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 Are your employees relying on a folder on the shelf that is paper based, unused, and always out-of-date?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, or 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 with those of 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.

Two years of a pandemic have heaped change and disruption on Fleet Managers. For many it’s been a struggle just to meet operational expectations or to pivot to the ‘new normal’ without adding any extra challenges. In this environment, it’s not surprising that transitioning to more environmentally sustainable operations may have been shifted to the not-so-urgent tray.

If lowering your fleet’s emissions sounds like a good idea to you, but you have more pressing issues we have good news: you are probably already helping the planet simply by ensuring your fleet operates as efficiently as possible.

In this article we’re going to illustrate how business goals and environmental gains are tightly linked. You will see that good fleet management is delivering benefits in a variety of areas, and we’re going to start by talking about productivity.

Improving productivity is the key

Productivity is the fleet’s ability to meet operational requirements as measured against the inputs necessary to do that. Those inputs are varied, but the ones most in focus for Fleet Managers are the assets (vehicles), and the cost of running those assets: manpower, servicing, fuel, etc.

Smartrak reports

Achieving productivity gains is dependent on improving the management and utilisation of the fleet; essentially, you are trying to eliminate waste and achieve more with existing or fewer resources. Inevitably, these improvements to operations also have a beneficial effect on emissions reduction. This can be seen in two ways: the immediate consequences and secondary consequences.

The immediate consequences of improved fleet management can be seen in reduced fuel use by managing factors such as harsh driving, speeding, and excessive idling. Using tracking, geofences and reports on vehicle trips can also lead to more efficient journey and task management, which could result in the fleet’s total milage being reduced. Naturally, the reduced fuel use generated by these initiatives results in an emissions drop.

The savings gained by reductions in fuel use, lower service costs due to reductions in harsh driving and possibly lower insurance costs lead to the secondary consequence of improved fleet management. Through savings in operational expenditure, money is made available to reinvest in the fleet. One outcome of this could be the purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles or EVs, resulting in even more savings and fewer emissions.

The productive road to sustainability

The link between productivity and sustainability is clearly understood internationally. The diagram below was produced by the US government to illustrate Core Sustainable Fleet Principles as a part of the government’s Federal Energy Management Program.

The two blue segments in the car are key elements in improved fleet management and utilisation, and the darker green one is absolutely linked to productivity. The fourth may seem initially to only have a sustainability focus, but if driving an EV brings down operating costs it’s also linked to productivity. Buying less fuel to meet fleet operational requirements improves productivity.

Locally, we can see evidence of the correlation between lowered operating costs and emissions reduction in the industry leading transition to EVs carried out by Meridian Energy. Nick Robillard of Meridian states: “We’ve managed to remain cost neutral on the initial capital cost (adopting EVs) while lowering our operating costs.”

The lesson here, is that every litre of fuel you save simultaneously reduces your operating costs and your carbon footprint.

Is your fleet already on an emissions reduction journey?

Many Smartrak customers are already reducing emissions as a consequence of better managing their fleets and the more they push for improved productivity, the greener their fleets become. The diagram below illustrates a solution adoption journey for a customer that starts out with bringing fleet vehicles into a shared pool.

Stage One: Pooling the vehicles means those sitting idle can be either utilised for tasks or retired. Demonstrated fleet reductions of at least 10% are proven in real-world deployments, which simultaneously reduces costs and emissions.

Stage Two: Vehicles are now being tracked when they leave the carpark. Fleet Managers know exactly how long crews are at a job site, can offer customers a more responsive service, and manage resources to achieve more with less. The resulting uptick in efficiency and reduction in waste benefits the bottom line and the planet.

Stage Three: Driver behaviour - monitoring speeding, harsh driving and excessive idling reduces fuel costs, brings down insurance premiums, improves safety, and reduces emissions.

Improved fleet management through layed technology

Turning the climate crisis to advantage

Reduced emissions as a consequence of better fleet management are to be celebrated. But is there a chance to actively enroll the conversation around global warming into a future fleet strategy, benefitting productivity and the planet?

The pressure to move towards more sustainable transport options is growing, with efforts to persuade or legislate evident in three key areas:

Government mandates

In NZ, government departments and local government entities have been given clear expectations around the adoption of EVs and their reporting requirements regarding GHG emissions. There is a grace period, but that will be much shorter than the lifespan of most fleet vehicles

Penalties and incentives

In NZ, the ‘Ute Tax’ is creating soft pressure to steer purchasers away from high emissions vehicles to low and zero-emission alternatives.

In Australia, all governments have brought incentives in to promote low emission vehicles.

Public expectation

Shareholders and the public are aware of the need to reduce emissions. In this environment, fleets will be seen as obvious targets for improvement.

The green fleet options for Fleet Managers

Fleet Managers can either wait until the pressure to adopt a lower emissions profile necessitates change. Or they can set the strategy ahead of enforced change and build a future fleet that responds appropriately to operational requirements.

Fortunately, a best-practice approach to building an emissions reduction strategy is available.

  1. Measure current emissions
  2. Establish a start-point
  3. Identify high emissions vehicles
  4. Use data to identify vehicles for EV transition
  5. Set goals
  6. Write a business plan

This six-step process is largely dependent on having access to accurate emissions reporting, which is why Smartrak has led the industry in developing an easily adopted emissions reporting solution that will automatically measure the emissions produced by individual vehicles and the whole fleet. This provides the data for cogent decision making and will accurately identify the emissions reductions produced*.

This structured approach to adopting more sustainable fleet policies delivers three key benefits that ensure Fleet Manger’s stay in the driving seat of fleet operations.

  1. Provides confidence to stakeholders that a strategy is in place
  2. Encourages pro-active investment in the future fleet
  3. Ensures that decision making is driven by operational requirements

Key takeaway

The attention that’s being given to lowering emissions is the change-generator you are using to accomplish improved fleet management goals. So go big and bring on the EVs. If emissions reduction is a result of having a great fleet strategy the C-Suite and the green lobby will be equally impressed.

*Smartrak Emissions Reporting is currently only available to NZ customers, but development is progressing

PoolCar and KeyMaster are designed to help simplify the management of pooled fleets and streamline access to vehicles for users. But the combination of PoolCar and KeyMaster has additional benefit in that they help organisations improve the security and access to their vehicles. Learn how to improve your vehicle security with KeyMaster and PoolCar.

Controlling who can book a vehicle

Let’s start at the beginning. Someone can only make a booking through PoolCar if they are an authorised user. This means they have been specifically granted visibility of certain vehicles and the opportunity to book them in the booking platform. Authorisation is govened by the types of vehicles a user is authorised to drive, by location, and by time controls (excluding out of hours or weekend use, for instance).

By itself, PoolCar provides assurance that only authorised people are booking vehicles. But this isn’t the same as controlling access to vehicles. If the keys to fleet vehicles are hanging on a hook in an unattended office, unauthorised people can still gain access to them regardless of booking controls.

Controlling access to vehicle keys

The next step in increasing security is through the use of KeyMaster key cabinets. KeyMaster cabinets are designed to integrate directly with PoolCar and will only release keys to people who have a valid booking in PoolCar. The cabinet is also controlled by PoolCar, which means it can be situated virtually anywhere that’s convenient to vehicle users, provided it has access to the internet and power. If you have a satellite office or worksite that’s remote from head office, you can keep the keys for vehicles based at that location in an onsite KeyMaster.

It's also impossible to take the wrong keys from a KeyMaster cabinet because the key that’s associated with the booked vehicle is illuminated within the cabinet, with all other keys held fast by locking bolts.

Furthermore, KeyMaster cabinets are equipped with an integrated pinhole camera that captures the image of everyone who accesses the cabinet.

Including a KeyMaster within the solution also brings a degree of rigor to key management. By removing the requirement for someone to physically oversee keys, you eliminate any occasions where keys are left unattended or mistakenly handed to the wrong person.

The solution for comprehensive vehicle security

As an integrated solution, Poolcar and KeyMaster effectively plug the gaps in access and vehicle security. And they provide that confidence while reducing management workload and streamlining access for legitimate vehicle users. These are important aspects in solution efficacy. If your vehicle security protocols hinder operations or demand extra effort in order to comply with them, they will eventually be ignored; PoolCar and KeyMaster ensure that compliance is easy and automatic.

We often talk about how the approach to fleet vehicles should be the same as for a place of work. Any time an employee gets into a vehicle to travel to a meeting, visit a client, or pick up a colleague from the airport, they are effectively stepping into a mobile extension of your workplace. With this in mind, it’s important for organisations to make sure that the vehicles used on a daily basis are as safe as possible, something made simpler with a comprehensive fleet management solution.

The grim statistics

According to recent data, 37% of workplace deaths in New Zealand, and 65% of workplace deaths in Australia involve vehicles. In Australia, 47% of workplace deaths are due to vehicle collisions on a public road. Combine these statistics with the fact that 20% of fleet vehicles are involved in some form of accident annually, and there is a high likelihood that a fleet vehicle will be involved in a serious or fatal crash. These grim statistics highlight the need for organisations to proactively approach safety around vehicles, just as we do for safety on work sites and in the office.

One avenue worth pursuing to reduce the likelihood of accidents is driver behaviour. If you know how each driver in your organisation is performing, you can identify risky behaviour and proactively implement training and support to those individuals. It is imperative that organisations do everything in their power to provide as safe a workplace as possible and Smartrak’s Dashboards, reports and telematics solutions provide a way to easily track and address risky driving behaviour.

Another option worth adopting that will compliment a solid driver behaviour management strategy is choosing the safest vehicles possible.

Why it’s important to consider ANCAP when choosing fleet vehicles

Since its founding in 1992, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has produced safety ratings for passenger vehicles entering the Australian and New Zealand markets. ANCAP provides a star rating on each vehicle, giving consumers a simple way to rank relative vehicle safety when making a purchase.

A vehicle’s ANCAP rating should have a direct impact on fleet decision making. While there are multiple considerations when choosing vehicles, including budget, vehicle purpose, and how vehicles sit within the larger fleet strategy, there is also an obvious need to include safety in selection criteria.

Why five stars isn't always five stars

The thing to understand about ANCAP safety ratings is that the testing process is constantly evolving. As manufacturers develop and introduce new safety features, the bar that a vehicle must clear in order to be considered ‘five-star’ inevitably rises. Consequently, a vehicle that was rated five-stars in 2010 would not receive the same rating today.

What this effectively means is that as your fleet ages, the relative safety of your vehicles diminishes. Compared to new vehicles entering the market your fleet vehicles will not be considered as safe. Circling back to the notion that an organisation should be doing everything in its power to ensure the safest possible workplace, it becomes clear that organisations should rotate vehicles regularly with the goal of enhancing employee safety while minimising costs related to wear and tear.

How a fleet management solution helps

As you can see, it is vitally important to ensure you’re selecting the safest vehicles possible for your fleet. But it’s also just as crucial to make sure your fleet is staying up to date with current safety standards. While it is possible to do this manually, a fleet management solution will streamline the process.

A fleet management solution can help make sure your organisation stays up to date with fleet safety standards by automatically tracking the age of each vehicle. Tracking vehicle ages allows you to set annual thresholds for when vehicles need to be replaced. This replaces the admin burden of manually tracking the age of each vehicle with software-based alerts and notifications.

Setting up regular notifications to review your vehicles provides a circuit breaker to identify which vehicles are no longer up to your organisation’s safety standards and need to be de-fleeted and replaced. This ensures that your fleet is always as safe as it can be.

Most fleets have got the message that leaving vehicle keys on a hook in the office isn’t the best way to manage them, with lockable key cabinets increasingly being used to control access to vehicles and improve security. However, while a simple lockable cabinet is an improvement compared to a peg board it still has major limitations and will fail to fulfil the requirements of a comprehensive key management strategy.

How you store and administer keys should be an integral part of fleet management, delivering benefits to both Fleet Managers and vehicle users.

The best key management strategy integrates vehicle booking and key access within a seamless process that eliminates any wasted time, responds to operational requirements, and minimises administration. The gold standard utilises online controlled key cabinets that can be placed where access to keys is most convenient for vehicle users while maintaining the control and oversight that management requires.

The vital role of key cabinets in an integrated and comprehensive fleet management strategy

1. Managing critical resources. Controlling access to keys is an important step in ensuring vehicles and other assets are available to the people who need them. An online controlled key cabinet allows managers to know where keys are, who has them and how long they are likely to be required for. This supports resource allocation, task planning, and cost attribution/retrieval.

The alternative, of employees working out the priorities and requirements around access to vehicles, plant, and equipment is an inadequate solution for all but the smallest operation. An employee cannot be expected to have a full appreciation of the requirements of other teams and they are unlikely to know task schedules that require the availability of certain vehicles.

2. Streamlining vehicle access and reducing administration. This depends on the key cabinet(s) being integrated into a fleet booking solution. The integration allows the booking solution and a key cabinet to communicate with each other, effectively eliminating the need for day-to-day management of keys. Once authorisations have been set, vehicle users simply book the vehicle they require through the booking solution and that information is communicated to the key cabinet.

Vehicle users don’t need to run around trying to track down who last had the keys, they are in the key cabinet because the solution mandates their return at the completion of the previous booking and alerts management if this doesn’t happen.

Automated key control, via the cabinet and booking solution, also significantly reduces the administration burden. The need for a person to be in charge of administering keys is removed, because the cabinet and the booking solution are managing access according to the access rules that have been established. If these rules need to be amended, it’s once again an online process to easily reconfigure access permissions.

3. Maintaining control over dispersed fleets. An online controlled key cabinet can be located practically anywhere there is power and internet access. This is particularly relevant to dispersed fleets operating out of different locations. Having a key cabinet that’s secure and integrated with the booking solution means that vehicle users have access to keys where they need them, with no reduction in management oversight.

4. Making it easy for everyone. A key management solution has to be easy to use. Smartrak’s KeyMaster cabinets require either an access code supplied to a user’s phone or a swipe card to open the cabinet, allowing fleets to select the technology that best suits them. Once the cabinet is open, any chance of the wrong key being taken is eliminated by restraining latches securing all other keys in the cabinet and the right key being illuminated.

The same approach to a great user experience is evident in both the booking system and the management system that administrators use for setting access authorisations.

5. Providing scalability. The capacity available with the KeyMaster system can be increased by adding extra cabinets to a location. With this cost-effective solution, the original cabinet still controls access authorisations for supplementary cabinets.

6. For safety’s sake. Employers should be taking all reasonable steps to ensure an unauthorised or inexperienced employee cannot gain access to keys. Even with good intentions, moving that vehicle or plant could lead to unforeseen consequences and injury. An integrated key management solution ensures that keys are available to whoever should access to them, without compromising on key access security.

Bring the benefits of integrated key management to your fleet

Download the KeyMaster product sheet. You can also read how St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney utilised KeyMaster key cabinets as a part of their fleet management solution.

We understand that being a Fleet Manager comes with many considerations in mitigating risk and ensuring the well-being of both the fleet and your drivers. Keeping track of your fleet’s day-to-day operations is no small task. However, an effective fleet management system can streamline your daily workload and reduce the risks associated with your fleet.

Break-Down Risk

Keeping track of your fleet’s servicing schedule can be a real challenge. If you don’t, you run the risk of facing costly repairs, more frequent breakdowns, and even endangering your workers on the road.

Fleets that don’t get the services they need are much more likely to see breakdowns, which leads to tow trucks, hire cars, and putting vehicles out of action. Each of these can add a significant cost to your organisation and decrease the productivity of both your fleet and employees. Workers may also have fewer available vehicles, opening up the risk of missing or rescheduling meetings if adjustments are not made.

Woman broken down on side of the road, calling tow truck

A fleet management solution can mitigate these problems by ensuring you’re always notified when vehicle servicing is due. GPS tracking ensures the odometer readings of your fleet vehicles are constantly tracked, providing you with a timely and accurate notification of when the next service is due. This keeps your fleet rotating like clockwork and reduces the likelihood of vehicles being removed from the fleet for extended periods due to unexpected problems.

Driver Behaviour Risk

Another way effective fleet management can play a role in risk reduction is through the identification of risky driver behaviour. This includes speeding, harsh braking and cornering, fatigue, or distracted driving.

This is especially important considering how dangerous it is on our roads. A third of all traffic is either commuting or work-related travel and 42% of all workplace deaths in NZ and 64% of workplace deaths in Australia involve vehicles. With statistics like these, it is imperative that organisations take their duty-of-care responsibilities seriously.

Car speeding towards stop sign on windy road

One way to achieve this is via GPS tracking. Fleet Managers can proactively monitor risky driver behaviours and be informed if any driver is habitually speeding or driving recklessly. Identifying drivers that take excessive risks on the road can allow you to take corrective action, fulfilling your responsibility to protect your drivers and those they share the road with.

Financial Risk

Regardless of the size of your fleet, it’s important to ensure you have the ability to keep on top of your fleet’s finances. This includes the differences in fuel efficiency across your fleet or any tendencies for some vehicles to experience more issues during use. Being unaware of these factors can lead to unnecessary expenditures for your organisation in excessive fuel consumption, frequent roadside assistance, or repairs that temporarily take vehicles out of action. All of these reduce the productivity of your fleet and increase financial expenses.

Piggy bank broken to access funds inside

An effective fleet management system maximises utilisation, providing oversight and enabling control over which vehicles are assigned to particular tasks. Ensuring fit-for-purpose allocation can minimise incidents on the road and reduce fuel cost through giving preference to the most efficient vehicles. This informed control helps your organisation cut fleet costs and reduce exposure to financial risk

Car Theft Risk

Another risk that can be mitigated with a fleet management solution is vehicle theft. In 2020 an average of 131 vehicles were stolen in Australia each day, and in New Zealand, a car theft occurs every twenty-three minutes.

Having a sound key-management system can make all the difference in protecting your fleet. Effective key management helps to keep vehicle keys out of unauthorised hands and provides fleet managers with an auditable account of when and where your keys were taken and by who. This means you have total control over who has access to your fleet vehicles, preventing car theft by locking keys in intelligent electronic cabinets that only provide the right key at the right time, to the right person.

Thief breaking into car

The GPS tracking functions of fleet management further aid in vehicle theft prevention and can assist in recovery. Firstly, Fleet Managers can utilise geofencing features on their depot and vehicles, which notify you if fleet vehicles or expensive plant and machinery are taken after-hours or on weekends. This lets you take immediate response if a theft or unauthorised use has occurred. What’s more, the in-built GPS tracking provides real-time location data that can be invaluable in asset recovery in instances of theft.

As you can see, there are numerous risks associated with managing fleets. But with a solid fleet management solution, you can easily minimise or mitigate these risks. Smartrak has a number of comprehensive solutions that help Fleet Managers tackle all the challenges your organisation may face. To learn more, feel free to get in touch with us via the form below

At the end of the day, your fleet is only as good as your chosen selection of vehicles. Unfortunately, vehicles don’t come cheap, and when faced with a finite budget, how can you ensure that you’re not only getting good value for money, but you’re identifying opportunities to reinvest? PoolCar provides several ways for Fleet Managers to capture costs so you can invest in the fleet of tomorrow.

Capturing Cost Centres

To successfully implement a strategy that will help you reinvest in your fleet, you need a way to accurately recover fleet costs. One way to do that is to charge fleet usage back to each of the departments in your organisation. That way, you’re not having to foot the whole bill, and those who use the fleet are paying their way. PoolCar makes this a breeze by capturing cost centres at the time of booking.

Business woman analysing data

At the end of the month, you can use simply run a report that breaks down the percentage of usage across every department. The cost centre captured at the time of each booking becomes the identifier for departmental usage. And because you’re accurately capturing all bookings, there’s no need to guess. This ensures you can accurately recover fleet costs and not eat into your fleet’s already limited budget.

Utilisation Data

Another way to reduce fleet costs is by reducing your fleet’s utilisation. PoolCar captures data on how often each vehicle in your fleet is being driven. Would it surprise you to know that the average fleet barely reaches 20% utilisation? This is potentially leaving a lot of money on the table in the form of unnecessary vehicles, and their associated running costs.

What we see is that when organisations adopt PoolCar, they often manage to reduce their fleet by up to 10%. This can free the capital tied up in assets that would otherwise sit idle in the car park. It also helps Fleet Managers push back against claims that there aren’t vehicles available to staff. Solid booking data trumps anecdotal evidence every single time.

But while reducing your fleet size will provide some quick wins — you’ll recover some costs when de-fleeting old vehicles, including registration and maintenance costs — the real way to reduce costs is through behavioural change.

Behavioural Change

Behavioural change might not be high on your radar for ways to reinvest in your fleet, but it’s an important next step as it helps identify instances where fleet use isn’t actually necessary. This comes about by offering alternatives to vehicle travel, and by prompting employees to re-evaluate if a vehicle is necessary in the first place.

Two workers car pooling

The simplest way to encourage behavioural change is via carpooling. Rather than having an employee start their journey planning by booking a vehicle, it can be a great exercise to first get them to see if anyone else is going to the same destination at the same time. If that’s the case, PoolCar has a request a ride feature, where you can book a seat in an existing booking, thereby making better use of the already booked vehicle. This also provides an opportunity for cross-pollination of ideas, especially when you have individuals from different departments spending time together and talking shop.

Another way to promote behavioural change is to require a manager to authorise short bookings. PoolCar has the ability to flag bookings for short distances. This can provide an opportunity for managers to ask if a vehicle is necessary for the trip; perhaps walking, public transport, a bike, or scooter would be more suitable? There are also opportunities to enquire whether a trip is even necessary and could the meeting take place online instead.

By promoting change around how employees access fleet vehicles, there is an opportunity to reduce the reliance on fleet vehicles. This gives you the chance to again analyse if vehicles are needed, and if not, reduce your fleet size.

You’ve reduced your fleet costs. Now what?

So, you’ve used PoolCar to streamline your fleet, reduced its size, and cut down on unnecessary staff travel. As a result, you’ve managed to improve the bottom line of your fleet’s budget. While it might be tempting to bank the money and save it for a rainy day, there are several ways to reinvest in your fleet that will pay dividends both now and into the future.

Shaping greener cars

One option is to use the money you’ve saved and invest in high ANCAP rated vehicles. Afterall, it’s likely that your vehicles are now considered a place of work. When you consider that one in five work vehicles will be involved in an accident this year, and that more than 40% of workplace deaths in Australia and New Zealand involve vehicles, you want to ensure your employees are as safe as possible when on the road. It’s also worth pointing out that ANCAP ratings degrade with time. A five-star rated vehicle ten years ago is likely only one or two stars today. Investing in new vehicles with modern safety features is a fantastic way to reinvest in your fleet.

Another option is to use your savings to accelerate the transition to Zero Emission Vehicles. This would not only lower your fleet operating costs (no reliance on petrol and lower maintenance costs) it would also help accelerate your organisation’s goals around reducing emissions.

As you can see, implementing a shared vehicle solution like PoolCar opens up multiple opportunities to lower your fleet’s operating costs. But by reinvesting those savings in your future fleet, you stand to reap the benefits for both your employees and the organisation as a whole.

Over recent years, industrial manslaughter has become an increasing issue in organisational operations and negligence – leading to convictions in Australia and pushing for similar legal accountability in New Zealand. With the growing clarity on corporate negligence that may lead to the death of an employee, taking the extra measures to ensure the safety and security of your workers couldn’t be more critical. Smartrak has several products that serve to prioritise employee well-being and safety, including locational GPS tracking and check-in and duress functions.

First, let’s discuss the legal definitions and ramifications of industrial manslaughter. Where manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another human being, industrial manslaughter is an offence that occurs when a business causes the death of a worker through negligence. This negligence occurs when there is a failure in the duties of the employer to provide and maintain a work environment that is safe and without risk to health. Whilst this duty of care exists for all organisations, those with off-site employees that operate out of direct supervision should take high note of this shift to hold directors and organisations accountable.

In Australia, four states and territories (ACT, QLD, NT, and VIC) have passed industrial manslaughter legislation (with WA soon to follow suit). This led to the first industrial manslaughter conviction in 2020, which resulted in the sentencing of 10 months imprisonment for two directors and a $3 million fine. This case in question came from a forklift-related death of an employee, where the employing organisation was charged for failing to supervise workers effectively.

New Zealand on the other hand has no current industrial manslaughter legislation, however, similar negligence laws can be found in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 Section 47, and penalties can amount to $600,000 and/or 5-years imprisonment for businesses or business officers.

Clearly, Industrial manslaughter places a necessary penalty on the reckless endangerment of employees, and it is up to organisations to take all the steps they can to protect their workers from hazardous environments to ensure they finish the work-day safely. Having fleet drivers on the road or workers travelling off-site opens the business up to blind spots in supervising their workers and ensuring their safety. Organisations should take a strong focus on ensuring their employees have the knowledge, support and tools to be best protected in the event of an incident whilst at work.

At Smartrak, we have an array of devices that help employers maintain location and safety updates on their workers, as well as provide the employee with duress functions for fast response to incidents or dangerous situations.

The Protector Pro is a location-based communication tool that helps to assure an immediate response in an emergency. With built-in manual SOS triggers and even a Man-Down feature that activates when the device registers the employee as unconscious, your organisation can be constantly kept informed on the location and well-being of your employee, providing peace of mind for the safety of all workers. An example of product use might be when an employee is working in areas of low cellular coverage, such as extreme-rural areas or basements. In such events, employers can schedule timed check-ins for the workers, where a missed check-in can prompt notification to management to signal a potential issue. This helps extend the efforts made by the organisation, reducing liable negligence through taking the extra measure to ensure the wellbeing of the employee.

Other Smartrak products include the Personal Locator and Mini PL, each of which will help an organisation take further efforts to meet their duty of care for the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Not only will this help to protect the employee against workplace incidents, but it can boost morale for organisational culture and protect the business from criminal negligence – putting the employee first in operations.

At the end of the day, the safety of your workers is the utmost priority and benefits both the worker and the organisation. For more information on how Smartrak’s services can help your organisation, fill out the enquiry form below.