Competition between suppliers is fierce and fleets expect to see results in a short space of time.
So finding a reputable provider who can meet all requirements is often difficult with many companies offering packages as a sideline to their main business.
One group which prides itself on solely providing risk management is Fleet News Award winner Essential Risk Consultancy, which scooped this year’s Best Risk Management Company, sponsored by Northgate.
Jeremy Hay, director of the group, said: ‘We do nothing but risk. We focus purely on assessing fleets’ risk and producing results for clients purely by raising awareness, improving their processes and helping them to manage attitudes within their organisation.
‘The biggest joy for us is to go back to a company a year later and the accident rate is down and the company can see the results.’
It can sometimes be difficult to make fleets understand how much they will benefit from introducing a risk management system, says Hay, which is why Essential provides fleets with a detailed analysis of what return they could expect on a set investment.
Hay explained: ‘This is the main point. Fleets are a business tool and clients need to be able to make a clear business case for the level of investment they put into tackling fleet risk.
‘In 2004, we launched a detailed return-on-investment model that quantifies the costs and benefits so clients can make a sound judgement.’
Producing returns is obviously the end result of risk management but for any scheme to work fleets must provide the risk manager with enough data to work on. This is then collated and becomes part of a continual risk evaluation.
Hay said: ‘Risk consultancy must make a huge return to have an impact for fleets but the key is how you use the data gathered, what trends there are and how to stop accidents in future.
‘We spend years working with most of our clients. After the initial visit we stay in touch with email, then a year later we go back and see them. We check to see if the company has done what it said it would do.’
This follow-up procedure includes a feedback process to check satisfaction and enables Essential to look for improvements. This is completed at the end of each assignment.
Essential launched several new products in 2004, including a driver history database which allows companies to collate data from internal departments and external suppliers.
There is also a small fleet product for very small firms and a Risk Plus Service which is an outsourced risk management service.
However, despite the high profile risk management enjoys, Hay says it is surprising how little some fleets know about the subject. He said: ‘Many employment contracts and policies are out of date and fleets need to ask when contracts were last updated.
‘Not many fleets look at the legal implications of a policy. Can you actually fire someone for drink driving? If it is not written in the employee’s contract then it is questionable.
‘There have been 400 pieces of European legislation in the past four years and even small changes such as the working time directive have to be updated on a policy or contract.’
This kind of scrutiny is part and parcel of Essential’s work. Constantly bringing risk issues to the forefront of a fleet’s agenda helps put risk on the map and in the minds of fleet managers.
What the judges said
ONE judge commented that this company was the future of risk management. Essential Risk Consultancy is backed by some of the most highly respected names in the risk management industry.
The firm offers in-depth consultancy and advice services, including a return-on-investment examination.
It also provided evidence of its provision of clear forward-looking advice on how any company can tackle at-work road risk.
Ten ‘essential’ facts about risk
1. 300 safety audits on company fleets found that at least 65% of companies do not have adequate employment contracts to cover all issues
2. 50% of employers don't have a drug/alcohol workplace policy. Where they do, only 10% of managers can put their hand on a copy, and when they can, half of the policies need up-dating
3. 13% of drink-drive convictions are ‘morning after’, while motorists are on the way to work or a business appointment
4. Tyres are critical to fleet risk, yet surveys show 12% of all vehicles checked have at least one illegal/defective tyre and a further 14% have tyres with between 2mm and the legal 1.6mm minimum tread depth remaining
5. Fewer than 1% of directors are aware of all the legislation under which companies or individual directors can be prosecuted over an accident involving a vehicle driven by an employee, be it their own vehicle or one provided by the company 6.
Only 0.5% of directors know that the police are now pushing for managers to be brought to court for aiding and abetting when there is an incident involving vehicles driven on company business
7. Fewer than 1% of companies maintained an audit trail to show they had assessed occupational road risk providing vital evident in the event of a police investigation
8. Sheep can recognise the faces of up to 50 other sheep – the number of people in your organisation that each manager knows has still to be ascertained
9. The Home Office has increased prison sentences from 10 to 14 years for motorists convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs 10.
Under 25-year-olds are more likely to drive after smoking cannabis than drinking alcohol