In order to reduce overheads, maximise efficiency, comply with legal requirements and improve quality, more and more companies are choosing to outsource fleet maintenance and management. Although there are certain drawbacks to putting your fleet in the hands of a service provider, several of the advantages are immeasurable.
By outsourcing fleet maintenance and management, you can concentrate on other important aspects of the business without having to worry about responsibilities such as driver training, vehicle purchasing, repair turnaround times and in some cases, accident reporting.
Whether you work with a private company, national government or publicly funded institution, accident management is one of the trickiest aspects of presiding over a fleet of vehicles. Even if you have implemented means and measures to reduce the chances of this scenario happening, it is an unavoidable consequence of being on the road.
For in-house fleet managers, finding the time or resources to manage and resolve issues relating to accidents can be near impossible. Therefore, outsourcing fleet maintenance to include accident management is an increasingly attractive proposition.
What to look for in a fleet accident management company?
Even if your chosen fleet accident management company can deal with incidents quickly and efficiently, they may be ignoring the root of the problem. Therefore, it is recommended to find out what the company’s approach is to risk management.
Can they markedly reduce your current accident rate? What measures will they put in place to prevent future incidents?
From increasing driver training to vehicle safety features, there are various options available to a fleet accident management company in order to deal with crashes and collisions. A system that classifies and creates a risk score for every driver based on previous collisions, convictions or citations is hugely advantageous when it comes to managing future accidents.
In order to minimise downtime and reduce costs, the fleet management company should have some sort of accident report policy. The consequences of not having a coherent and comprehensive system in place can be extremely detrimental for any business.
Drivers should contact the fleet accident management company at the scene of the incident immediately. The most proficient providers will have a 24-hour call centre and staff trained to deal with potentially distressed drivers.
The fleet accident management company may request details and photographs and assess and establish liability while re-assuring the employee involved. If the individual in question is injured or requires medical assistance, this can also be arranged. The accident management company may also want to speak with the third-party involved and suggest the best way to repair their vehicle.
Having a fleet accident management company monitor the repair process from start to finish is absolutely vital. There are several different aspects associated with traffic accidents and road collisions that are almost impossible to manage in-house. But with a dedicated provider, you can rest assured that everything is being dealt with in a proficient and professional manner.
From removing the vehicle and finding a repairer to handling the claims process and recovering uninsured losses, the fleet accident management company should resolve all associated aspects of an incident.
When it comes to choosing a provider, be sure to find out whether administrative duties, repair related work and possible future repercussions are included. After all, one of the main reasons for employing the services of a fleet accident management company is to save money, which might not be possible if you need to spend out on additional services or hire vehicles.
Fleet accident management considerations
Setting the right threshold
You would hope that by outsourcing fleet accident management to an external company, any issues or problems would be resolved as soon as possible with little inconvenience to your overall operations. However, in certain instances, authorising repair work can be a difficult process.
If you set a cost threshold that is too low, you will be inundated with authorisation requests from the fleet accident management company. This has the potential to waste time and be particularly frustrating when dealt with by a small in-house team. As a result, turnaround times can be severely effective, which ultimately damage the productivity of your business.
As previous examples have indicated, having a flexible and monitored threshold system will inevitably provide the best results. A strong relationship with the fleet accident management company, an understanding of the market and current industry trends will ultimately affect the threshold.
Key Performance Indicators
In the event of an accident, there will inevitably be some vehicle downtime while repairs are rectified and fixed. However, it is crucially important to properly manage and monitor how long it takes for a vehicle to get back on the road, which can be achieved by establishing an average downtime KPI.
By implementing parameters and guidelines, which guarantee repairs will be completed within a specific amount of time, you can be sure that your fleet of vehicles is being managed effectively.
Strict service level agreements and ongoing performance reviews will also ensure that your chosen fleet accident management company are adhering to their responsibilities.
Additional accident costs
Although the potential cost of repairing a vehicle that has been involved in an accident might not be cheap, there are additional expenses that could prove to be even more damaging.
The loss of business from vehicle downtime, injuries to employees that require medical or legal assistance as well as third party costs can spiral out of control. Therefore, a prompt and proficient system to deal with accidents is absolutely essential,
Unfortunately, this can’t always be achieved in-house, so outsourcing to a specialised and knowledgeable fleet accident management company with experience in resolving incidents will ultimately lead to the best results.
Fleet accident management company conclusions
While the benefits of outsourcing fleet maintenance and management are fairly obvious, having a company on hand to deal with any incidents or accidents is incredibly reassuring and could well be the main benefit of moving away from in-house operations.
Essentially, any company looking to employ the services of a fleet accident management company needs certain guarantees about risk management and reporting, updates during incident resolution procedures and constant support throughout the process for both employees and third parties.
However, some responsibility still needs to be retained in-house to ensure that outsourced performance stays at a certain level. Furthermore, additional costs other than repairs can be astronomical, which means the whole process needs to be properly managed and taken care of.
But if standards and benchmarks are established, any company can benefit from reduced costs and vehicle downtime. As a result, incidents will not have a major impact on the business and in-house fleet managers can focus on other important issues.
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