Mitigating future risks

Words by David Swords

As featured in this issue of FLEETDRIVE.

Hello, and welcome to 2022, didn’t that come around quickly! As in most years the supposed quiet period of January didn’t quite happen, the normal process of planning for the year ahead, mapping out a variety of tasks and issues to address, Fleet swap outs, technology reviews or refresh programs. Audits on Chain of Responsibility (CoR) or WH&S/Duty of Care, and all at the same time as managing your actual day to day duties can be quite the shock to the post festive return.

So, how can we prioritise and maximise our time and effectiveness, well like most things it will depend on where you are in terms of your actual business, the sector you’re in, the wider industry and market issues, where you currently sit on your IVMS and Safety journeys. Then there are still the impacts of COVID, not only of the direct impacts in your business and your fleet staff, but indirectly on supply chains and the ability to get the right vehicles, components, and fit outs etc.

Let’s have a look at some of these in a broader context.

The ‘Market’, Well for a start if you currently run a GPS system as part of your IVMS, then the sunset of 3G should be firmly on your ‘To Do list’ with the replacement programs in the industry in the lead up to the switch off in 2024, more and more areas of our roads will become issues for fleet and the data we rely on (Think ‘blackspots’ so more data stored on the device until it returns into cellular coverage) and ultimately the void of devices that you may still have on your books to finish paying for that can no longer talk to you. Best to start now on looking at what your risk profile is for 3G and transition to 4/5G enablement with your existing vendor, or use as a reason to revisit the marketplace – we all know that 3-year-old tech is, well 3-year-old tech. And don’t buy any really good deals on tech that are 3G this year.

Technology, not only do we see the 3G issue to play out, the rise of advanced systems that are leapfrogging existing processes, think Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Data.

Things to look for in this future landscape:

  • ADAS connectivity
  • Automated Driver Assignment
  • Automatic firmware Uploads/Downloads
  • Capability Roadmap & Future proof Technology platform
  • Proactive Solution vs Reactive
  • Data Protection & Security
  • Configurability and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • G Force and Machine Vision, Artificial Intelligence (MV+AI) enabled
  • Integrated, single supplier, multi-vendor,
  • Video Data – In Cab, Road Facing, all round view of vehicles if needed. How are you going to store, manage and align to your policies and procedures? EBA’s etc.

Now all of these are ‘technological’ features for operational aspects of your business, However, GPS/IVMS are not true Safety solutions, from a Driver Behaviour perspective. So what thought are you giving to addressing the Driver in carrying out your CoR/WH&S responsibilities?

  • How effective are your policies once the vehicle leaves the depot? Do you really know?
  • Have you done a Safety Audit?
  • Do you have a comprehensive view of the impacts of Accidents, Incidents and ghost damage?

Regulations require all parties to reduce risk related to the operation of fleet vehicle across all on-road tasks, and business operations.

Fleet Drive 31 had a great article on making vehicles a safer place, whether the vehicle is subject to Chain of Responsibility or Duty of Care. You are responsible, like it or not for making all practicable efforts to address issues such as;

  • Mobile phone usage whilst driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Seat belt usage
  • Fatigue
  • Poor behaviour

(*WH&S, Duty of Care, Chain of Responsibility)

Your bandwidth

Support – with complexity comes workload – What does partner support look like – Monthly, Quarterly, Annual Reporting/Review, accurately measuring change?

Change and Project Management – Do you have the bandwidth and capability or will that be a feature of your ‘decision matrix’.

  • Deployment and Implementation process
  • Data – How will you use it, manage it, do you want simple dashboards, customised reports, BI Reports, and tools, In house resource or third party, vendor

Other issues that will impact some, not all of the Fleet Managers out there:

  • Driver shortages
  • AdBlue
  • Border issues

Regardless of all these issues, it represents yet again, what a dynamic field ‘Fleet’ truly is. To all of you, have a safe, fulfilling, and yes, at times challenging 2022. The road ahead has never been more exciting.

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