Eight benefits of software-based vehicle pool booking

It’s easy to understand why more organisations are moving to a pool booking system for their fleets. Consider these major benefits:

1. Right sizing your fleet

One of the main reasons an organisation might decide to implement a pool booking solution is to gain an understanding of booking utilisation. Often Fleet Managers have a feeling that they have too many, or too few vehicles. However, they don’t have the data that can support their decision-making process.

By having each vehicle as a digital asset, it becomes easy for Fleet Managers to see when an asset is booked—being utilised by someone in the organisation—or sitting idle in the car park. In short order a pool booking system can show how often vehicles are being utilised. Utilisation reports can assist key decision-makers to determine whether the fleet is being utilised properly and efficiently.

Learn how some of our customers have successfully used pool booking to reduce the size of their fleet.

2. Right typing your fleet

Most times a pool of vehicles will consist of a number of different types of vehicles. These mainly include sedans, but can also include specialty vehicles such as SUVs, 4WDs, utes, vans, and trucks. Fleet managers have a tough job trying to balance the quantity of each vehicle type so that specialty vehicles are available when required.

Furthermore, specialty vehicles are generally more expensive and are more costly to maintain, so any opportunity to reduce the numbers of these types of vehicles will reduce fleet operating and upfront costs.

Pool booking software allows fleet managers to see how often specialty vehicles such as trucks, vans, utes, and SUVs are being used. Also, asking staff to include a description of the trip as part of the booking process can shine light on what trips actually require the use of a specialty vehicle.

By knowing how often specialty vehicles are being used, and the types of trips they’re being used for, Fleet Managers can quickly understand if they can to be replaced with more cost-effective vehicles.

3. Rotating vehicles

Every Fleet Manager knows that vehicles need to be replaced at regular intervals. Whether it’s based on the mileage, or via the lease expiry date, Fleet Managers want to ensure they get the maximum return for each vehicle.

The challenge is that staff generally want to drive the newest vehicle with all the shiny new features. If left to their own devices, they’ll book newer vehicles over older vehicles. This means getting staff to use the four-year old vehicles because the sedan’s lease is nearly up will be a challenge.

A pool booking solution provides an elegant answer. Let the system allocate the vehicle automatically. Fleet managers can set vehicle priority, so that if the four-year old sedan and a brand-new one are both available, the system will allocate the older sedan before the newer one. This ensures that high-priority vehicles can hit their usage requirements before they are retired from service.

4. Reducing time, costs, and resources

One of the biggest challenges an organisation faces when managing a pool of vehicles is accurately tracking usage. Normally this is achieved with paper logbooks, however in many cases staff either forget or refuse to fill them in. Pool booking software makes this process unnecessary. By combining PoolCar with a GPS tracking solution, the odometer can be kept up to date automatically.

Another challenge is when organisations allocate the management of pool bookings and vehicle keys to a staff member. It becomes their job to cross-check bookings often via an Outlook calendar or a spreadsheet. Pool booking solutions remove this extra layer of booking management; after confirming a booking in PoolCar, the vehicle cannot be booked by anyone else. Furthermore, by implementing a key management system such as KeyMaster or Keyless Entry, staff cannot take keys without a valid booking.

5. Key management and accountability

Another issue that organisations face is how to manage pool vehicle keys. Often keys are stored in a draw, kept on a key hook somewhere in the office, or given to the administration person to look after. The issue is that all these options provide little in the way of accountability. The only way to know if keys have been returned is when the next person tries to take the vehicle. That person will end up wasting time tapping people on the shoulder trying to hunt the keys down.

PoolCar integrates with two key management solutions—KeyMaster and Keyless Entry. Both these systems require a valid booking in order to gain access to a vehicle’s keys. Furthermore, the keys must be returned before a booking can be finished. This provides a high degree of visibility and accountability on where your keys are at any particular time.

6. Accurately charge departments for use

Pooled fleets are often implemented to reduce the number of vehicles used across an entire organisation. As a result, multiple departments—from sales and marketing, through to accounting and HR—have access to the same vehicles. Individual departments are often required to cover vehicle usage out of their department budgets. But how do you accurately and efficiently report on how often staff from different departments are using vehicles?

Pool Booking provides an elegant solution. When staff book a vehicle for work related purposes, they are asked to specify which department the trip is for. This can even be a required field; staff can’t finalise a booking unless they provide the relevant information.

As a result, at the end of the reporting period, the Fleet Manager can run a report and allocate expenses to each department based on each department’s percentage of overall use.

7. Improved vehicle usage flexibility

Without having a pool booking in place, employees are left in the dark, unsure of where a vehicle is, whether it is being serviced or taken out for work.

Introducing a fleet pool booking system allows employees to book vehicles in advance and see which vehicles are available for use.
By giving staff the ability to view the booking calendar and make bookings ahead of time, staff can even invite colleagues to carpool when travelling.

8. Accurate and improved reporting

Through the pool booking system, your organisation can have a better understanding of what is happening with your fleet. You can program maintenance alerts based on mileage so that they are sent through the pool booking system. Vehicle whereabouts are also reported, providing increased knowledge and transparency for your organisation.

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