Fleet News

Scaremongering is ‘a setback for industry’

More fleet managers have complained about suppliers scaremongering to sell their products.

Recently Fleet News told how some fleet managers are being turned off risk management products because of hard-sell tactics (Fleet News, July 26).

Steve Johnson, of the Fleet Safety Association, said he agreed with the criticism.

“It has arguably taken more than a decade to get the industry to accept the concept of driver risk management and those resorting to this kind of behaviour are effectively undoing years of good work by the reputable suppliers,” he said.

“Unfortunately, duty of care seems to be the buzzword of the moment and what has not helped is the plethora of conferences and seminars on the topic.

“I can totally understand fleet managers getting overwhelmed and consequently taking a sceptical view about the whole issue.”

Ann Dukanovic, fleet manager for Kaba Door Systems said suppliers underestimated the intelligence of fleet managers.

“We are not gullible nor panicky,” she said.

“Anyone worth their salt in this business is very aware and proactive in this area. We all know we have to keep documentation and that we need to be in possession of up to date copies of everything.

“It is about time we were given credit for our knowledge and awareness. No amount of software or programmes will gather documentation for us. It is our responsibility to collect the data and keep it refreshed.

“I, for one, do not take any notice of the wording of their advertisements. It certainly would not make me feel I had to purchase the product – quite the opposite.”

Dermot Coughlan, transport manager for Kelly Communications, said: “There’s no doubt that decent software can aid the management of a fleet but I feel that some of the articles, adverts and mails we receive do attempt to make us purchase out of fear that we may have missed something.

“However, there are loads of organisations where duty-of-care information can be found without spending thousands.

“I don’t think many experienced professionals are taken in by this type of heavy selling. Most know what they want from a system before they go looking.”

But Alan Basham, fleet administrator for Ellenor Foundation, said it was time the government stepped in.

“We need clear advice from the government – they should set the framework that explains that if you don’t do x, y and z, you could go to jail,” he said.

“Until this happens, we can only do as we think fit, and taking the advice of specialist companies will form part of this.”

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