Software is the key to compliance in every area of fleet management. But how do you both achieve and maintain it?
We share our five key areas of focus to ensure fleet compliance
From the outside looking in, fleet management may seem like a straight forward process. Anyone operating in the business, however, can assure you that is is much more complex than this. Fleet management systems comprise of information about every aspect of an entire fleet within a single, specialist database system. This includes documents for meeting with fleet compliance.
Running a compliant business is essential for any operation – it is the law to make sure that vehicles are safe and roadworthy to ensure that they can do the job that is expected of them. Having well maintained vehicles prevents unscheduled downtime which can be both costly and disruptive to service. By having the information available to evidence that essential checks have been carried out to specific standards creates an auditable trail that is necessary for fleet compliance regulations.
As a fleet manager, these areas of compliance include:
Vehicles and acquisition
Specification and remarketing
Parts and warranty
Safety and risk mitigation
Registration and permitting
How does fleet maintenance software support compliance?
Fleet compliance is a key driver for developing effective approaches to tasks such as the completion of maintenance checks on vehicles. These approaches themselves should be driven by fleet maintenance software to make sure that standards are being met.
Here are five areas of focus to help ensure that you are operating a fully compliant fleet.
1. Risk and safety management
Safety and fleet risk management programs are essential for reducing accidents and avoiding fines, higher insurance costs and legal fees. In addition to ensuring the safety of employees and other motorists, effective risk management practices also need to be in place to comply with regulatory requirements as a minimum.
Software is the key to better management of risk because it’s a central repository of essential details about drivers, vehicles, repairs, insurance and more. The ability to accurately collate and report on ‘near misses’ and other incidents can support compliance by creating awareness and an opportunity to review risk management and safety programs.
2. Vehicles and maintenance
Any vehicle used for business purposes must be properly equipped, inspected and maintained regularly. Adherence with parts and fuel purchasing practices is also essential for regulating costs.
Data-driven fleet maintenance and asset management software can be beneficial in helping make sure that fleet compliance is adhered to throughout all vehicle and maintenance programs. Having actionable information stored within a single system provides greater visibility, monitoring and management of vendor partnerships.
3. Drivers and operations
Any employee who operates a vehicle for business purposes must be trained, certified and in good health. They also need to have a valid license and relevant driver training for the type of vehicle that they are operating. Compliance with agreed company routes plans and work schedules helps greatly minimize risk and lower fuel costs.
Software integrations with third party solutions can be particularly effective when monitoring vehicle activity and managing driver compliance in terms of behavior. Telematics systems on vehicles are fast becoming the norm and provide an opportunity to proactively and effectively address unsafe driving practices such as speeding and hard braking.
Ensuring duty of care provides the confidence that fleet compliance within your driver programs and operational practices are in place. Management software permits the secure electronic filing of relevant information such as driver licenses and medical certificates. Documents such as training and insurance records can be kept up-to-date, organized and easily accessible to ensure policy compliance and the ability to readily analyze potential risk. Alerts can also be set for important pending, due or expired deadlines in accordance with driver compliance regulations.
4. Create a plan
Advanced enterprise and asset management systems can develop analyses that form the basis of compliance management processes. Armed with data from such software, data can be utilized within a comprehensive plan to develop and implement fleet policies and practices, thereby fostering compliance.
Establishing policies and procedures encourages a high level of compliance with vehicle and maintenance, operations, safety and risk management.
Making the plan readily available is essential – technology allows ease of access to such information in numerous formats from handbooks to company intranet sites, and through web portals on laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Fleet compliance is a continuous process encompassing the entire operation. Its details are subject to change as new regulatory requirements and business needs arise. Employees need to be kept informed of such changes to avoid a diminishing culture of compliance.
The consistent application of policies is a key factor in compliance and may requires policies within its own right to ensure that it is carried out. Making compliance a part of overall job performance expectations often has value.
5. Consider internal auditing
It’s a worthwhile practice to train and develop your own internal auditors to ensure that compliance standards are being met. Sound like a tall order? Enlist in the help of a professional auditing organization to train key staff members to carry out department audits to ensure that compliance standards are being being met. This means that documentation is being checked and questions asked on a regular basis which resolves any last minute panic when an external auditor arrives unannounced!
Of course, the role of the internal auditor is made much easier with specialist fleet management software in place to record such information. Keeping electronic documents in one central location helps uncover any anomalies and provides an opportunity to action them before they become major concerns.
Compliance does not have to be a complicated process but it can take a comprehensive approach to be carried out correctly. Like all aspects of fleet management, challenges will always arise that need to be met!
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to compliance but with the right data, you can monitor, lower risk and make measurable improvements to support success within your operation. Compliance therefore needs to become a core component of your company’s culture.