With regular review, a fleet policy can take advantage of cost-saving opportunitites, emerging trends, and new operational efficiencies. - Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevich

With regular review, a fleet policy can take advantage of cost-saving opportunitites, emerging trends, and new operational efficiencies.

Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevich

The danger of a fleet policy remaining static, or unchanged over time, is that it can lead to various negative consequences. Here are some potential dangers associated with maintaining a static fleet policy:

Operational Inefficiencies

As technology, best practices, and industry standards evolve, a static fleet policy may fail to incorporate new advancements. This can result in inefficient fleet operations, leading to higher costs, increased fuel consumption, and reduced productivity. Failure to adapt to changing circumstances and market conditions may put your fleet at a competitive disadvantage.

Safety Risks

Safety regulations and standards often undergo updates to address emerging risks and improve overall safety. By not revising the fleet policy, you may miss out on incorporating crucial safety measures, such as implementing new vehicle safety technologies or providing updated training to drivers.

This can expose your fleet and drivers to unnecessary safety hazards and potential accidents.

Compliance Issues

Laws and regulations governing fleet management can change over time. Failing to update the fleet policy accordingly may result in non-compliance with legal requirements, leading to penalties, fines, and legal liabilities.

Staying informed about and incorporating regulatory updates into your fleet policy is crucial to maintain compliance.

Missed Cost-Saving Opportunities

A static fleet policy may overlook opportunities for cost savings. Advancements in vehicle technology, alternative fuels, or maintenance practices can present cost-saving options, such as improved fuel efficiency or reduced maintenance expenses.

Without regularly reviewing and updating the fleet policy, you might miss out on these potential savings.

Lack of Employee Satisfaction & Retention

Employee satisfaction and engagement are important factors for any organization's success.

A static fleet policy may not address changing employee needs, preferences, or concerns. Failing to adapt the policy to accommodate evolving work-life balance expectations, driver training requirements, or other employee-related factors can result in decreased morale, lower job satisfaction, and increased turnover rates.

Inability to Adapt to Emerging Trends

The transportation industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies, business models, and sustainability practices emerging. A static fleet policy may hinder your ability to capitalize on these trends or adapt to market demands.

For example, if there is a growing demand for electric vehicles or a shift toward shared mobility services, not updating the policy to accommodate these changes may lead to missed opportunities and decreased competitiveness.

To mitigate these dangers, it is essential to regularly review and update your fleet policy. Stay informed about industry trends, regulatory changes, and tech advancements to ensure your fleet policy remains aligned with best practices and your organization's goals.

Flexibility and adaptability are key in maintaining a successful fleet operation. A fleet policy should not remain static. It must be a living document that is updated as new needs arise.

A Fleet Policy Must be a Living Document

While organizations typically have a general annual policy review, the fleet policy needs to be reviewed more frequently.  In organizations where the fleet policy is also the fleet driver-risk policy and/or the commercial vehicle policy, the document will be need to be modified even more frequently. We issue an updated policy quarterly.  The updates occur between the policy releases and are highlighted to reflect the change in the previous version. 

When the updated policy is released, it should be included in a communication advising all stakeholders of the update.

Think of fleet policy the same as you would DNA. Each fleet has a DNA of sorts, which is comprised of the procedures and regulations that are codified in its corporate fleet policy. It is these policies that determine the type of fleet that is operated and its characteristics.

Think about it. By creating policy, such as who is eligible to operate a company vehicle, you are, in effect, determining the size of your fleet. In my experience the best-managed fleets tend to be those that adhere to a written fleet policy. It is important that fleet policy reflects a company’s overall business strategy, but more important, it needs to be up-to-date.

When developing or re-evaluating fleet policies, there are many issues that must be addressed, and these issues will vary by company. As such, you should solicit the participation of all affected departments, such as procurement; EHS; risk management, and human resources, in addition to vehicle user groups such as sales and operations.

By involving all of these stakeholders in the decision-making process, it increases the likelihood of buy-in and support of policies. It is also important to solicit this involvement to ensure the policy is comprehensive and to ensure  important components are not inadvertently omitted.

Not only do fleet policies bring structure to the way you lead your fleet and how you manage your vehicle assets; they also serve as a reference source for drivers and their managers to consult when a question needs a quick answer.

In summary, fleet policy needs to be flexible so it can be modified to reflect evolving business priorities. In a time of crisis, such as the current pandemic, the best practice is to develop a forward-looking action plan. You need to know what you are going to do, and then act proactively to accomplish those goals.

Let me know what you think. 

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About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet of Hal in 2022. He also won the Industry Icon Award, presented jointly by the IARA and NAAA industry associations.

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