Organisation name: British Car Auctions (BCA)
Fleet size: 470 vehicles
Fleet contact: Marie Jarrold, car fleet controller
Software used: Jaama Key2 Vehicle Management system since 2007
About BCA: The company is Europe’s largest vehicle remarketing organisation. In the UK, BCA sells more than 12,000 vehicles a week in physical auctions and over the internet. In addition to the UK, BCA has operation in 11 other European countries.
Software savvy fleet decision-makers are increasingly turning to sophisticated web-based IT to provide effective and efficient management of vehicles alongside administration and cost savings.
Marie Jarrold, who is in charge of 470 vehicles at vehicle auction giant BCA, is one such person having used Jaama’s Key2 Vehicle Management system for almost six years.
Using fleet software to reduce costs, increase efficiency and stay compliant
The administration of processes, monitoring of costs and measuring of efficiency are vital factors for any fleet operation and 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 • Ensuring vehicle and driver - including ‘grey’ fleet - compliance
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BCA introduced Key2 as an existing, but outdated software system was being supplemented with additional spread sheets to record a wealth of vital data including speeding fines incurred by employees, Road Fund Licence recovery and work processes such as fuel card activity.
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: “That had all become very time-consuming and I was frequently playing hunt the spreadsheet 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.”
How integration can help streamline your fleet operation
Software is a ‘must-have’ for fleet managers who want to streamline and improve their operations.
Many fleets have suppliers and rely on those providers to deliver a range of services. Consequently, it is important that businesses, such as BCA, have their own software systems in place to take data management reports from a number of sources and marry them together for analytical purposes and exception reporting. That enables Ms Jarrold to effectively and efficiently managing third party services.
Ms Jarrold uses a multitude of Key2 modules to manage vehicles and drivers - including drivers able to remotely access the system 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.”
Also, Ms Jarrold uses her practical day-to-day fleet manager experience and works with Jaama in the development of new modules, the introduction of which has benefited all system users. That work has resulted in the inclusion of driver eye test records, cam belt change and basic driver maintenance declarations on Key 2.
“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,” she said.
Best practice when choosing the most suitable software solution
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.”
Historically, many fleet managers believed that the advance of technology would leave them without a job. However, that is far from the truth as the technology revolution enables fleet decision-makers to be far more strategic in their job and less process-driven
Critically, businesses should look not just at what the current marketplace standing is of any potential supplier but long term. Therefore, the financial stability of potential partners should be assessed with the long term in mind and, in the case of fleet software, that it is ‘future proof’.
In going to the market it is important to ensure that the chosen supplier has a product that will, says Ms Jarrold, meet current requirements but still be the optimum solution in five, six, seven years and more time and, has the potential to accommodate a fleet’s future as well as present needs.
Just as technology evolves so do organisations - BCA has, for example, acquired a number of other businesses recently with their fleet vehicles and drivers having to be integrated - thus selecting the ‘right’ fleet management system capable of reflecting future strategic change is critical.
Ms Jarrold’s other “golden rules” when selecting a software solution is to obtain buy-in to the project from senior management; shortlist potential suppliers; having selected a partner continually review marketplace developments to ensure the cutting edge is maintained; and ensure the partner offers helpdesk support.
As a result, Ms Jarrold said: “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.”
Critically, Ms Jarrold added: “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.
“Key 2 system upgrades are continual across the year and a test system is updated to the latest release which allows users to access and check the new upgrades.
“We always look to improve efficiency and will assess appropriate modules we believe will benefit the business.”
As well as monitoring new developments in the fleet management software market to ensure that her chosen software continues to deliver industry-leading performance, Ms Jarrold also conducts a regular ‘health check’ on her system to see if there are any areas of Key 2 that are not being utilised to ensure optimum usage.
That focus has led to BCA opting recently to trial Jaama’s electronic driver entitlement checking service (EDECS) to verify the licences of its employees rather than manually undertaking checks through the post with the DVLA.
“We believe the checks through Key2 will be significantly more efficient and that will save time and reduce costs,” said Ms Jarrold.
Ms Jarrold said: “An efficient fleet software system continually highlights our compliance record in all areas and ensures data integrity and accuracy; drivers’ records are up to date; and it delivers easy access to current data.
“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. All the modules and rule sets have a purpose and we are confident that the information contained is second to none in terms of the efficient running of the fleet.
“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.”