How allocated vehicles can play a part in your shared fleet strategy

Pooled fleets are a fantastic way for organisations to fine-tune their fleet size in order to maximise utilisation. By taking advantage of pool booking software, Fleet Managers can identify underutilised vehicles and take steps to improve fleet ROI. But this can be especially challenging when a fleet also includes allocated vehicles.

How allocated vehicles impact fleet utilisation

It’s not unusual for organisations to offer employees a vehicle as part of their salary package. However, issues arise when these allocated vehicles are used primarily as a method of daily commuting. Consequently, these vehicles spend a significant period of time sitting idle and unproductive in the car park. If allocated vehicles make up a significant portion of your overall fleet, this directly impacts on overall utilisation.

This unproductive, idle asset base presents a significant challenge for Fleet Managers. Owners of allocated vehicles are unlikely to offer their vehicles for general use if there isn’t a way to ensure that they will always be available for the home commute. Some may become possessive, not allowing anyone to use what they perceive as their own personal vehicle. Or worse, owners might decide to play favourites, only allowing direct team members or specific colleagues use the vehicle.

A software solution

A pool booking solution like PoolCar can solve these seemingly two opposing viewpoints. It provides an opportunity for Fleet Managers to take advantage of idle vehicles, while ensuring availability of those vehicles for the commute home of their allocated drivers.

PoolCar users can create recurring bookings in order to block out specific periods of time. In the case of an employee with an allocated vehicle, a booking could be created that begins at the end of one business day (5:30pm Monday) and finishes the following morning (8:30am Tuesday). By making this a booking that repeats daily, you ensure that no one can accidentally book an allocated vehicle during that period.

This solves two problems. First, it opens up the potential for normally idle vehicles to be used during the workday. This can either relieve pressure on an already in-demand fleet, or it can provide Fleet Managers with the opportunity to start culling other vehicles while aiming for utilisation targets. It also solves any concerns employees might have about whether or not their vehicle will be booked out when they want to head home.

Spanners in the works

There will come a time when an employee with an assigned vehicle will call in sick. Ordinarily, this might cause panic, as bookings will need to be modified. However, PoolCar can easily solve this problem. PoolCar admins can easily log into the system and flag the vehicle as being unavailable. Once that’s sorted, they can either shift any affected bookings to other vehicles manually, or let the software take care of it. Because PoolCar is a SaaS solution, any bookings will be automatically updated, providing a seamless experience for anyone with an impacted booking. They probably won’t even realise the vehicle has changed beyond an email letting them know their booking has been updated.

PoolCar can also step in if the keys aren’t returned in time for the allocated driver’s homeward journey by generating an alert email to the system admin. At the same time, because the overnight booking is still outstanding, PoolCar can automatically re-allocate any bookings impacted because the vehicle hasn’t been returned. It also gives the Fleet Manager an opportunity to check in with the employee to make sure everything is ok.

Key accountability

The other aspect of pool booking is having a comprehensive key management solution. Pairing PoolCar with KeyMaster ensures that keys can’t just go missing; only individuals who have a valid booking can open the cabinet and can only take the key associated with their booking. This ensures that you can quickly identify who hasn’t returned the keys, instead of running around the office tapping people on the shoulder.

It puts a level of accountability on the driver of the vehicle; they must return the key to the cabinet when they arrive at work, closing off their recurring booking and making the vehicle available for others. If they forget, then the Fleet Manager will be alerted and can chase up straight away. It also ensures that the owner of the allocated vehicle knows exactly where their keys will be at the end of the day. The don’t have to run around looking for keys or chase people that might have already left for the day.

A key management solution also helps allay any concerns that might arise regarding infringements or fines. If a vehicle is associated with an infringement, it is a simple matter to report on who was responsible for the vehicle when the infringement occurred. The vehicle owner isn’t required to take the blame.

As you can see, a pool booking solution like PoolCar has the ability to not only streamline your shared fleet booking process but also widen the scope of your shared fleet. By opening up the possibility of using allocated vehicles as part of your shared fleet, you can start to better utilise assets that might otherwise sit idle for hours during the working day. And with PoolCar’s powerful features, owners of allocated vehicles can be sure they won’t be inconvenienced.

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