6 Ways To Effectively Manage Your Grey Fleet
A variety of business are failing to effectively manage their grey fleets. This is because, for many businesses, the grey fleet isn’t considered something that can, or should, be ‘manageable.’ But allowing your employees to use their own vehicles for business purposes makes it your business. Without an effective management strategy, it can present a host of consequences that are otherwise easily avoided with basic planning and simple measures. Here are five ways to effectively manage your grey fleet…
What You Need To Know
– Companies that lack a clear grey fleet policy may run the risk of breaking the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. This can, and has, seen enormous fines being levied against businesses; the highest being £1.2 million.
– All companies running a company car scheme require an official grey fleet policy
Get To Know Your Grey Fleet
Whilst it’s certainly true that some companies take grey fleet usage as seriously as their general fleet, there are many businesses that simply don’t know what their grey fleet consists of. Who’s using their own vehicles, why are they using them and for what purposes? These questions require detailed answers if an effective management strategy is to be implemented. In the same way that quality data keeps your regular fleet running smoothly, the same applies with your grey fleet. Knowing who is a part of your grey fleet and what journeys they’re going on is crucial. Consider using traditional telematics or even mobile phone apps. Asking employees with their own vehicles to use this will provide you with all of the information you need. Consider offering incentives to those who are willing to provide the data, or simply make it clear that company transport policy requires it.
Create A Policy
Once you have a clear picture of your grey fleet, you can begin to produce and implement an official policy. This should fit into your broader Human Resources operations. Staff members will need to be introduced to it and sign it, it’ll then be the company’s responsibility to enforce it on an on-going basis. Your policy should clearly state who will be checking for compliance and what is expected of grey fleet drivers. All of the checks you run on regular fleet drivers should also be included in your grey fleet policy. Licenses should be checked and the state of concerned vehicles examined and recorded. Reducing the risk of your grey fleet drivers fundamentally reduces your risk. Andrew Leech, Managing Director at Fleet Evolution, has said “for a lot of employers, their starting point is how they can manage their risk, whereas we think it should be about how they can reduce their risk.”
With a thorough grey fleet policy implemented, you can go a step further and begin to offer your employees alternatives to their own vehicles. After all, one way around risk is to eliminate it entirely. Offering the likes of pool cars, car clubs or cycling incentives is a good way to demonstrate that you’re offering employees flexibility; the ball is then, effectively, in their court. The important thing to remember here is that, whilst it’s unlikely that your staff will be giving up their own vehicles, you have a duty of care towards them. Alternative transport and commuting schemes clearly demonstrate a real and considered approach to duty of care.
On average, grey fleet vehicles are much older than company vehicles. One survey, by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), discovered the average age to be an alarming 8.2 years. Your policy should establish and enforce clear minimum standards for employee-owned vehicles. Brake, a road safety charity, has suggested that “a grey fleet policy should outline the minimum vehicle standards that employee-owned cars must meet for the following: minimum Euro NCAP safety ratings, vehicle age, emission levels, required safety features and essential breakdown cover.” Brake also suggests that the policy makes it clear that it’s the employee’s responsibility to ensure that their vehicle abides by the company’s standards, abides by road laws and receives regular maintenance checks. Insurance coverage should also be treated in the same way. Staff should be made aware that they will need to present proof of proper management.
Brake suggests scrutinising your grey fleet drivers in the same way as your regular fleet drivers. Drivers should provide evidence of a valid license, insurance and breakdown cover. Each driver should be formally introduced to your policy and practices, with their risk-level being monitored and managed. An incident record should be kept for each driver, allowing any long-term risks to be recognised and properly dealt with. Make sure that documents are properly recorded and regularly updated. All of these measures will effectively produce an evidence trail which will enable you to demonstrate good practice and a robust acknowledgement of duty of care. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll be improving safety for your staff.
Enforce Your Policy
It’s important to ensure that your new grey fleet policy isn’t simply an abstraction, but that it’s taken seriously and actively implemented on a day-to-day basis. Finding a suitable means through which to store, and interpret, information is key. Fleet management software systems are widely available and make updating and monitoring information a simple affair. Many will highlight when documents or licenses expire and can be modified by multiple members of staff at the same time. Your HR and admin teams should be notifying staff out of date material in advance of the dates themselves.
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