On our last edition, we shared the nitty-gritty involved in managing your transportation of persons or goods via the right vehicles with essential vehicle operations deliberated on. This edition throws more light on the systems involved in fleet management.
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In recent times, to address problems in fleet management and the ever expanding need to monitor usage of vehicles, commercial organisations have designed automated control systems and other approaches to vehicle management. Simple management systems can be designed in-house for internal use to provide a good analysis of the vehicles and driver performance.
Vehicle management systems are structured in a way that enables the capturing of information on various aspects of fleet usage, maintenance and operations. For example: distance travelled; destinations reached; distance travelled by vehicle showing official and private mileage; fuel consumption; repair and maintenance per vehicle; rate of consumption of spare parts; and servicing planned and completed.
The reports can be produced on a weekly, monthly or bi-monthly basis, depending on the needs of the organisation. Weekly reports may comprise a summary weekly refuelling by vehicle – which may highlight any exceptions to targets set per vehicle, whereas monthly reports may comprise: summary refuelling by vehicle and average fuel consumption; summary mileage per vehicle; repairs or maintenance; and any accidents.
Vehicle maintenance and up-keep
Vehicles are regularly maintained for optimum performance, and kept in good repair. In emergency situations the Logistician is sometimes tasked with the responsibility of managing the vehicle fleet. To streamline vehicle management the FM should put in place a simple process. Such a process could entail the following:
There are three main options;
In house maintenance – performed using the facilities and staff of the organisation.
Outsourced maintenance – under taken by an outside contractor.
Contract hire – undertaken by an outside contractor as part of a vehicle operating system.
Our options are a selective mix, which is preventative and under the control of a competent manager. Thus, you can be assured that our vehicles are never quick to decline.
Our vehicle maintenance schedules are drawn up together with, and published by the FM as part of the vehicle planning?
All members of our management team are committed to respecting the scheduled dates for maintenance.
A master vehicle inspection and servicing schedule has been drawn up for one year with a recommended wall chart, which can also be used to show road tax renewal, annual inspection dates, etc.
Vehicle servicing is a compromise between inadequate attention, resulting in progressive deterioration in condition and the ensuing serious consequences, and too much attention, which is costly and unnecessary.
The person responsible for the condition of the vehicles must decide the scope of the servicing work required and how often this should be carried out; taking into account the manufacturer’s guidelines and kilometres travelled and in which type of environment the vehicle has been used.
This is an on-going operation. This type of maintenance addresses the basic things that could cause a problem in vehicles if they are not properly maintained. The Logistician or FM develops an inspection check-list to be used by all drivers as a guide.
Each day, the first driver to use a vehicle will inspect the vehicle using the check-list.
This type of maintenance is done on a monthly basis. It may cover the following:
The vehicle supervisor would periodically organise a test drive on each vehicle and report on its condition and also ensure that normal/regular service has been done for all vehicles; tyres: any abnormal wearing should be reported to the FM; and cleaning of the engine at least once a month.
In emergency situations, in the absence of local facilities, the organisation would have to undertake its own maintenance and ensure that an experienced mechanic is hired; a secure workshop area is identified or set up; the necessary tool and equipment are available; there is continuous performance monitoring and a system for measuring & monitoring: fleet performance; costs and performance.
Selection of Garage
Based on the organization’s needs, the criteria for selection of the right garage are set with the input of the Logistics officer and the FM, keeping in mind the organisations approved procurement procedures.
This aspect of vehicle management is very sensitive and is often abused. It is therefore necessary to have a clearly defined policy regarding vehicle usage and staff benefits. We make it our duty to provide light vehicles for office or personal operations and heavy vehicles required in the urban setting for field operations.
Running old vehicles may lead to high costs of maintenance and uneconomical fuel consumption. To avoid this, we have approved and clearly stipulated policies and procedures on how and when to replace and dispose of vehicles/assets (See sample on Disposal of Assets policy). The need to dispose may arise due to any of the following reasons:
Extensive repairable damage, or cost-prohibitive repairs; when the vehicle attains the stipulated mileage or years for disposal; when the vehicle is no longer economically sustainable; when the vehicle is no-longer required; and when programs downscale or shut down.
The disposal procedure applied for vehicles will apply for all other assets such as: generators, boats/canoes/barges, motorcycles, fork lift trucks, etc.
Health, Safety & Security
Vehicle safety is one of the key roles of the FM. It leads to staff safety and enhances road safety. WHO estimates 1.2 million people died and 50 million were injured in road crashes in 2002. Prior to this report, it is our sole responsibility to apply all health and safety measures required in vehicles and fleet management operations.
The key to successful observance of health and safety is the development of an organisational culture of awareness of, and compliance with health and safety issues. To ensure that this is possible the Health & Safety policy document is practically incorporated within Otobase Solutions day to day tasks.
Health & Safety Specifics in Fleet Management
Our organisation manages routine minor repairs and vehicle service workshops. Our basic health and safety measures for workshops are:
Clear environments around work stations; completed risk assessments and action taken where risks are highlighted, i.e. warning tape on raised flooring; inductions; practice drills for fire evacuation; and availability of and mandatory use of safety equipment such a goggles, boots, gloves, etc.
There are five areas specific to transport management where local health and safety procedures will probably need to be agreed and documented by the fleet technical staff:
As part of fleet management, we divide our drivers into categories based on skills and competence. Constant evaluation of their skills, regular training and refresher courses helps improve their driving and vehicle performance, reduce number of accidents and reduce maintenance costs.
Our organization has the responsibility of identifying relevant training and courses available. These could be included in organizational capacity building programs for drivers.
Finally, it is pertinent that you know that fleet management in organisations is expensive. Vehicles are valuable assets and critical for business continuity. They therefore require adequate attention, and we make it our duty to give it intense attention to keep our clients satisfied and happy always.
For more enquiries on our fleet management and haulage services, please send us a mail: info [@] otobasesolutions.com. We are ever ready to serve you with the best safety measure and your interest in mind.