Britain’s light commercial vehicle fleet age profile is getting older and that means it is imperative that fleet operators adopt a proactive rather than reactive vehicle maintenance approach to keep operational downtime and cost management to a minimum.
A robust online fleet management software system is therefore key, as technology will deliver efficiency improvements, financial and administrative savings and reduce risk exposure through driver and vehicle compliance management.
Jaama’s multi award-winning Key2 Vehicle Management system tracks individual van maintenance costs against budgets so fleet managers can see how they have added up over the lifecycle of a vehicle and then extrapolate what future likely spending patterns will be.
What’s more a range of online tools - including Defect Manager - provides fleet managers with an online tick box check list for the completion of a walk-round appraisal of all vans, which should typically happen daily.
Jaama’s believes awareness needs to increase for pro-active van maintenance in light of new research which reveals that a third of light commercial vehicles on UK roads are now at least 10 years old - up from a pre-recession figure of 22% - according to data from finance provider LDF.
Replacement cycle extension - more than one million vans are now more than a decade old - is further supported by the latest annual research from the Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer, which interviewed more than 4,500 managers across 15 European countries.
It reveals that the proportion of organisations running their vans for longer in the UK was greater than in other European countries - 18% of companies with under 100 employees and 19% of larger companies versus 12% and 15% respectively.
Amidst concerns are that businesses could be operating vans beyond their reliable lifespans and thus risk making false economies triggering longer period of off-road time - particularly as they emerge out of comprehensive manufacturer warranty cover - Jaama managing director Martin Evans said: “Fleet managers can graphically view exactly where vehicle costs move from a normal curve up to a spike via Key2’s ‘red’ and ‘green’ graphics and then identify the optimum time to defleet vans.
“Fleet managers must also be mindful that some drivers are more likely to take extra care looking after a new van than an older vehicle, which can also affect operating costs rising at a faster rate towards the end of a vehicle’s life on fleet.”
One of the reasons behind Jaama’s development of the Key2 Defect Manager module was to aid keeping vehicle maintenance in check as well as ensuring legislative compliance.
The technology provides fleet managers with an online tick box check list for the completion of a walk-round appraisal of all vehicles which should typically happen daily.
Mr Evans said: “While many are likely to record ‘nil’ defects, any work that is required can be easily documented and then arrangements made for the vehicle to be booked into a workshop and the defect rectified.
“The system then provides companies with a complete online auditable trail of vehicle checks and rectification work undertaken to ensure compliance with best practice health and safety regulations.
“The log details any vehicle defects including broken light bulbs, cracked windscreens, fluid levels, bald tyres and damaged bodywork. Vehicle mileage is also logged on the form.
“Where defects are recorded, a maintenance record is created and reminders are issued until the defect is rectified.
“The online system improves vehicle maintenance procedures as well as safety because managers are able to view the progress of rectifying any vehicle defects quickly and easily and there is no chance of any data going missing.
“Defect Manager covers every imaginable part of a vehicle to ensure that managers have the very latest information on the condition of every single van on their fleet. It is a simple solution to what for many fleets is a major administrative headache.”
Mr Evans concluded: “Too many fleet decision-makers become slaves to data capture and then do nothing with it. Information captured should act as the basis for implementing change whether in respect of replacing expensive to maintain vans, changing operating cycles or using data to maximise vehicle uptime.
“Collected data should provide a solid basis for taking remedial action in respect of vehicles. Plan, check, and act accordingly should be engrained in the minds of all van operators. Critically, do not ignore what the data is highlighting as it can reveal operational weaknesses that could prove fatal in the event of an incident and also financially expensive in terms of remedial maintenance.”