For a lot of businesses, fleet vehicles are as important as assembly floors. They take company representatives on business meetings and workers to job sites or customer appointments. A company relies on its drivers to take care of their vehicles in order to do their job efficiently and spread the good company image. However, not all drivers maintain their vehicles properly, be it under the hood or in the cabin. It is up to the fleet managers to make sure the drivers are motivated to keep the company-issued vehicles up to the highest standards.
The care should begin with a clearly defined company policy that points out the driver’s responsibilities. It should include the expectations of proper car care in both general cleanness and technical maintenance. The emphasis on different aspects depends on the vehicle type and its role in the company fleet. A driver of a sales vehicle, for example, should focus on the maintenance and aesthetic appearance, while a driver of a service vehicle should put the mechanical condition before the appearance. In both cases, however, reliability directly translates to productivity.
Responsibility as a two-way street
In some companies, drivers are required to sign a detailed vehicle use agreement, which outlines all the driver’s responsibilities while in charge of the company vehicle. All drivers have a copy of the fleet policy with a periodical checklist, reminding them of their annual responsibilities. These may include registration renewals, oil changes and preventive maintenance checks, having a valid insurance card at all times and a reliable car locksmith key cutting service in case of lost keys. Responsibilities should work both ways, with employees submitting feedback to their direct managers, including monthly or quarterly check-ins accompanied by images of their vehicles.
Businesses also utilize one incentive which guarantees the best overall vehicle care. They offer their drivers the opportunity to purchase the vehicle at the end of its term for a discount pricing, or even through on-going vehicle quality checks. This way, drivers who appreciate the quality of their vehicle are more likely to provide the cutting-edge care to it. On the other hand, some managers are opposed to motivating drivers with such incentives, as they believe that motivation should stem from their job responsibility and that drivers need to be held financially accountable for negligent care.
Investing in company education
Policies and responsibilities mean little unless drivers understand the benefits of a well-maintained vehicle. Many employee drivers are not aware that the increased repair costs as a result of improper care directly impact not only their salary potential but also the company’s well-being, which in turn affects their employment security. Another important aspect of company education is driver training. New drivers need to be trained when they join the company, and veteran drivers should have periodical trainings to make sure they understand company fleet policy and what is expected of them.
Managed maintenance programme
By using telematics and other digital fleet technologies, managers can relatively easily and objectively measure how well their employees are taking care of the issued vehicles. Management maintenance programmes allow fleets to compare vehicle records to verify mileage and services at the beginning and the end of a cycle. Such programmes can then be further used to create a performance metric for each individual employee. To motivate their drivers, fleets can then introduce incentives for drivers who, for example, keep the repair costs to minimum, or get a high rating on the visual inspection checks.
Fleet vehicles are four-wheeled advertisements that bring company’s image wherever they go. As such, they need to be in top shape, both visually and technically. The responsibility of maintaining them up to highest standards falls on employee drivers, who need to be trained and motivated to take care of their issued vehicles in the best possible way.