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Fleet management may be a relatively new introduction to the transport sector, but it has proven its value in the time it has been operational. There are numerous benefits that companies can glean by opting for fleet management services, the most pertinent of which we will be discussing in this post— read on to learn more about the ways that contracting a fleet management company can help your business save money.

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#1 – Improved repair turnaround times
In the transport industry, having vehicles on the road is the single most vital component of your business. If vehicles are unable to run due to repair or maintenance work, then the business is essentially in a holding pattern, waiting for the fleet to return to full capacity.

Fleet management helps to eliminate long periods of downtime during repair and maintenance work. Not only are the repairs performed in a faster timescale thanks to the management company’s connections to various repair bodyshops, but you will also benefit from the ability to manage the number of vehicles off-the-road at any one time. Maintenance can be scheduled and staggered in such a way that allows for near-maximum operational levels at all times, which helps to promote consistent maximum efficiency across the fleet.

Compared to a conventional approach of only repairing vehicles as and when required, this consistently-monitored approach to repairs and maintenance helps to substantially reduce operational costs and inconvenience.

#2 – Simpler financial management
If a vehicle you own suddenly experiences a mechanical issue, then there is an immediate requirement for money to be diverted to afford the repair. At certain times, this sudden, unexpected demand for money can stretch a business thinner than is comfortable and, in the worst case scenario, taking on debt to cover the repair is the only option.

The above nightmare scenario can be avoided by choosing to use a fleet management company. Rather than on-the-spot repair costs, you will pay a consistent monthly fee that you can budget for on a regular basis. This allows for more effective financial management across the business, without the need for immediate panic when a vehicle is in need of repairs. Instead, you can enjoy peace of mind due to the fact you know the cost of the repair is already covered by the monthly fee you pay to the fleet management company.

#3 – Enhanced operational information and data
One of the upsides of working with a fleet management company is the ability to learn more about the operational facts and figures of your fleet than ever before. Management companies make use of a range of technology to monitor each individual vehicle and the fleet as a whole, helping to identify areas where time-saving improvements could be made. GPS is a key factor in fleet management operational efficiency, and you can rely on the company you use to crunch the data they collect and identify areas where potential savings may be possible.
#4 – Reductions in fuel costs
A fleet management company is able to analyse the operations of your fleet in more detail than your business ever could if attempting to do so in-house. We have touched on the benefits of GPS analysis in the point above, but this area is particularly beneficial when it comes to saving money on fuel. With enhanced route-planning courtesy of the data analysed by fleet management companies, you can be confident that your fuel costs will be kept as low as possible. This, in turn, helps to deliver improved profit margins, allowing the company as a whole to benefit from the analysis your management company performs on your behalf.
#5 – Enhanced sale prices
When running a modern fleet of vehicles without the assistance of a management company, it is all too easy for corners to be cut, maintenance appointments to be missed, and vehicle repairs to go undone for longer than is ideal.

No company is able to manage a fleet as effectively as a dedicated management company will be, so the aforementioned problems can take a toll on the overall health of the fleet. As well as these oversights compromising productivity, they also have the potential to seriously harm potential resale fees when vehicles are sold on. With a fleet management company, all repairs and maintenance will be done when they need to be done, which helps to ensure that no issues are allowed to become chronic, and resale value is maintained as result.

Essentially, fleet management is the cornerstone of a modern business. It helps to enhance numerous operational processes, reduce costs, and promote higher levels of efficiency than have been achieved before.

It is an unfortunate reality that when you are involved in the management of a working fleet, accidents are going to happen. While you can limit the potential for accidents, there is no way you can outright remove the possibility entirely.

As a result, it is important for companies who operate fleets to look at creating an accident management program that can assist them when the inevitable happens. Without such a plan, when an accident occurs, a business can find itself scrambling to cope with this unexpected — and very unwanted — development. A rigorous plan of action that can be implemented as soon as an accident occurs helps to avoid confusion, and ensure that the next steps of the management process are controlled as well as possible.

There are three main aspects of a complete, reliable accident management program for fleets. Read on for an overview of these three components, and how they can included in an accident management strategy that is genuinely beneficial to every business with a fleet.

#1 – Processing the First Notice of Loss (FNOL)
FNOL is — as the name implies — the first step for any accident management program to deal with.

An FNOL should be issued to a fleet’s insurance provider in the event of the accident. If you outsource your fleet management, then this can be completed by your fleet management company; if not, you will have to file the FNOL yourself.

One of the key aspects of producing a good FNOL is obtaining the details of the accident as soon as possible, preferably while it is fresh in the driver’s mind. You may wish to consider leaving instructional details in each company vehicle, along with materials that allow for the circumstances of the accident to be recorded. With the information gathered, all drivers should then be expected to report the circumstances of the accident to the company, who can then set the wheels in motion regarding the FNOL.

#2 – Obtaining financial returns during the Loss Recovery procedure
The loss recovery process — which is known as subrogation — is the next important consideration for any accident management program. When the FNOL has been relayed by the driver to the company, the subrogation process begins. This process focuses on ensuring that the best financial return is recovered from the insurance provider, which helps to mitigate the costs that the fleet will incur due to the accident.

One of the important components of subrogation is the obtaining of a police report regarding the accident. The police report will help to establish the level of insurance coverage for each party, as well as its necessary role in the insurance claim process. When this information has been gathered, a claim to the insurance can be made.

The subrogation process is the same regardless of the fault involved in the accident. A good accident management program should allow for a degree of flexibility, so that similar techniques can be used during this process for both own-driver fault and third-party fault claims.

Finally, another aspect of the subrogation process is obtaining assessments from independent experts as to the potential cost of repairs.

A good accident management program should be able to process all of the above in the quickest and simplest way possible, with a sound underlying methodology that allows each task to naturally lead into the next.

#3 – The repair process
The third step of an accident management program should cover the repair of the vehicle. This should include options for transporting the vehicle for a repair — including choices for vehicles that can be driven, and vehicles that will need to be towed — and the obtaining of repair estimates from the repair shop.

The repair phase should also involve discussions as to finding the best repair solutions for the lowest possible cost, and the recording of this process for insurance purposes. There should also be a provision for how the driver should manage without their vehicle during the repair process; for example, the process for hiring a replacement vehicle while the primary vehicle is repaired should be included.

Finally, this part of the process should also involve documenting the costs involved in the above, as these may be recoverable from the insurance company.

Additional thoughts

Finally, it is important to note that no accident management program is complete without a focus on accident prevention. By behaving proactively in regards to safety requirements and continued driver evaluation, the need for an accident management program can be reduced. Of course, even with the best prevention methods there is always the scope for issues, but a reduction in the occurrence of accidents should be a primary focus for all fleet companies.

In essence, a good accident management program for fleets seeks to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If the worst does happen, then the fact that there is a reliable, configured process already established helps to reduce the inconvenience of the accident and return the fleet to normal operations as soon as possible.

For many years now, the standard formula for obtaining fleet repairs was to use a fixed network of repair bodyshops. Your fleet vehicles would be transported to the bodyshop, either under their own steam or by being towed, and then collected again when the repairs were complete. However, this long-established way of doing things has been challenged over the past year by a more flexible, intriguing innovation: mobile repairs.

Mobile repairs have always had a place in the repair industry, but primarily for smaller repair work; for example, windscreen replacements and the fixing of small chips or dents in paintwork. Anything more substantial than these simple repairs always needed to be conducted in a fixed-site bodyshop, but this has changed. New technologies and innovations now allow for mobile repairs to offer the kind of highly-sophisticated work that can now be competed on your doorstep.

Fleet Maintenance

Companies can now assess their repair needs over the phone during the initial First Notification of Loss (FNOL) phase of a repair and, if suitable, arrange for a mobile repair. These repairs can be carried out quickly and effectively, often at the place of your choosing, within a 1-day cycle time. Intelligent software can dictate whether a claim is mobile or fixed-site, further improving deployment accuracy. This optimisation could mean the difference between a fleet vehicle being off the road for days — as would be standard with a fixed-site bodyshop — and a matter of hours.

Cost Implications
When a vehicle is taken from operational duties to be repaired in the conventional way, your company will likely have to find the funds to pay for a replacement vehicle to ensure your service is able to operate as normal during the repair. This is an extra expense that, on top of the cost of the repair, is particularly difficult to manage. However, with mobile repairs, the expense can be significantly reduced as the repair is faster, there’s no collection or delivery of a vehicle and no need courtesy car is required.
Fixed-Site Bodyshops
If you are concerned mobile repairs will try to fix problems beyond their remit, then don’t be: all mobile repair technicians will be able to refer the issue to a fixed-site bodyshop should the matter be more severe than was anticipated. This means that you can be confident that all mobile repairs are genuinely viable solutions that have been performed for all the right reasons.

When mobile repairs are possible, you will be able to enjoy lower costs, enhanced convenience, and a quality repair that is able to get a vehicle back to its operational best as soon as possible. As a result, mobile repair services are a must for any professional fleet of vehicles. National Accident Repair Group can offer fleet maintenance managers deployment software, to not only deploy their vehicle to their network provider, but can intelligently detect a mobile repair or fixed-site claim. Please contact us for more information on mobile repairs, or for a demo of our latest Intelligent Deployment Software.

As a fleet manager, your primary goal is to keep as many vehicles on the road as possible. When there is a problem with a vehicle, you’re going to want to do all you can to ensure that said vehicle is able to return to the road as soon as possible. To be conducted correctly, it needs to involve a set number of tasks, each of which is an integral part of the puzzle that will allow for effective repair. Below we outline the essential tips you need to follow to ensure you can manage the repairs of your fleet in the most efficient way possible, so your company is able to return to maximum operational capacity as quickly as possible.

Explore a fixed site repair network
In days gone by, insurers tended to require that fleets use a set chain of repair bodyshops to conduct all work on their vehicles. While this was the industry standard for a long time, it is no longer as common as it once was. There’s a reason repair networks have proven to be so popular over the years; they work. The network is reliable, the standards consistent, and there’s no need to gamble on the abilities of an independent repair bodyshop that you have never worked with before. Consider a dedicated repair network for your fleet if you are looking for consistent, reliable, and high-quality service on every repair that has to be completed.
Develop a relationship with the repair bodyshops you intend to work with
A relationship between a repair bodyshop and a fleet manager should be comfortable, courteous, and well-meaning. It is worth taking the time to speak to the management at your chosen repair bodyshop prior to taking a vehicle to be repaired there. The first area to ask for information on is the process for gathering management reports and costings during the repair process. This can be notoriously problematic, so you want to be sure that any repair bodyshop you use has the matter in hand. You also need to know how streamlined the process is, what the average repair turnaround time is, and whether you can see examples of reporting and pricing structure. Any good repair bodyshop should be more than happy to answer these questions and provide you with the information you need.
Check for British standard approval
To ensure that all work completed on your fleet is performed to the highest possible standards, take the time to verify that the repair bodyshop is BS10125 approved. This is the British standard that all repair shops should adhere to, and ensuring that this approval is in place helps you to be assured a high quality of repair is going to be conducted on your fleet vehicles.
Ensure adequate access to courtesy vehicles
An integral part of managing the repair process of a vehicle will involve ensuring the vehicle’s driver has access to a replacement vehicle while the repair is undertaken. Planning for this has to be a key component of arranging any repair, so keep it at the forefront of your mind when researching and ultimately booking the damaged vehicle in for the repair it needs.

By following the tips above, you should be able to manage the repairs of fleet vehicles with the utmost confidence; safe in the knowledge that no stone has been left unturned during the planning and implementation of each repair. National Accident Repair Group provide effective solutions for fleets, allowing companies to react quickly to incidents in a professional manner whilst minimising downtime and reducing costs to businesses following accidents. For further fleet information on express repairs, fleet management software or to get a fleet repair audit, please contact us.