Software savvy fleet decision-makers such as BCA’s award-winning fleet manager Marie Jarrold are increasingly turning to sophisticated web-based IT to provide effective and efficient management of vehicles alongside administration and cost savings.
Ms Jarrold, who is in charge of 470 vehicles at vehicle auction giant BCA, has been using Jaama’s Key2 Vehicle Management system for almost six years.
An Institute of Fleet Management diploma holder and Council member, Ms Jarrold said: “Fleet software is an absolute must. Fleet managers need a one-stop database that can hold and manipulate a volume of fleet data to improve overall management, efficiency and control and meet the needs of duty of care. 
“This will also bring in cost savings, as data can be pulled on the life of the vehicle from vehicle acquisition to vehicle disposal, giving the fleet manager the opportunity to monitor, review and recommend vehicle choices on the fleet and monitor suppliers.”
BCA introduced Key2 as its previous software system was outdated and had to be supplemented with additional spread sheets to record vital data.
Ms Jarrold, Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year in 2008 and 2009 in the 101-400 vehicle category and Fleet Manager of the Year in the 2009 Fleet World Honours, said: “It had all become very time-consuming and I was frequently playing hunt the spread sheet as I tried to find information to enable me to compile management reports.”
In addition to providing management control, Ms Jarrold also identifies a number of other benefits. She said: “There are definite savings in time in utilising the main functions and daily application of Key 2. Additionally, having the ability to compare costs relating to drivers, vehicles and financials from different service providers can bring larger savings benefits to the fleet.”
Jaama’s multi-award-winning Key2 software is designed to meet the principle requirements of: saving time, controlling and reducing operating costs, providing management information on demand or by exception, integrating with other business software and processes, improving levels of service, helping to achieve best practice and ensuring vehicle and driver – including ‘grey’ fleet – compliance.
Many fleets have suppliers and rely on those providers to deliver a range of services.
Consequently, it is important that businesses, such as BCA, can integrate data feeds from a number of sources into a centralised software system and marry them together to produce management information for analytical purposes and exception reporting. That enables Ms Jarrold to effectively and efficiently manage third party services.
Ms Jarrold uses a multitude of Key2 functionality to manage vehicles and drivers – including drivers being able to remotely access the system through Electronic Driver Services (EDS) to input monthly mileage data; fuel card date directly imported into Key2 and checked with exceptions highlighted; and the production and submission of all P46 and P11D information that in turn is submitted electronically to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) saving administration time and postage costs.
She said: “Key2 is the hub of an operation that receives data from our suppliers; inputs from drivers, is accessed by our finance and insurance department and has an electronic link via payroll to HMRC. That makes us significantly more efficient than previously and compliant with the demands made on the fleet department.
“Additionally, that integration eliminates the potential for errors as a result of inputting data multiple times with the software also highlighting any erroneous or non-compliant data by exception due to rule sets we have implemented.
“The more streamline and efficient we can become through greater integration will drive even greater best practice and reduce costs, which is what we are after.”
In selecting Key2, Ms Jarrold said: “We wanted to ensure we not only had the software applications necessary for the day-to-day running of the fleet, but also to improve overall efficiency and record the data to meet the increasing needs of duty of care. There is an essential need to monitor and report on areas of ‘driver’ and ‘vehicle’ risk, such as driving licence endorsements, accidents, driver details and major vehicle repairs.”
Ms Jarrold concluded: “We have a modern system that is capable of further function expansion and provides me with a reservoir of data that is all stored in one place to monitor, measure and compare and contrast the performance of individual drivers and vehicles effectively.
“The system is forward-thinking and practical for our business requirements in the running of the fleet. It is simple to use and offers a great deal of control. If we didn’t have Key2, fleet management would be significantly harder and I would be concerned that some issues may slip through the net.
“I wouldn’t want to go back to where we were before Key2. Fleet managers that are not using software or have an outdated system don’t realise how their lives will change. It is a great tool.”
Jaama managing director Martin Evans said: “We are in the midst of a technology revolution and today’s forward-thinking fleet operators can take advantage of available technology to maximise their fleet effectiveness. In turn the management information they can supply to their bosses on every facet of fleet functionality has never been more detailed or more accurate.”