Fleet Risk Management – what is it, what does it cover and what are the benefits?

Fleet risk management is both the tasks and the programs involved in running a safe fleet.

It is a fundamental area of Fleet Management, while also crossing into the domain of a company’s Health & Safety management.

After all, if you have one thousand drivers on the road at any one time. You not only want to be efficient in the way that the fleet is run but also know that those drivers and other road users around them are safe.

So, the core aspects of a fleet risk management program need to cover both the physical operations and the compliance/regulatory environment of the fleet’s operations.

Increasingly technology is impacting these areas, with the use of Telematics data, in particular, being a great tool for improving fleet risk management for fleet operators. Of course, this area is the particular focus of CMS, as we work to make fleets safer.

While fleet risk management covers many areas, they group into these three broad categories:

(1) Avoiding or minimising the impact of incidents

(2) Meeting regulatory and compliance needs

(3) Brand and company reputation

From these, a simple way to summarise the benefits of an effective fleet risk management program is that it works to protect your businesses’ three P’s – People, Property, Profit

Fleet manager working on fleet risk management issues

What areas does fleet risk management cover?

Driver Safety

This covers both safe driving best practices and driver safety.

For example, an issue all fleets face is driver distraction. Which is one of the biggest causes of accidents.

With in-cab technology, drivers can be warned when they drive distracted, are becoming drowsy and/or are driving in an unsafe manner.

Additionally, ongoing monitoring of drivers via telematics data can highlight specific issues (tailgating), habits (late braking), or route related items (speeding in a 30 mph zone), which can then be addressed by the management team through driver training and coaching safe driving.

All of which not only helps drivers with their drive-safer habits. But also helps focus and target limited driver training and fleet management resources to where they are needed. Helping fleet safety in a more efficient way and effective way.

Compliance and regulations

One of the biggest headaches fleet managers experience is keeping up with the rules that govern commercial fleet operations and the related paperwork.

Technology helps, with tracking of the regulations and rules, the checklists of which drivers have and haven’t been tested or audited, and automatic updates on driver journeys from telematics and tachographs/ELDs.

However, it still remains a fundamental responsibility of a fleet manager to ensure that their fleet complies with all regulations, no matter how the tech helps.

As such, they need to ensure that:

The fleet’s vehicles are all fit for purpose, inspected regularly, and follow a planned maintenance schedule

All drivers are fully trained to operate their specifically allocated vehicles. Are fully aware of the company’s safety policies and the broader compliance regulations that it operates in. Plus, that the drivers are in good health and hold a valid driving license

The fleet’s operations provide realistic and reasonable working schedules with proper driver breaks built it.

Fleet Maintenance

Maintenance is a vital part of fleet risk management as it affects driver safety and fleet efficiency.

With technology fleet managers can efficiently maintain vehicles by monitoring areas such as engine data, tyre pressure and braking systems.

This technology helps fleet risk management by providing alerts to issues before they become problems, helps with maintenance tasks efficiency, and keeps costs down while improving fleet safety risks.

What are the benefits?

From the above the benefits of effective fleet risk management become:

Employee Safety

Fleet risk management ensures that a company’s drivers and other staff work in a safe environment. It also ensures that those drivers don’t put their own lives or those of others at risk.

Regulatory Compliance

An effective fleet risk management program ensures that a company’s fleet meets its compliance requirements, and thereby avoids the costly fines and legal battles associated with non-compliance.

Saves costs

Insurance costs, accident management costs, plus legal fees and fines are all significantly reduced through an effective fleet risk management program.

Helps maintain brand and company reputations

Keeping a fleet’s operations out of the headlines for putting lives at risk and playing fast and loose with employee safety, is a key business benefit. It helps maintain a company’s and its brand reputations, which at the corporate level is a paramount benefit of any fleet risk management program

How can it be improved?

The goal of any fleet risk management program is to reduce risk. Therefore, to reduce risk the following areas should be addressed.

Regularly identify and monitor areas of risk.

That is establish the fleet, depot, team and individual driver risk profiles, and monitor to see how they move over time. Down being good, up being bad.

For example, identify the most at-risk drivers and provide them with individual training and management support to address their specific problems.

Hire good, qualified people

All managers know that hiring good people can make a huge difference.

First, check and confirm qualifications to avoid any compliance or regulatory issues.

After that, hire people that you trust to drive safely, behave correctly, complete jobs properly, and get the job done with no risk or drama.

Remember, it’s always okay to be picky about who gets hired.

Because customer satisfaction, plus company and brand reputations, are all on the line.

Use On-Board Telematics

Telematics provides a range of insights on driver behaviour — from hard braking and speeding to the location and time of such events. Insight which wasn’t easily available just a decade ago.

With this insight, both drivers and their managers can better understand driving patterns, habits, and identify the driver’s risk factors. Further, these can be put into context by comparison to other drivers on the fleet. So that the risk can be ranked, and training resources deployed accordingly.

Simply, telematics can reduce accidents and prolong the life of vehicles. Key parts of any fleet risk management program.

However, there are issues with the use of telematics, which will be picked up in the next section.

Automate Vehicle Maintenance

A top priority in fleet risk management has to be the maintenance of the vehicles.

Regular, scheduled maintenance is part of the fleet manager’s role, and should not be left to the driver to notify about.

Again, technology helps, as telematics systems and onboard sensors, can be combined with automated scheduling assistants to alert fleet managers when vehicles are due for service.

This automating of vehicle maintenance means fleet managers can be proactive and planned about taking vehicles off the road for servicing. Meaning that the fleet uptime can be optimised and, more importantly, for risk management, vehicles that need a service are not being used.

Digitised Document Management

The logistics and delivery industry is benefitting from digital technology in the use of telematics, onboard sensors, and even the ability to communicate with drivers when they are on the road.

The other area where digitisation can help deliver better productivity is in document management.

That is the move away from paper-based management systems to electronic ones.

This makes information more available to everyone who needs it. Crucially, it also allows information to be combined to generate more and better insight.

With that combining and aggregation of digital information, fleet risk management programs take a real step-change in reducing risk and keeping people safe.

It is also where we come in.

How does CMS help with fleet risk management?

This aggregation and combining of digital information is what CMS does, with Clara, our SaaS platform.

Clara takes in digital information from telematics, sensors, training records and other sources and combines them to give better insight into the four key risk management areas:

Is my risk profile going up or down?

What high-risk behaviours are common in my business?

Which drivers are the highest risk and most likely to have a claim?

What incidents are happening right now that I need to respond to?

It does this by removing all the irrelevant data noise, which is a common problem with telematics devices.

Leaving the fleet management team with clear FNOL alerts that they need to take charge of.

Plus, the sharp insight into their fleets’ risk to deploy resources to address the issues.

With Clara, CMS makes fleets safer, making the World safer.