Black and white policies best for grey fleets

Grey fleets can provide huge cost benefits to organisations of not having to manage the procurement, servicing and defleeting processes associated with company fleets. However, there are some challenges that grey fleets pose for organisations as well. The major one of these is the absence of an overall picture of the state of the fleet, which can expose a firm to risk.

Duty of care is becoming an important aspect of fleet management in countries like Australia and New Zealand where legislation is increasingly being tightened around employee health and safety. It is forcing companies to stop and take a look at their processes and policies, ensuring that they have measures in place to guarantee the safety of employees and the general public as much as they can.

Duty of care for fleet managers revolves around providing a safe working environment for their employees, which in this case includes their work vehicles. It is about ensuring that the vehicle is up to date with safety checks, warrants and registrations, and isn’t a risk to the general public who they share the road with.

For fleet managers who have grey fleets, this can be a particularly difficult task as they typically have no visibility to the state of a vehicle, even though they have a duty of care to ensure it is safe. There is a huge reliance on the drivers and owners of the vehicles to be transparent about the servicing and maintenance of their vehicles.

Without a view of the state of the entire fleet, managers are essentially operating in the dark. It will ultimately still fall back on them regardless of what they know or don’t know about the individual vehicles. This makes it important for fleet managers to know the state of each vehicle in their fleet and play an active part in ensuring it is kept to certain standards.

One way managers can help regain control over their grey fleets is putting black and white policies, processes and systems in place. This ensures that more information is available to them and that safety standards throughout their fleet are increased, thereby decreasing their liability.

Spending time establishing a complete set of policies around your fleets can help to increase visibility and control over them. Some key attributes that policies should cover include driver licencing, registrations, vehicle age, servicing, and incident reports.

By including the above attributes into policy, you are ensuring that at the beginning of every employment agreement where a personal car is being used for work, you are setting in place a baseline for the fleet and gathering the information required to manage it.

It also reduces the liability associated with the fleet manager as they have put the measures and “rules” in place for vehicles, placing responsibility on the owner of the vehicle to adhere to these.

No matter how good your policies are, if you don’t have an adequate system to manage the vehicle data, you won’t gain the visibility required. A system that allows drivers to input their own mileage, servicing needs, safety checks and incidents while providing managers an overall view of the state of their fleet can improve efficiencies, reduce risk and provide peace-of-mind.

By gaining back control and visibility over your grey fleets you can ensure that you are providing a safe and secure working environment for your employees, better aligning yourself with duty of care legislations and gaining some personal peace-of-mind.

To find out more about grey fleets and some of the ways in which you can gain visibility over the fleet, read our white paper “Taking Grey Fleets out of the grey area”.