Managing a fleet of vehicles and equipment is a complex and tricky balancing act. Achieving marginal gains in managing fleets today often results in significant cost savings for businesses. It is estimated that European growth will increase from 1.4m vehicles in 2009 to 4.2m in 2014. Technology developments in the industry, such as cloud-based centralised management software, are ramping up the available savings as well as providing more competitive and affordable solutions.
Tip 1: Meet emission standards
Since 2009, a vehicle’s CO2 emissions is linked to the statutory depreciation deduction (legislative writing down allowance), which means vehicles that produce less carbon emissions attract a more lucrative rate at which companies can write down the cost of buying a car against their taxable profits. In April 2013, it was decided that companies could write down the full cost against vehicles with emissions up to 95g/km, 18% against vehicles emitting 96-130g/km, and 8% against vehicles above 130g/km. This is classed as the maximum limit for cost-effective fleet management on carbon emissions.
Electric cars and vehicles with emissions of lower than 95g/km attract 100% statutory depreciation deduction for the first year. Companies that lease cars rather than buy them can deduct 100% of the car’s cost against taxable profits – this falls to 85% for cars with emissions above 130g/km.
Tip 2: Minimising mileage
Accurate mileage recording is critical to managing fuel budgets and compliance with HMRC. Mileage usually always fluctuates due to it being a non-fixed cost – it’s a controllable cost that, across a large fleet, can have significant effect on overall cost. And with fuel contributing between 20% and 30% of a vehicle whole life costs, there are big savings to be made by tightly controlling fuel budgets.
Companies should track both the distance covered in vehicles and the the fuel used – By analysing these two data metrics these two metrics can build up a more accurate picture than just one alone where the efficiency of driving can be identified and training provided to maximise Return on investment (ROI) from fuel.
Tip 3: Regular vehicle inspections
The use and condition of vehicles and equipment is essential to sustainable assets in the fleet. Implementing and maintaining a robust inspection policy for protecting your assets helps build a compliant audit trail and in turn helps to protect the company from disputes or claims against negligence and duty of care. A clear message to your employees delivers a unified responsibility and standard towards maintaining the vehicles and equipment they use. If there is uncertainty, then adequate training should be provided to build confidence and basic understanding of maintenance and duty of care.
Tip 4: Consolidate & Centralise fleet management software
Cloud based fleet management is vastly becoming the standard for data information access and storage. Web interfaces are replacing locally installed applications where all of your important data such as fuel card logs and route planning are consolidated into one database. This will allow you to monitor driver routes, driving behaviour, minimise fuel and increase work throughput efficiency all from your office.
Tip 5: Outsource skills
Fleet management can be a tricky business, and not all business owners will have the time and expertise to master this role themselves. As the fleet management industry evolves, innovative companies are offering simple and practical approaches to save money and improve productivity, from managing suppliers to selecting the right vehicles and equipment for your fleet with the most appropriate maintenance support for sustainability.
Keeping up with technology and skills to manage your fleet reduces the risk of getting left in a cloud of dust by your competition. You don’t have to manage your fleet alone, and many businesses find it financially and practically valuable to outsource fleet management to a dedicated provider.