What is vehicle sharing? How does it work, and how does it deliver value to your organization?
The Cost of Idle Vehicles
Idle vehicles pose unnecessary costs to a fleet.
Typically, fleet managers assign vehicles to individuals or to departments. But those vehicles are only used on days when that individual or that department needs that vehicle. All other times, it sits idle, depreciating.
Further, vehicles assigned to individuals will sit idle for a minimum of at least five weeks per year. That’s built-in as vacation, sick days, and holiday time.
Likewise, vehicles assigned to departments are not accessible to other departments, even though the vehicle may not be in use on a given day.
Finally, in many organizations, the culture of those accustomed to having an assigned vehicle is a barrier to vehicle sharing. Having their own vehicle is just something that they've become accustomed to.
Implementing Vehicle Sharing Technology
Many organizations do not understand how easy it is to implement vehicle sharing technology. And they certainly aren't aware of the value that it provides by driving down the cost of fleet services.
Vehicle sharing technology is much easier to use than most people anticipate. There are really only three steps to sharing vehicles and sharing them efficiently.
Step one is to use an online reservation system or a self-service kiosk to schedule or coordinate the use of the vehicles.
Step two, use the automated capabilities of a fleet management information system to check out a vehicle and check the vehicle back in. Some of them even have automated ways to hand out keys and collect keys at the end of a trip. Your fleet staff doesn't have to be involved at all.
Step three, use the reporting dashboards and the metrics your fleet management system generates to track activity and find out exactly how many of each class of vehicle you need at each location.
Getting Drivers on Board
One of the keys to succeeding at a vehicle sharing initiative is to show the drivers what's in it for them if they change the way that they interact with the fleet.
Show them that having a shared vehicle takes the administrative burden of that vehicle away from them. Show them that in a shared fleet, they have access to more types of vehicles. Maybe they've got access to a minivan and a pickup truck that they never had access to.
Show them that the system's easy to use and show them that they'll always have a vehicle available to them, just like they had when they had an assigned vehicle.
How the Vehicle Sharing System Works
If you are not familiar with how a system like this works, it's quite simple.
Drivers can go online to a web-based application and reserve a vehicle in advance. The system can do many things, like communicate your fleet policy to them. Also, the vehicle reservation form will include all the rules that you need to enforce for that particular driver.
The system can also assign vehicles and approve vehicle requests automatically. It can also email supervisors automatically so that everybody that needs to know about this vehicle use is in the loop.
When drivers come to pick up a vehicle, they’ll use a fully automated self-service motor pool kiosk. They’re a lot like the self-service kiosks for boarding passes at the airport. You walk up, interact with a kiosk, and receive the keys for your assigned vehicle through a key box.
When you're done, return the keys to the kiosk. And everything after that is done automatically. All of the reporting, any billing you may need to do, and dashboards are all generated automatically. You'll clearly understand how many vehicles you need to run your fleet.
Your system automates the entire process. There's no additional burden for your fleet staff.
Benefits of Vehicle Sharing
In addition to being easy to implement and easy to use, there are many benefits to vehicle sharing. A major one is that it reduces costs across many different types of fleets.
Research has found that a shared vehicle can cost up to 35% less than personal mileage reimbursement use of outside rental cars and other modes of transportation.
And after implementing the vehicle sharing system that makes it easy for drivers to access the system, there are additional downstream benefits.
Not only have you made it easier to use your fleet, but you've also reduced the cost of the overall fleet as well. And you've increased vehicle usage rates.
Finally, you're also collecting metrics on the number of vehicles you need, what class of vehicle you need at what location, and billing data — all automatically.
There are many benefits to vehicle sharing technology above and beyond easy access to shared vehicles. Looking for more information? Download Agile Fleet’s Getting Started Guide.