Lost productivity caused by fleet drivers’ breakdowns has increased by almost 20% year-on-year, according to the latest research. But, says software solutions provider, Mycompanyfleet, better utilisation of existing vehicles could go a considerable way to reducing fleet downtime and cutting replacement vehicle costs into the bargain.
According to the latest figures from motoring organisation, the RAC, some 17,667 working days were lost last year due to breakdowns, some of which, including lack of a full-size replacement tyre, were blame-free, but an increasing proportion of which were down to driver error, including running out of fuel.
It’s a horror story which is costing UK companies millions in lost productivity, but better management of vehicles available elsewhere in the organisation could go some way to reducing vehicle downtime and getting drivers back on the road more quickly and cost effectively.
For example, vehicles that are freed up when employees leave through redundancy or natural wastage can often lay unused for days, sometimes weeks, before they are re-allocated or returned to the vehicle supplier, especially in a multi-site situation.
Quite often they can be in locations very near to where they are required. In one example, a Mycompanyfleet customer who had been resorting to short term hire to meet local mobility needs was able to identify that it had spare vehicles in the car park at another office only 20 minutes away through the use of his FleetHR fleet software system.
By utilising those spare vehicles back within the fleet, it was able to make savings running into thousands of pounds that would have otherwise been incurred in terms of short term hire costs.
By having all vehicle details entered and up-to-date on a fleet software system, such as Fleet HR, it is possible to keep a much closer control of the whereabouts of vehicles across different sites at various locations.
That’s the view from Mycompanyfleet product manager, Paul Jackson, who says that powerful dashboard tools within the company’s fleet management software solutions can show fleet managers which vehicles are unavailable and for how long, and also highlight where under-utilised vehicles are within the organisation, so that replacements can be found quickly and effectively.
““It’s frightening just how many fleets don’t know what vehicles are available, which are unavailable, and for how long.
“At Mycompanyfleet, we strongly believe that being able to actively manage unavailable vehicles is the key to reducing a considerable proportion of lost productivity and is within the fleet manager’s power to control.
“The powerful dashboard tool s we employ within our fleet management systems constantly check on unavailable vehicles and monitor when they will become available again.
“This allows the fleet manger to easily assess whether a pool car or short term rental vehicle is required, thus saving replacement vehicle costs which can rapidly mount up if your records are not 100% up to date.” he said.
Jackson said that it was possible to reduce replacement vehicle costs by utilising dashboard reports to show exactly when cars were unavailable and identify within the organisation where vehicles were located which were not being utilised fully.
He said: “On a standard 300 car fleet, if 10% of vehicles are unavailable for several days and you book rental vehicles for each one, you are looking at significant replacement vehicle costs. Yet, the fleet manager has the power to make substantial savings by just being able to make more an informed decisions based on the data output via the dashboard.”
The dashboards can be pre-set to flag up exceptions on a three, two or even daily basis, such as vehicles becoming free across multiple locations within the business, allowing the fleet manager to take the appropriate action to re-allocate vehicles as quickly and effectively as possible.
Paul Jackson added: “Companies are all too ready to bring in daily rental or short term hire vehicles to meet their short term mobility needs, without first taking stock of what vehicles they already have on the fleet which are currently being under-utilised.
“By keeping better control of all vehicles on the fleet through the fleet management system in this way, available vehicles can be matched to those locations where they are most needed and vehicle utilisation and cost control improved dramatically.”