* indicates required

‘If you manage road risk correctly from the start, the result is a safe fleet’

SIZEABLE savings are the benefit for an electrical services business that enrolled its fleet management on a government training course.

Cheaper insurance and running costs, no collisions in four years and less down time and absenteeism are the principal advantages to Leighton Buzzard-based AES Fleet from taking part in the government’s Driving for Better Business programme.

The company runs nine Ford Transit vans, from which its mobile engineers fit and maintain camera systems, air conditioning units, telematics systems and other technology across the PSV, HGV and LCV sectors.

As with all road risk management, however, the company’s good practice starts at home and managing director Richard Stansfield pictured above says the business benefits to their fleet operation are substantial.

The company checks all driver licences regularly through FleetCheck. It trains all its drivers in thorough walk-round checks and defect reporting every morning and keeps a spare vehicle on fleet so that any defects can be addressed rapidly without a loss of productivity.

Webfleet Solutions telematics systems monitor the performance of each driver. Any exceptional incident such as harsh braking, an emergency alarm, or near miss is seen as an alert, the footage is checked and Mr Stansfield feeds back constructive criticism or praise to the driver as appropriate. Cameras are not only commonplace in UK life, but also essential for capturing a full narrative of what happens on the road, and coaching drivers appropriately, says Mr Stansfield.

 “Collisions are preventable. If you manage road risk correctly from the start and ensure compliance and training throughout, the result is a safe fleet.”

insurers now look at evidence of near misses as well as collisions, so the camera-coaching initiative pays dividends in assuring insurers of their low risk profile. AES has seen a £2,000 reduction in fleet insurance costs for the second year running, which across nine vans is substantial, Mr Stansfield says. The company has had no collisions in four years.

He believes the fleet’s running costs are also reduced by around 25 per cent each year through preventative maintenance. “Reactive maintenance is always more expensive and creates unplanned downtime.”

If, for example, brake pads are regularly checked and replaced, not only will the vehicle brake efficiently and safely but also the discs will not become damaged. “Conversely if you let the pads wear too far, you are suddenly replacing ten discs as well as pads,” he says. “Regular maintenance prevents damage.”

AES also takes an active interest in driver welfare and mental health. The company arranges accommodation for drivers after a long journey so they do not drive when tired. Both senior managers have taken mental health awareness training o they know how to offer appropriate support.

“A van is a tool. However, if you put someone tired or unwell behind the wheel, it is a weapon,” Richard says.

“My ethos is about getting everybody home safe to their families every night. That is my underlying goal. We do everything we can to make that happen and that is the ultimate business benefit.”

As with all road risk management, however, the company’s good practice starts at home and Managing Director Richard Stansfield says the business benefits to their fleet operation are substantial.

AES business benefits from road risk management include:

  • Cheaper insurance year on year
  • 25% cheaper running costs
  • Better brand credibility
  • No public complaints about poor driving in several years
  • Immediate evidence should a claim occur with rapid first notification of loss
  • No collisions in four years
  • No unscheduled downtime
  • Less absenteeism
  • Peace of mind

More from Leighton Buzzard:

More business articles: