Technology is critical to help employers have a 'cohesive, auditable and systemised' approach in place to manage 'grey fleet' drivers and their vehicles in addition to managing company cars and their drivers.
That was the view of Richard Evans, head of business development at Jaama, when he took part in a webinar on 'grey fleet' - privately owned vehicles driven on business journeys - hosted by UK premier fleet decision-makers’ organisation ACFO.
Employers, he told the webinar, entitled ‘Not so Grey: Managing Opt Out and Private Vehicles’, should make the same amount of time available to manage ‘grey fleet’ vehicles as they did company-provided vehicles but too many organisations had “a varied approach to the challenge”.
Time and resource was needed to manage any organisation’s ‘grey fleet’, but too often, it was suggested, it fell between HR and fleet departments with neither understanding it properly nor wanting to take responsibility. The end result was that drivers were not managed properly, the correct policies were not implemented and drivers did not provide required information.
Also taking part in the webinar was Stewart Lightbody, head of fleet services, Anglian Water and a co-opted member of the ACFO board, who uses Jaama’s Key2 software to manage the organisation’s fleet of 1,800 light commercial vehicles, 700 company cars, 100 HGVs, 3,000 items of plant equipment and seven workshops.
He explained that Anglian Water had introduced an essential user fleet allowance that enabled drivers to decide how they funded their cars with the vehicle age and carbon dioxide emissions cap aligned with the company car policy.
Mr Lightbody said: “It is disappointing to hear that the ‘grey fleet’ issue is not being managed across the board by all organisations. At Anglian Water ownership of the asset is irrelevant. If someone is travelling on behalf of the organisation we have a duty of care and responsibility to manage accordingly.
“At Anglian Water we manage consistently. It is irrelevant who the driver is and what car they drive. Fleet managers cannot absolve themselves of ‘grey fleet’ management and technology makes collating information easier.
“If you can integrate documents into a centralised system and communicate with drivers and run management information from that system, it provides fleet managers with a holistic view. Technology must lead and it is moving at a pace. Long gone is the need for a paper trail.”
Consequently, said Mr Evans, technology such as Jaama’s multi award-winning Key2 system and smartphone ‘MyVehicle App’, which via auto-triggering works in tandem with the vehicle and driver management solution, provided a centralised answer.
Highlighting that Key2 offered a number of modules focused on ‘grey fleet’ management including recording vehicle-related information and vehicle and driver documentation, Mr Evans said: “The system will validate documents and provide a robust audit trail and drivers can use ‘MyVehicle App’ to perform vehicle condition checks.”
He continued: “It is important that companies ensure ‘grey fleet’ driver buy-in to management policies and that those policies are supported by executives.”
Suggesting that ensuring the ‘grey fleet’ driver community was “on side”, Mr Evans said: “That’s the challenge. It is really important that driving policies and risk management tools - licence checking and driver profiling - are not just rolled out to the company car community but are promoted across an organisation’s entire employee car use base.
“There should be no business journeys unless critical policies are in place, they have been complied with and drivers have signed up to them. Communication must come from the top of a business.
“Managers should focus on what technology can do for them and how it can automate and provide efficiencies for organisations.”
ACFO national chairman John Pryor, who hosted the webinar, concluded: “It is clear that technology will help and support managers. For many businesses ‘grey fleet’ does and should provide an important part of a clear mobility policy, but managing that policy is vital.”
The webinar is now available as a download from the ‘members’ area’ of the ACFO website - www.acfo.org
For more information on how Jaama's Key2 technology can manage your grey fleet contact us here.