiatives, including its Safe Solutions risk management programme and a company car re-launch to increase take-up, but Damion Bennett, company car compliance advisor, says communication and education have also played a central role.

Fleet News: The Safe Solutions programme was launched in 2008 – what does this involve and what effect has it had on accident rates?

Damion Bennett: Over the period we’ve achieved a 20% reduction in accidents and a 50% fall in average accident costs through implementing GE’s Safe Solutions programme to our own company car driver base.

Not only has this been a significant reduction in the frequency of incidents, but evidences a remarkable reduction in the overall severity of incidents.

By replicating the same risk programme we offer to our customers, the  menu-driven Safe Solutions programme has allowed us to introduce licence checking across both the company car driver population and grey fleet users, online driver training assessment and training, specialised on-road driver training for high-risk staff and in-depth post-accident investigation interviews which help us identify areas for further driver support, including counselling and confidence-building through training and education.

As a result we can evidence to our customers at first hand the benefits of a structured and targeted risk management programme.

FN: A company car re-launch at the beginning of 2011 saw a significant shift from cash takers into company cars. How was this achieved and what benefit has this had for GE Capital?

DB: GE Capital prides itself on a ‘customer-driven agenda’ and our own internal car policy is no different.

By completely re-designing and re-thinking our policy and communications strategy based on driver and employee feedback we have seen 28 long-term cash takers return to cars.

The benefits for GE Capital that come from the review of the car policy framework have been major improvements in cost reduction, safety and in the environmental performance of our own fleet.

By introducing a wholelife cost methodology, combined with our global corporate leverage that identified and sourced the most fuel and tax efficient vehicles, we’ve been able to create a choice list centred on low CO2 models that has proved highly attractive to the legacy cash taker population.

Very importantly, and central to the success of cash-taker penetration, has been the comprehensive programme of driver feedback where we listened and acted upon the specific needs of all of our drivers.

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