Fleet Policy is the Best Way to Control Costs How Do You Insure Drivers are Following It?
It is very expensive to operate a company-provided fleet. Typically, fleet operations is one of the top five categories of non-product-related spending at most corporations. All too often, however, managers attempt to control fleet costs on the backend. But the best time to do so is beforehand by establishing the policies and procedures that control expenditures before the money has ever been spent.Your fleet policy and procedures should be a living document that is updated annually. As changes occur within your company, it is important to revise your fleet procedures to reflect these changes. Likewise, you should eliminate fleet policies that are outdated. What was right yesterday may not be right today. The policies and procedures governing the use of company-provided vehicles affect a wide cross-section of constituencies within your company. Therefore, when reassessing fleet policies, it is important that you solicit the participation of all affected departments, such as accounting, tax, sales, administration, and purchasing, along with all the user groups. By involving these departments, you will ensure their buy-in and support of fleet procedures. Also, as part of your annual fleet policy review, it is important that you survey your drivers to give them an opportunity to express their opinions and feedback about the fleet procedures that govern them.Are Your Drivers Following Fleet Policy?Just because your company has a written fleet policy and procedures manual doesn’t mean your drivers are following it. As a senior manager, one of your key responsibilities is to promote driver compliance with fleet policy. This not only controls expenditures, but also protects your company from potential liability exposure. To ensure that fleet policy remains uppermost in the minds of drivers, many companies stress the need to regularly re-communicate it to them. When policy is constantly re-communicated, you will find that your fleet manager spends less time disciplining drivers for policy infractions. Companies use a variety of methods to reinforce fleet policy such as e-mail reminders, the corporate Intranet, paycheck stuffers, teleconferences with regional office employees, or setting aside time at annual company meetings to make fleet policy presentations. It makes no difference how you do it, the important point is to understand the need to consistently remind drivers about these corporate policies.You Need to be Redundant If you want to increase the likelihood that your drivers are following fleet policy, you need to not only communicate it to them, but, more importantly, you need to re-communicate it on a regular basis. When it comes to fleet policy, there is no such thing as being redundant. In fact, the secret to increasing driver compliance with fleet policy is just that — redundant communication. Let me know what you think. Sample Company Vehicle Policy and Procedures Manual AvailableAutomotive Fleet has developed a sample company vehicle policy and procedures manual, available for $120 in a print or CD ROM version, plus $9.95 for shipping and handling. The handbook can be ordered at www.fleet-central.com or call (800)724-4254.