Having, communicating and consistently enforcing a money-saving policy can dramatically reduce fleet costs. Unfortunately, many fleet managers are overwhelmed by the idea of how to create and enforce policy. But it’s not as difficult as you may think. In reality, you could start to enforce one policy tomorrow and start saving money immediately. Is it really that simple? It can be. Here are some questions we hear from fleet managers regarding policy.
Why should I have policy?
There are many reasons to have policy. For one, it establishes expected behaviors for drivers and staff. It curtails costly and even dangerous behaviors. It fosters a safe driving environment and best practices for handling company vehicles. And, no doubt about it, it reduces costs.
Ok, I’m convinced. What should my cost-cutting policies be?
Potentially, there are hundreds of policies you could introduce. But don’t let that overwhelm you. There are some common areas that policy can help cut costs within the fleet environment that you can start with tomorrow. Here are a few:
- Reduce the use of fleet vehicles for personal use. One fleet customer of ours simply started requiring that drivers write the purpose of the trip on their vehicle request form and this cut the personal use of vehicles by 50%. People didn’t want to lie in writing and stopped using vehicles for personal reasons.
- Reduce the use of personal vehicles (and reimbursement) instead of fleet vehicles for business use. If drivers are required to check for and use a shared vehicle before they are allowed to use their own vehicle for business, fleets can cut personal reimbursement costs considerably. Scott County MN reduced personal vehicle use by 65% and saved $230K in personal vehicle use by simply putting this one policy in place.
- Curtail costly driver behavior. Driver behavior policies like reducing unnecessary idling, speeding, hard braking, and other fuel-consuming costly behaviors can reduce fuel consumption and excess cost. When you set an expectation with drivers that infractions will be tracked and acted upon, costly behavior diminishes.
- Encourage the use of shared vehicles versus assigned vehicles. By establishing minimum mileage thresholds for fleet vehicles assigned to one person, you can reduce the number of idle vehicles and reallocate them to your shared fleet, thereby dramatically increasing your utilization. One organization we spoke with in southern California had over a dozen assigned vehicles with fewer than a couple hundred miles accrued over an entire year. Once they created a policy with minimum thresholds, they were able to reallocate those vehicles to a shared fleet and significantly improve usage.
How do I let people know about our policies?
Communicating policies should not take a lot of time or energy. In FleetCommander, when a driver logs in, they can be required to read and acknowledge policy the first time the policy is in the system, as well as any time the fleet policy changes. Policy reminders may appear directly on the fleet home page and in automatic emails that go out to drivers. In fact, your entire policy manual can be available to download directly from FleetCommander. Once reminders are set up, regular and frequent communication requires no effort on the fleet manager’s part – it’s all automatic.
Enforcing policy takes too much time! How do I do it?
The FleetCommander FMIS can help automate the policy enforcement process. It does this by requiring drivers to acknowledge and follow rules as they interact with the system. For example, if someone’s license needs to be validated, the system can inform the driver they need to show their license before they can have access to a vehicle. Another example the system can automate would be checking the availability of a motor pool vehicle before allowing a driver to use their own vehicle for business. We have had many customers save hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal vehicle reimbursement costs this way.
Policy Success Stories
- Scott County, MN reduced personal vehicle use by 65% and saved $230,000 by putting a policy in place regarding use of personal vehicle reimbursements.
- Iowa State University saved over $100,000, and logs over 500,000 miles on their shared fleet versus personal vehicles.
- The City of Stamford, CT enforced policies regarding assigned vehicle use, and was able to reduce their fleet by 60 vehicles and avoid spending $500,000 annually replacing vehicles they didn't need.
- A large northeast transit organization instituted a policy regarding idling and achieved 66% reduction in idling.
- Forsyth County, NC created a policy regarding assigned vehicles and use of personal vehicles. They offered a shared fleet, and saved over $1M by having the policy, communicating it, and enforcing it.