Key questions to ask when deciding on the right fleet risk management technology solution

There are, what can feel like, an overwhelming number of options for businesses who are looking to choose the right fleet risk management technology. However, using the following handy list of questions, you can quickly understand what your business priorities are and subsequently arrive at a much more manageable list of choices to make the right selection for your business. Depending on the size and complexity of your organisation, you may need to ask these questions multiple times for different regions and countries and business units.

Who drives for work at your company and what vehicles do they operate? Plus what is the nature of their driving?

Seems like an obvious one! Think beyond the traditional fleet your business owns here. Make sure to consider all those employees who are driving for work - even if they may be driving personal vehicles or benefiting from a company car allowance (also referred to as your grey fleet). This process will give you a much clearer idea of how many of your staff are driving on company time. These drivers all fall under the responsibility of an employer. The business will subsequently have a duty of care for them. 

Which drivers would you like to include within the fleet risk solution(s) you select?

The answer here should ideally be all of your company’s drivers. If necessary, you may want to initially prioritise them based on region, exposure to risk and the amount of business driving they are doing. Be mindful of the pitfalls of considering a reactive solution purely for your worst drivers so, for example, a solution only for drivers with at-fault collisions in the last 12 months.   

What existing solutions do you currently have and how effective have they been?

It would be beneficial to assess what your business has previously used and how well these have performed for you. How well were these solutions implemented? Which drivers used them? What impact did they have in managing and reducing the business’ driving risk? If applicable, why were they not effective? The existing solutions you review should be quite broad and can include e-learning modules and in-person driving courses. You may also want to baseline the total amount spent on these solutions (including ongoing administration costs) and who are currently involved in the programme. 

What are your overarching objectives for the new solution? What does success look like once you’ve implemented it?

It’s incredible the number of different things each vendor these days purports to do. The reality is each one will have one or more areas they predominantly major in, and these are where their offering will be the strongest. Focus on what are you looking to achieve, what does success for your company look like? Use this to build a list of your goals, thinking about the success factors not necessarily just a list of technical features. While the data ultimately provided by your choice of technology is important, pay special attention to how easy that will be for your business to turn into value. Avoid the pitfalls of ending up with data, which are hard to turn in to business insights and improvements.

Use these goals to help shortlist the vendors who genuinely align with the areas of focus for your business, not just those with the longest/broadest feature list. Less really can be more with a technology solution - especially with those who focus on meeting your businesses essential needs.  

Do you have differing objectives/needs/priorities for different groups of drivers?

We briefly mentioned you might need to go through these questions multiple times for different cohorts of drivers. It’s worth considering what to do where you need a multi-functional solution (track and trace, engine diagnostics, etc.) for some of your drivers, but not for others. Where safety is important but not the only objective for part of your fleet, you may need to consider different solutions for different types of drivers - which will almost certainly be more cost-effective than a one-size-fits-all solution.    

Be mindful of thinking a single swiss army solution may be the easiest option for you to deploy and maintain in your organisation. By going for a single vendor, you could be compromising on the quality of the features and functionality. The time you save in deploying a single solution could quickly erode as a result of factors like driver adoption, quality of service and reporting, reliability - just to mention a few.

What is your budget?

How much can the business afford to spend on risk management, and what return on investment is expected from this investment? How much does the manifestation of driving risk cost the business today? What realistic improvements are achievable and over what timescales? As a part of this, it is considering the hidden costs of unsafe driving - and how companies can effectively manage them.

It is important to ensure you have clarity on the costs and potential benefits of each solution. Think twice about opting for an expensive solution, which may only offer you coverage of a small section of your drivers. Be mindful of high upfront costs, multiyear contracts - especially if it’s hard to quantify all the purported benefits for your organisation. 

What type of solution will be acceptable for your employees?

Driver adoption and acceptance are absolutely key to the solution you select. Choosing something your employees will accept and perhaps even value will help with the speed of rollout, adoption. It will also reduce the likelihood of avoidance. 

Closely coupled with the question above, what are the privacy requirements for your organisation and what are the employee expectations?

Obviously, privacy is important for every organisation and for their employees and (if applicable) workers councils. However, the definitions and requirements can vary a great deal. Depending on the regions you operate in, having a solution which is fully GDPR compliant could be absolutely essential. For instance, this could mean certain US solutions may not be suitable for your European operations.

Furthermore, GDPR dictates that businesses deploy a proportionate approach to achieve their interests, meaning that traditional telematics with geo-tracking may no longer be legally viable for certain drivers whose real-time location a company does not reasonably need to know to conduct its business operations.

Who will be responsible for fleet risk safety in your business and how much time will they have for this on an ongoing basis?

Any solution(s) you adopt will require clear internal business ownership, to ensure there is clear accountability, a successful rollout, and they continue delivering value beyond the initial honeymoon period. The latter (ongoing value) is absolutely crucial to consider the amount of time each owner will be able to dedicate to a fleet risk solution. Based on this, you may choose to opt for a vendor who will be able to support you in running a successful driver program and not just reactive support for troubleshooting platform queries and ongoing product support. A program must be about identifying risk and offering help with timely intervention.  

Using these questions, we hope you can bring a greater deal of clarity to your essential business requirements and subsequently have a much more focused brief for the solution you are shopping for.

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