In today’s competitive business environment, human resources departments are becoming increasingly time poor giving them little opportunity to search for new and competitive financial offers, especially in fleet management, writes Sean Bingham, Director of New Business, Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance.
The good news is that the fleet services’ sector has become increasingly crowded, meaning that there is a plentiful supply of deals on the market. But what should fleet decision makers look out for when setting up a contract or reviewing their requirements?
Any reputable fleet management provider needs to work from the ground up; starting with the basics, getting to know an organisation, its philosophy and its culture. With this understanding a solution can be put forward which is right for a company.
With fleet management it’s not as simple as one package fits all. Fleet decision makers need to be aware that there are many considerations that a good fleet management company needs to appraise.
For example, the industry you are in, the company objectives, operational issues such as petrol versus diesel, mileage and term, a mixed fleet of cars and vans, solus badge or all makes. The devil is in the detail and formulating the correct policy is the cornerstone of a cost effective and efficient fleet.
However, while cost effective solutions to fleet management are key, it also pays to look at the whole picture. A good fleet management company will offer an extensive product range, which encompasses all forms of vehicle leasing and fleet management. This includes contract hire and contract purchase, right through to corporate contract purchase and employee car ownership schemes (ECO).
Your chosen fleet provider should also be able to work with you on your long term planning, to maximise benefits from financial, tax and other legislative controls to select a finance product, or selection of products, which are the most beneficial for you.
Likewise, your choice of product(s) should be supported by a complimentary range of services including accident management, fleet control software, maintenance, relief vehicles, vehicle sourcing and vehicle disposal.
In fact when it comes to fleet management there has never been a better time to check that you are getting the best deal to suit the needs of your company and employers.
Findings from a Bank of Scotland report, ‘Company Cars – The Driver Perspective’ 2004 found that the British workforce considers the company car more important that a profit share bonus scheme, a generous holiday allowance, flexible working times and even healthcare provision.
In fact, the taxation changes of recent years have done nothing to diminish the fact that a company car remains one of the most sought after perks for employees.
However, there are also wider issues to consider around the use of the company car such as the introduction of a culture of care and responsibility.
Of course it would be naïve to say that policy alone could help stop accidents altogether as there are many factors which contribute to their occurrence.
What companies should be asking is, ‘are accidents something that just happen or are they events which can be managed?’ Whatever the truth of accidents amongst company car drivers, the financial case for introducing risk management measures, whether it’s driver training or looking at journey times and schedules in an effort to reduce mileage is clear.
Accidents are a significant proportion of the cost of running a company car and the true cost of accidents – time off work through injury and disruption to work patterns can represent a considerable loss for a business.
A good fleet management company will work with you to implement the infrastructure to monitor drivers as part of an ongoing and growing relationship.
Expect nothing less than a multi disciplined customer response team who will consistently provide you with fast and accurate information, whether it’s working with you to review your own fleet performance or providing you with up to the minute research on key industry issues. It certainly shouldn’t be a case of the deal is done and now the door is shut.