Fleet News

ACFO annual meeting: the real cost of culture clashes

MORE than two-thirds of people who get rid of a supplier do so because they are unhappy with the staff they talk to, the ACFO annual meeting heard.

Such a massive impact from a personal relationship is a vital lesson to learn for fleet suppliers when they are considering the standard of their services.

Although the example comes from the banking industry, leading marketing expert Simon Gulliford said it fitted with other industries as well. It also shows where there is a significant clash of cultures between suppliers and customers.

When customers and suppliers were surveyed about the most important aspect of their service, most customers said reliability, while most suppliers said responsiveness.

This showed that customers wanted a hassle-free, problem-free service, while suppliers concentrated more on fixing problems quickly, even though the problems should not have happened in the first place.

But fixing processes must not be at the expense of the service customers receive, he said. For example, a sausage factory makes 20 million sausages a year that are 100% error free.

‘The problem,’ Gulliford explains, ‘is that they taste awful.’

He encouraged companies to avoid following the herd in launching products and services, adding: ‘You can’t predict what your competitors are going to do or even who they will be.

‘So why spend so much time keeping score, rather than trying to win. A great business or service is one that takes the data everyone else has to create a different picture and delivers service for which the customer will pay a small premium.’

Fleet bosses are judges in death-crash scenario

FLEET decision-makers turned judge and jury at the annual meeting to see first-hand how an accident might put them in the dock.

Delegates were asked to judge a fictional case in which a fleet driver had collided with another car, killing the two occupants, a mother and her four-year-old son.

The fleet driver, who used a 4x4, had received two speeding penalties in the past nine months. Importantly, the driver was speeding through rush hour traffic, 15 minutes before an important meeting.

Evidence showed he had taken a computer-based risk assessment but it hadn’t been followed up even though he was high risk. He knew there was a driving policy but wasn’t sure what it contained.

The vehicle had covered 18,000 miles and had missed its 10,000 mile service, but neither car was in a dangerous state.

The prosecution charged the driver with causing death by dangerous driving and the fleet manager and managing director of the company with aiding and abetting death by dangerous driving. The prosecution also charged the company with manslaughter by gross negligence, using an unsafe system of work and failure to maintain work equipment.

The defence argued none of the charges stood up because it could not be proved the employee was driving dangerously. The company hadn’t ignored its duty of care and the vehicle was not unsafe.

The jury of fleet decision-makers backed the defence, but was split when it came to voting about the failure to maintain work equipment.

A spokesman for ACFO said: ‘We wanted to provide something that was a bit more stimulating than just a presentation and got everyone thinking about the consequences of their actions.’

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