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Fleet News roundtable: Boardroom buy-in crucial to robust driver management

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Fleets employ myriad measures to keep their drivers safe and reduce accidents when implementing a successful risk management policy.

Vehicle checks, staff training and the use of technology such as telematics can all play their part, but boardroom buy-in is also crucial to their success.

Fleet decision-makers at the latest Fleet News roundtable, sponsored by Trimble, discussed the issues they are facing and what tactics they are employing to tackle them.

What measures are you taking to manage your drivers?

Paul Tate, fleet manager, Siemens: We have an online programme which attempts to give us a picture of the driving habits of an employee. It gives us the potential risk factor of each driver.

Stewart Lightbody, group fleet manager, Kier Group: The danger is that once you have the information you do nothing with it.

Paul Tate: You need to present the data to the driver and discuss it with them.

Rory Morgan, national logistics general manager, Iron Mountain: We have telematics in our UK and Irish vehicles and by using the information and talking to the drivers they begin to understand that they don’t have to charge around to get the job done.It’s about winning hearts and minds.Our key performance indicator for on-time deliveries is at 99.7 and it’s improving.

However, you need to manipulate scheduling where necessary. If a driver needs an extra five minutes then he’ll get an extra five minutes built on the historical data we’ve received.

Drivers begin to understand we’re working with them rather than simply taking the big stick approach.

There are many ways to train and assess drivers, but what are the ways you feel work best?

Mike Revell, group plant and transport director, The Clancy Group: At the induction stage you have to take the person out on the road and we have driver trainers that go out with them.  Whether they drive a car, a van, a light goods vehicle or a heavy goods vehicle, they’ve all got to be assessed.

Rory Morgan: We assess the drivers at interview stage. If they get through the interview they are assessed on the road before being given the job.

Pat Brown, fleet manager, Carillion Fleet Management: If you’re going out on an assessment you’re going to drive perfectly; it can give a false impression. For us, telematics has been key.

We know how drivers are braking, how they’re accelerating, and how they’re changing gear. We now have a full picture of how they’re driving on a day-by-day basis and we’ve seen a massive reduction in accidents and fuel consumption.

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