Sustainability is an increasingly important factor in how organisations operate. Governments throughout the world are pursuing efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (120 countries have announced net zero pledges). Consumers are also more aware of their role in making greener choices with products and services. Inevitably, both these factors are influencing the managers and stakeholders within organisations as they seek to keep ahead of government legislation and respond to consumer concerns.

Reducing the sources of CO2 emissions within an organisation is now, or will soon be, on the radars of most organisations, and fleet operations will be a prime focus for many.

Are electric vehicles the only answer?

Often, addressing fleet emissions concentrates on the transition to Electric Vehicles (EVs). And while EVs are absolutely an important piece of the sustainability puzzle, they aren’t the whole story. This is because EVs may not be suitable replacements for certain roles, are generally still more expensive than their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterparts and are in short supply due to the impact of COVID-19 and the microprocessor shortage.

Given these hurdles, some Fleet Managers could be forgiven for thinking that a more sustainable fleet is beyond them at the moment, but that isn’t the case. Reducing your fleet’s emissions doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach where EVs are the only answer. By reframing the discussion of reducing emissions to one around improving productivity, you’ll quickly see that there are likely a range of ‘quick wins’ that your organisation can action right now.

The approach of improving productivity to simultaneously improve your bottom line and reduce emissions is the win-win strategy that helps the organisation and the planet.

Why are we talking about productivity?

It might seem counterintuitive to be talking about productivity when the outcome we’re after is one of sustainability and reducing emissions. But this isn’t the case at all. When we talk about productivity, we’re referring to your fleet’s ability to meet your organisation’s operational requirements. This is measured against the various inputs required (vehicles, employees, running costs, etc.) and the outcomes achieved for that input. Therefore, if you can meet your operational demands while reducing the inputs required (vehicles and fuel), you are creating the conditions for productivity improvement alongside reductions in emissions.

Improving productivity. Reducing emissions

Naturally, there will be multiple factors unique to your situation that determine exactly what you can do, but the overall strategy is still the same:

  1. Lift fleet management to a level where waste is reduced
  2. Interrogate current vehicle use
  3. Generate savings that can be re-invested back in the fleet to finance the adoption of EVs and/or hybrids

Organisations that have followed this strategy have experienced similar evolutions in productivity and sustainability, with gains generating a cycle of ongoing improvement.

The two stages of emissions reduction, as a consequence of improved fleet management

Immediate outcomes

The first set of productivity outcomes related to reducing emissions centre on reducing fuel by managing various factors that are within your control. Fuel reductions can be realised by tackling harsh driving, speeding, and excessive idling. This can be achieved by using GPS tracking to monitor driving behaviours and the reporting that’s generated to educate drivers.

In addition to addressing driver behaviours, you should also look at operations to ensure efficiencies are maximised. By implementing geofences you will be able to accurately identify a range of aspects. This will include knowing when a vehicle is actually in use (left home base) and how long it’s at an off-site task (worksite or customer’s location). This information will help you to judge whether vehicles are being productively utilised, and whether there are opportunities to rationalise fleet size.

The reporting data on vehicle trips is also valuable as it highlights opportunities to improve task scheduling. Is excessive speeding a result of poor scheduling, are vehicles getting caught up in rush-hour traffic, will trip reporting and geofence information combine to drive further efficiencies? There is also the benefit of understanding whether a trip is really necessary and if a video conference call would have sufficed.

These insights, together with real-time tracking of vehicles will result in the leaner, more agile fleet that delivers productivity gains and savings.

Secondary outcomes

Tackling fuel-intensive behaviours and bringing in more efficient journey and task management reduces fuel costs and improves overall vehicle utilisation. This leads to a second set of productivity outcomes when the savings generated are re-invested in EVs or more fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrids. This starts the cycle of capitalising on the work you have already done.

You could be tempted to leave it at that, but there is more your greener fleet could be doing by using the thinking that’s been driving the growth of the sharing economy. Consider alternative transport options such as electric bikes or scooters, and whether including public transport is a viable offering to employees for certain trips.

These strategies will enable a shift away from a vehicle-centric fleet and ensure that vehicles are utilised as the appropriate mode for a particular trip rather than being the default option. This may sound like a move too far from a conventional fleet but there are organisations that have already made just this type of transition. An energy supplier in Belgium, Luminus, offers its 2,000 employees transport options that include taxis, scooters, shared cars, and public transport.

It's also worth noting that we have arrived at this point by focusing on productivity improvement; your fleet is on the verge of becoming a ‘future fleet’ simply by mastering skills that are really core fleet management capabilities.

What can you do today?

Right-size your fleet: Do you know if you have too many vehicles? Are you keeping excess vehicles in your fleet to cater for the rare occasions when you hit peak demand?

Right-shape your fleet: Do you know for certain that the vehicles in your fleet are being used for the right purpose? GPS tracking can answer whether the expensive 4WDs and SUVs are only being driven in urban areas and can be replaced by more efficient sedans or hatchbacks.

Reduce or eliminate unnecessary travel: Can the meeting be done virtually, or resolved in an email or Microsoft Teams chat?

Increase fuel efficiency: Monitor driver behaviour and keep on top of maintenance.

Use alternative modes of transport: Could employees take advantage of public transport or rideshare services like Uber? Rideshare should certainly be on your radar an easy way to satisfy peak demand.

Real-world examples

Saint Vincent’s Health in Sydney reduced the fleet’s vehicle count by 20 with no adverse impact on operational capability. They did this by bringing in fleet management tools that included an integrated key management system and an online booking solution for the 400 users of the pooled fleet. This was especially important as it provided 24/7 access

New Zealand’s Plunket organisation which looks after pregnant women and provides early childhood care used the insights provided by Smartrak to reallocate vehicle resources more efficiently. This allowed Plunket to reduce the number of vehicles in the fleet while supporting growing staff numbers and providing services to more clients.

Ready to start turning a green issue into a money issue? Get in touch with Smartrak today to start reducing emissions and improve your fleet's productivity.

Each year, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) releases updates to its comprehensive ratings system. These ratings reflect increasing expectations in vehicle safety, so a 5-star rating this year is likely to signal an improvement over the same rating from a previous year. ANCAP has just released its testing and rating criteria for 2023 which demonstrate an exciting broadening of scope when it comes to vehicle safety systems.

Pursuing passive and active approaches to safer driving and vehicles

As the independent vehicle safety authority for Australia and New Zealand, ANCAP, applies a star rating to all new vehicles which reflects the level of safety each vehicle offers. This is an important way to help consumers understand and compare the relative safety when purchasing a new vehicle. ANCAP groups its ratings into passive features, which focus on how well the vehicle protects its occupants in a collision and active systems that help to avoid collisions in the first place.

What’s new from ANCAP for 2023

ANCAP has looked at how technology can be used to make roads safer for cyclists and motorcyclists, with detection technology that identifies two-wheeled road users and takes action to avoid collisions with them. A video (below) that’s just been released demonstrates the incredibly fast braking when systems detect a cyclist suddenly appearing in front of a vehicle or if a motorcyclist cuts across a vehicle’s path at an intersection. The reaction times demonstrated would be practically impossible for a human to equal, making this technology welcome news to all road users. In Australia, around 40 cyclists are killed every year and roughly 1,000 are severely injured. In New Zealand, a government website highlights that collisions at intersections are one of the major causes of vehicle-versus-motorcycle accidents.

All-round detection is also making it safer for cyclists to pass parked cars with a warning preventing or delaying the car doors being opened if a cyclist is detected approaching from behind.

Pedestrians are also benefitting from enhanced detection systems and improvements to impact testing that more accurately capture the effects of pedestrian/vehicle collisions.

Even the issue of children being locked in hot cars has been considered, with a system that registers someone is still in a locked car with the motor turned off. This will trigger an alarm to notify the adult who has just exited the car. More advanced systems may also automatically lower windows, switch on the air conditioning, or notify appropriate emergency/law enforcement agencies.

In a development that’s especially topical for Australians, attention has been given to the plight of occupants where the vehicle is submerged, perhaps because of flooded roads (almost a third of drownings in Queensland involve submerged cars). In these situations, the waterlogged electronics may fail to operate windows or door locks. The new criteria will ensure electric windows can still function up to two minutes after being submerged and doors opened even when the battery power has failed.

Why thinking you’re a good driver isn’t always enough

Scientific studies have shown that 93% of us think we are ‘above average’ at driving. Unfortunately, with over 1,500 people killed on Australian and New Zealand roads each year, the statistics indicate that either good drivers can have bad days or many of us are not as good at driving as we think we are.

The facts clearly illustrate that driving safely for most of us is still a work in progress. Even after decades of education campaigns, road design improvements, and stringent driver licencing tests, the toll on drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and even kids in driveways is still worryingly high (in Australia, the percentage of road deaths and hospitalisations involving cyclists is actually higher than it was five or ten years ago).

That’s why manufacturers and organisations like ANCAP are constantly improving guidelines for safety features in vehicles. They are creating and evaluating the technology that helps plug the gaps in our driving skills or simply our ability to focus on the act of driving – Believe it or not, 36% of drivers think they are still performing above average when texting or sending emails while driving.

Think ANCAP when thinking about new vehicles

Smartrak urges anyone responsible for vehicle purchasing to consider ANCAP ratings in their vehicle choice and we strongly recommend looking at the video we have mentioned in this blog. It vividly captures the kind of event that many of us could find ourselves in, regardless of how good a driver we believe we are.

Remember, a five-Star rating from a previous year isn’t always equivalent to the 5-Star rating awarded in the current year, because the rating system reflects ANCAP’s constantly updating criteria. As a result, a vehicle that received a five-star rating back in 2000 would have a lower rating if assessed today. This highlights why current ANCAP ratings should be a key metric for keeping your fleet as up to date as possible.

Vodafone’s announcement that its 3G operations will cease in New Zealand from late August 2024 has brought to light an extensive programme of preparation that Smartrak has been engaged in. For the last 18 months, our Product Development and Customer Success teams have been pursuing a 4G transition strategy that will enable our customers to experience a successful transition.

Our efforts have focussed on three areas that will be critical to maintaining business and operational continuity for our customers, during the transition and beyond.

  1. Identifying, testing, and approving suitable 4G replacements for current 3G technologies.
  2. Enabling a seamless transition between 3 and 4G solutions.
  3. Developing a roadmap that ensures our customers can take full advantage of the new capabilities available with the 4G upgrade.

We will also be engaging with our customers throughout 2023 to help them prepare for the transition. Through a combination of general information releases and targeted engagement via the Customer Success Managers, Smartrak will ensure that all customers are fully informed and equipped to develop successful transition plans.

The transition to 4G is an exciting development and we want our customers to be in a position where they will see the benefits 4G brings to fleet management and safety.

4G offers a substantial improvement in data speed. 4G stands for fourth generation, and it’s a step-change in cellular capabilities that will make everything faster and smoother. In fact, 4G is 500 times faster than 3G, making support for high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing and other data-heavy solutions easier and quicker. For our customers, this also means better connectivity when a device is communicating from a moving vehicle, for instance.

4G opens up an exciting future of possibilities, with expanded capabilities for telematics solutions. Video capture of the events leading up to a vehicle accident, or video monitoring of drivers to identify fatigued driving or smoking in the vehicle are all opportunities that can be more easily realised with 4G.

4G offers network confidence with excellent connectivity in urban zones. And for those rare instances where 4G does not match 3G in some areas there’s the new Teltonika 4G device, which automatically falls back to 2G when 4G coverage drops out. Taken as a combined offering, 4G/2G coverage is actually better than current 3G, and if there are issues in remote areas Smartrak will recommend deploying satellite or dual cellular/satellite solutions.

Introducing the AVL 4G and Teltonika 4G

Suitable 4G replacements for existing 3G AVLs have been identified and tested, with the AVL 4G and Teltonika 4G undergoing field tests on both sides of the Tasman. This has involved extensive journey testing across the North Island and a three-week deployment with Melbourne’s public transport bus network.

Identifying suitable replacement devices has been a key element in ensuring a seamless system transition for customers as they swap from 3G devices to 4G.

Developing your fleet’s 4G Transition Plan

Through 2023, Smartrak will be releasing information and support to help our customers develop their 4G transition plans. We understand that every fleet is different with regards to the devices deployed (tracking devices, personal safety devices, etc.) and that the 4G Transition Plan for your fleet needs to be a bespoke document. The information we are producing will take this into account. Smartrak’s Help Desk will also be fully engaged in helping customers through the transition, as will our Customer Success Managers.

A FAQ sheet has been prepared to cover any immediate questions you may have; it can be downloaded here. Alternatively, you can talk to your Customer Success Manager or submit any questions via the contact us form below.

We’ve all had moments on the road we’re not proud of. Whether it’s going beyond the speed limit, cornering too fast, or slamming on the brakes when the road conditions change. What you may not realise at the time is the impact this harsh driving can have on fleets, both for an employee’s safety and the bottom line. We’ve outlined some of the various forms that harsh driving can take, and why tackling it should be a priority.

Overspeeding and acceleration

One of the major contributors to harsh driving is overspeeding. As the name implies, this is when employees significantly exceed a road’s posted speed limit. While all of us drift over the speed limit on occasion, it has to be understood that overspeeding is both a danger to employees and other road users and a cause of increased operating costs.

One thing to consider about speed limits is that they aren’t arbitrary. They are set based on a number of criteria such as the construction of the road, its characteristics, local weather conditions, and types of vehicles using the road. This means there are legitimate reasons for the posted speed limit; it’s there to keep all road users safe and to reduce the possibility of accidents. Going above the posted speed means drivers aren’t giving themselves the ability to safely react to road hazards, whether that’s sharp corners, pedestrians, schools, or entering traffic. This behaviour is incredibly risky and unnecessarily puts both the drivers and the general public in danger.

Another thing to consider is that speeding directly increases the likelihood of an accident. It increases the distance required to brake, it makes vehicles more difficult to manoeuvre, and increases the severity of any impact with other vehicles, pedestrians, and stationary objects. Reducing speed directly reduces both the chance and severity of an accident.

There’s also a direct impact to your organisation’s bottom line. Vehicles that speed consume more fuel. In fact, when travelling the same distance, a vehicle will consume 20% more fuel travelling at 120 km per hour than at 100 km per hour. That’s not an insignificant amount of money when multiplied across your fleet. Plus, there’s the additional wear and tear each vehicle will experience, especially if the driver accelerates harshly. And if your employees are involved in an accident, there’s the potential for your insurance premium increasing.

Harsh cornering and braking

There’s more to harsh driving than just overspeeding. When a vehicle corners too quickly or the brakes are applied aggressively, there are several direct impacts to your organisation.

Harsh cornering occurs when a driver takes a corner too fast. This puts unnecessary strain on the vehicle, leading to additional wear and tear on tyres and brake pads. But more importantly, if the driver isn’t aware of the road conditions, there’s a chance harsh cornering could lead to even worse outcomes. If the corner was taken at high speed, the vehicle might roll, injuring the occupants and potentially other road users. Even if the vehicle doesn’t roll, taking a corner too fast can lead to a driver losing control of the vehicle entirely. This too could lead to an accident with other vehicles or road users.

Proactive management

One of the reasons Smarak’s solutions are so powerful is that they provide the opportunity for organisations to proactively manage harsh driving. By investing in a comprehensive telematics solution, you can benchmark and monitor how your employees are behaving while on the road. This is made possible due to hardware that includes accelerometers that detect sudden changes in movements. By capturing this data, you can run reports on how harshly each vehicle is being driven.

This means you can identify instances of harsh braking, cornering, acceleration, and where employees are travelling at excessive speeds. This can directly improve your bottom line by reducing fuel consumption and costly vehicle maintenance. It also helps to keep both your employees and other members of the public safe when using the road.

If you’re ready to start tackling harsh driving, get in touch below.

Smartrak’s PoolCar is packed with features and it’s important to us that your organisation gains the maximum benefit from our Mobility solutions. For example, while the benefits PoolCar brings to day-to-day fleet operations are appreciated by all our customers, not so many know that it’s also great at supporting your organisation’s strategic goals too.

Aligned to your organisation’s goals

Not every organisation has the same fleet priority. Some lease their vehicles and want to ensure they’re maximising value for money. Others want to limit their fleet's impact on the environment. By automatically prioritising certain vehicles during the booking process, PoolCar can align vehicle allocation with your organisation’s goals. Currently, PoolCar can prioritise Lease Score, Utilisations score, or CO2 emissions.

Lease Score

When prioritising lease profile of the fleet, PoolCar calculates a lease score for every vehicle in your fleet. This is done using a formula that considers a vehicle’s current odometer reading and the time remaining on a vehicle’s lease term. It then extrapolates how far each vehicle will have travelled by the end of the lease and scores it via a percentage. PoolCar then ranks each vehicle’s score from lowest to highest and displays those with the lowest score on the first page of the booking screen.

Utilisation Score

When prioritising utilisation, PoolCar looks at how often each vehicle is being used throughout the day. It ranks each vehicle as a percentage of daily utilisation and displays vehicles with the lowest utilisation on the first page of the booking screen.

Emissions Rating

When prioritising emissions, PoolCar will present vehicles on the first page of the booking calendar that have the lowest CO2 emissions profile. This can help organisations reach their emission reduction targets and reduce fuel costs. In order to take advantage of this feature, the emissions profile of each vehicle must first be uploaded into PoolCar.

These capabilities help bring fleet strategy into the heart of vehicle operations, but they are just the start of PoolCar’s journey to becoming an integral element in achieving your organisation’s strategic goals.

Trip Planning – PoolCar’s next evolution

When Smartrak released the Beta version of Trip Planning in March, PoolCar customers were introduced to the next level in fleet strategy support. Trip Planning builds on current vehicle prioritisation capabilities with a new user experience that makes it even easier for vehicle bookers to get onboard with management’s goals.

An example of Smartrak's new pool booking solution
An example of Smartrak's new pool booking solution

Trip Planning will also capture more information on each trip, through a new Destination Field on the booking page. This builds on the information PoolCar is already collecting to deliver a deeper understanding of vehicle use.

Trip Planning is set to benefit fleet operations across a range of areas:

Fleet policy will be integral to the booking process.

Fleet visibility will be improved through a solution that accurately captures journey destinations. This would previously only be possible with tracking units deployed.

Employee safety will be improved by a solution that recognises high-risk destinations and includes appropriate warnings or prompts in the booking interface. This could involve notes on the destination, recommendations regarding safety equipment or if passes need to be arranged.

Journey trend identification will be a reporting gain, with accurate identification of journey destinations from every booking.

A clear picture on utilisation through accurate reporting on kilometres travelled, destination and duration of booking will support your efforts to improve utilisation.

Sustainability goals will be supported by presenting bookers with EVs and low-emission vehicles first and provide visibility of emissions ratings. Plus, the accurate distance data that’s captured and calculated will inform EV adoption viability.

You can find out more about the new PoolCar booking page, be updated on release dates, or engage in a pre-release trial of the upgrade by contacting us via the form below.

This is a guest post from CentroAssist.

Disability service providers face the same constraints as other commercial businesses. They all share the same struggles about rising operational costs and impact to workforce productivity, including: 

These factors influence the quality of supports, participant outcomes, innovation and broader sustainability.

You may be finding that your NDIS business is running into similar issues relating to cost deficiencies, poor workflows, and inundation of paperwork across multiple systems. Are your employees relying on a folder on the shelf that is paper based, unused, and always out-of-date? This can add to the cost of compliance and the likelihood of errors. 

There are several cost-reducing measures that your NDIS business can adopt today to increase your business’ bottom line and improve productivity. Streamlining your processes with an integrated Quality Management System (QMS) can be one of the key solutions to help you save time and money. 

Let’s look at four ways you could save money by shifting your systems and processes to a centralised framework with a QMS:

  1. Integrate Systems
    By integrating all your systems and processes into one central framework, you’ll be able to manage, evaluate the current state and improve your organisation. It will give you a better understanding of areas of performance that can be improved which is critical for running a business highly focused on continuous improvement.
  2. Streamline Auditing 
    Auditing can be a big undertaking for any business, but they can get trickier in the healthcare industries. If you spend months collecting paper-based evidence to prove how your business complies with the regulations and standards, it’s the best decision to look for a cloud based integrated system. Having an integrated Quality Management System (QMS) can provide insights on high-risk items that need prioritised action ahead of time. This can save your organisation time and money further down the track during the external auditing process.
  3. Avoid Non-Compliance 
    By streamlining your processes, you’ll be more organised and can more effectively stay updated on legislation pertaining to practice standards which apply to your business. On the other hand, you can also monitor ongoing compliance and avoid any risk of fines and penalties to your business.
  4. Increase Productivity 
    After migrating your existing systems to one QMS, you can reduce the time spent managing multiple processes, which can then be redirected towards your clients. Furthermore, by using a cloud-based web-app you’ll be able to effectively train staff with the best practices from day dot. This will streamline workflows and reduce some significant risks.

Ensure your staff are compliant, have time to deliver a quality service and operate efficiently in growing your organisation to meet the needs of the NDIS sector. Align your organisation’s purpose and strategic direction with our all-in-one software to manage policies, processes, documented information, and continuous improvement opportunities.

Request a free demo today!

Centro QMS is a fit-for-purpose NDIS and Aged Care quality management solution. Our intuitive products allow for the seamless sharing of policies, processes, files, information and knowledge within an organisation that help transform organisational compliance. 

If you have employees working in remote areas of New Zealand or Australia, it’s imperative that you have a way to monitor their wellbeing at all times. If a remote worker finds themself in trouble, it is vital they receive help as soon as possible – this is what paramedics and first responders call ‘The Golden Hour’.

What is the golden hour?

The Golden Hour refers to the critical period directly after a traumatic injury and highlights the importance of treating someone with severe trauma quickly. A speedy response will be beneficial to the patient’s overall outcome, whereas extending the time until treatment arrives can have fatal consequences. So, while the Golden Hour may not be one exact hour, it’s a recognition that delays in treating severe trauma will potentially lead to worse health outcomes.

While it is important that every employee receives the proper medical treatment in a timely manner, those working in the suburbs and cities are more likely to be attended to quickly. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the situation in a remote location where an accident can go unnoticed for hours and sometimes days. Even with an alert raised, the time to respond will naturally be extended when an accident occurs far from an emergency services base, which are generally located in urban centres. These factors highlight the critical importance of fast and accurate alerting, to signal a problem and pinpoint where the affected worker is.

How tech can help you respond quickly

Smartrak works with a wide range of organisations and industries across New Zealand and Australia, including healthcare providers, utility companies, councils, and government departments. Due to the large geographic areas covered by these organisations, it’s inevitable that workers will find themselves in communication black spots where cellular coverage is intermittent or unavailable.

The nature of working in remote locations means that it could be hours before anyone discovers that something has happened. Imagine the time that is lost when the first indication of an accident is a worried family raising the alarm because someone hasn’t returned home, or a member of the public comes across the site of an accident and notifies emergency services possibly hours after the event? In these scenarios, the golden hour has well and truly come and gone, with serious consequences for the victim.

How GPS can close the communications gap

One option is to look at a solution that can notify you when your vehicles are involved in an accident. Our High Impact and Rollover (HIR) solution is an optional component of our high-end telematics solution. As the name suggests, the device detects the sudden deceleration associated with serious crashes or when a vehicle rolls over. As soon as the unit detects an impact, an alert is sent either by SMS or email to someone designated by your organisation to receive HIR alerts.

But there’s also the issue around connectivity. Most telematics solutions operate on cellular networks, which poses a problem for workers in remote locations. If your mobile phone can’t get any signal, neither can your GPS hardware. While your device will know where it is, it won’t be able to communicate that location back to base. A satellite connection solves this. Our AVL units can be enhanced with a satellite modem, so that they can transmit data even when they go beyond the range of standard 3G or 4G cellular networks.

By pairing HIR with a satellite connection, you’re ensuring that you’re able to keep track of your workers when they’re out working in remote locations. But more importantly, if they are involved in an accident, our HIR solution will notify you about it regardless of their physical capacity to call for help. It gives you the ability to act immediately, ensuring that your employees receive the attention they need within that golden-hour window.

There’s no doubt there are serious benefits to managing your shared fleet in PoolCar. It helps reduce underutilised resources, eliminates double bookings, and because PoolCar ensures only employees with an account can book a vehicle, it increases fleet security.

But what happens when you need to provide vehicle access to someone who’s not a PoolCar user: someone who’s a part-time employee, an intern, or a contractor? Thankfully, PoolCar has got that covered.

Making bookings for others

PoolCar is designed specifically to help streamline employee access to your fleet’s vehicles. Each employee in your organisation is supplied with their own username and login and have access to vehicles according to the permissions you have set. Some vehicles might only be used by people in certain roles, such as tool-of-trade trucks or vans. While this functionality ensures your fulltime staff follow fleet use requirements, it’s not always suitable for sort-term employees like contractors.

One of PoolCar’s advanced features is the ability to make bookings for other users. Anyone with elevated access (Pool Officer, Pool Manager, of System Administrator) can make a booking on behalf of someone else. Users with elevated access simply book a vehicle as usual then update the driver’s details to the contractor, including their email address. This means easily managing contractors' access by planning ahead and reserving vehicles days or weeks in advance.

This capability also means you can maintain a record of who exactly was driving which vehicle. This is especially useful should you receive a speeding fine or a parking ticket in the future; you can attribute it to the contractor who was driving and ensure they take responsibility for the fine.

Close the loop with Automated key acccess

The other benefit of using PoolCar to manage contractor access to vehicles is the ability to oversee access to keys. Contractors won’t necessarily know your organisation’s process for collecting and returning keys. By using a key management solution such as a KeyMaster cabinet, you can ensure that you have a standardised procedure for key pick up and drop off.

When forwarding the booking details ahead of schedule to the relevant contractor you can outline your fleet policy and procedures. And because the booking code to access the keys can only be used during the period when the booking is active, you don’t have to worry about contractors taking keys before their appointed time. This is especially useful if they are collecting or dropping off keys outside of business hours, as they don’t need a member of staff to assist them.

This system also ensures that should the keys not be returned at the specified time, you will receive a notification from PoolCar. You can then follow up with the relevant contractor straight away, ensuring one of your fleet vehicles isn’t out of commission while you hunt down the keys.

Managing contractors in PoolCar has additional benefits

There are additional benefits to be gained by managing contractors in PoolCar. For starters, you can capture cost centres for each booking. By having a dedicated cost centre for contractors, you can accurately report on the percentage of fleet usage. This can help identify how much fleet wear and tear usage you should be recovering from contractors and ensures you aren’t dipping into the fleet’s own budget.

You can also ensure that contractors have the correct type of insurance while they’re driving for your organisation. On this topic, it’s worth noting that most private vehicle insurance doesn’t cover work related purposes. By adopting a facility for contractors to use fleet vehicles you are avoiding the complications that may arise should a contractor have an accident in their own private vehicle while working for your organisation.

As you can see, there are some serious advantages when using PoolCar to manage contractor access to your fleet. Not only does it streamline the booking process, but you can also rest easy knowing you’re keeping track of who has the vehicle keys, and they can focus on the job they’ve been contracted to do.