When Fleet News invited us along to their annual Fleet Management Live event, we were only too happy to take the trip over to the NEC at Birmingham to find out more.
We started our day by having breakfast with the ICFM (Institute of Car Fleet Management) who kicked off the event by sharing with us their top ten tips for those new to fleet management.
Clarity of purpose was top of their list and they stressed the importance of selecting the correct number and type of vehicles to match the task at hand. Control was another theme that the ICFM was keen to suggest. Whether that be through communications with drivers and line managers, or via a clear and transparent fleet policy, having a good grasp of how your fleet operates is a must for any new fleet manager. For more information about the ICFM and their membership services, visit icfm.com
Focus on Fleets for HR was the title of our next seminar. Chaired by Calum Di Lieto, editor of HR Grapevine, this talk focused greatly on the Duty of Care employers have when it comes to looking after employees out on the roads. A key talking point during this discussion was although there is a huge need for the vehicle to be safe there is also a very serious requirement for managers and driver to ensure that the person behind the wheel is also fit to drive. This goes far beyond just having a clean driving licence.
Jonathan Backhouse (of Backhouse Jones Solicitors) went on to make some very interesting points about the health of the driver. Depression, Sleep Apnea and road rage are all issues that need to be monitored and controlled, especially in the case of Sleep Apnea as a lot of people are unaware that are suffering from the condition. Which begs the question, where does the responsibility lie?
We believe the answer is that everyone needs to take responsibly and anything that might suggest that an individual is unfit to drive needs to be reported. Furthermore, employees need to be encouraged to get themselves checked regularly and be aware of any personal circumstances that may put them and others at risk whilst driving.
With a range of Best Practice Seminars running throughout the day, there were plenty of opportunities to find out more about specific guidance such as funding, compliance, telematics and outsourcing to name but a few.
Also with a large number of exhibition stands to wander around, as well as plenty of product on display and special star appearances by BT Sport’s Rio Ferdinand and Jake Humphrey – the event really did have it all!
The two-day event ended with a glimpse into the future. The suitably named ‘Future of Fleet’ debate provided us with real food for thought on the journey home. A diverse and selectively mixed fuel fleet could be just round the corner as electric and more recently hydrogen power vehicles are starting to become more practical for fleet drivers. The panel also hinted at the new buzz word of the moment ‘mobility’ and foresaw a change in the fundamental way fleets are managed. The type of vehicle selected would be dependent on the job in hand, traditional diesel and petrol for longer journeys and then electric and hydrogen for shorter inner city trips.
Overall we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our trip so on behalf of everyone at Sandicliffe Motor Contracts we are very thankful to everyone at Fleet Management Live.