Myriad factors are at work when it comes to choosing the right software to manage a fleet of pool cars.
The right product is likely to depend on the number of pool cars in operation, the frequency of their use, the number of employees who use them and the objectives of the company operating them.
But, by common consensus, when pool car fleet management software works effectively it can dramatically increase the amount of use those vehicles are put to.
And increased vehicle utilisation can help save a company thousands of pounds.
Indeed, it is not unusual for organisations to witness the utilisation of their pool car fleets rise from around 50% to between 70% and 90% as a direct result of installing appropriate software to manage the process.
In essence, these software packages – which can be either off-the-shelf or bespoke – allow fleet managers to set performance indicators and then monitor their progress against them.
Among the most frequently used indicators are: cost, fuel usage, SMR scheduling and frequency of use.
But the uses to which the software can be put go much further than that.
For example, some systems allow fleet managers to receive automated reports and notifications relating to excessive mileage – which is particularly useful if that pool vehicle is leased with a limited total mileage.
This information can then be analysed to assess whether it might be cheaper for certain drivers to have a company vehicle.
And many more organisations also build into the software ‘authorisation procedures’ so that users can only book pool cars suitable for their role or grade.
Indeed, when it comes to duty of care, many software packages provide a comprehensive audit trail relating to both vehicle maintenance and driver usage.
Ashley Sowerby, managing director of Chevin Fleet Solutions which operates across Europe, America and Australia, has seen business grow by 10% over the past year.
He believes that one of the main reasons for this is because the “value of pool car data” is now patent to customers.
He adds: “Our software analyses this data.
"One of our most recent innovations is the management report suite which takes low level data and presents it to everyone who needs it.
For example, we are aware that different users – like chief executives and finance officers – require different information and they can now receive this in an understandable way that is tailored to their individual needs.