Analysing past fleet costs is the first step to controlling future budgets, said Stephen de Launay, head of implementations at Chevin.
“If you don’t know what your costs are you can’t control them,” he added. “It is much easier to manage every aspect of fleet costs and to set up good processes if you know exactly what is going on.”
De Launay recommended fleets should examine their costs over the previous 12 months to see what factors affected their budgets.
These could include a high accident rate, vehicles off the road for unscheduled maintenance or a change in tax laws.
“The problem with the future is that you can’t really predict it,” said De Launay.
“However, if you understand what has happened before, you will have a better understanding of what might happen, so when you are planning your budget for future years you have got some core facts and figures to base your strategy on.”
He also passed on his top strategies for a number of areas of fleet management:
N Maintenance: fleets which outright purchase vehicles should use off-the-shelf service packs to reduce the cost of regular servicing.
N Driver behaviour: Look to improve the standard of driving. Bad driving results in lower fuel economy, higher maintenance costs, lower vehicle utilisation, higher risk of accidents and increased legal costs.
N Downtime and safety: prevent and minimise downtime by carrying out regular vehicle checks. Drivers should report defects the first time they see them.
“Many cars only need a service every two years or 20,000 miles, which is quite a long time without somebody looking at it,” said De Launay.
“That means that vehicle issues are often not picked up until they need major work, whereas reporting defects before they develop into bigger problems can reduce the amount of time the vehicle will be off the road.”