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As the 2017 year grinds to a halt, the Christmas and New Year period presents a rare opportunity for fleet managers to pause, reflect and reset for the year ahead.

For some of you 2018 might be the chance to start a new role at a new organisation, or a chance to lead a different team within your current work environment. For others it may present the challenges of improving your organisation’s safety procedures, your financial balance or your commitment to the environment.

Whatever the case the next 12 months represents a significant opportunity for everyone within the industry to better and improve themselves, just as the industry around them develops. And with so many technological advances coming into the fleet sector it is an exciting time for the entire industry.

In a bid to get a better sense of what issues are affecting fleet managers on a daily basis, AfMA recently sought the feedback of some of our own guests and members. The common themes that they came back with were mainly relating to safety & risk management, introducing more telematics and making a transition towards hybrid or electric vehicles. With that in mind here are some easy changes you can make to your fleet today that will make a massive difference in 2018 and in the years to come.

Safety in 2018

Almost a quarter of our survey respondents noted that improving the safety of their fleet was a key area they would like to prioritise within the next 12 months. As we know the safety features of vehicles will continue to improve, as manufacturers utilise new and emerging technologies to make cars safer. If your fleet isn’t already driving 5-star ANCAP safety vehicles as standard you have to ask yourself why not? The older your fleet the more likely that your safety features are out of date and putting your drivers at risk. It may seem like a hefty expense now, but you simply can’t put a price on safety.

While you are at it, if your drivers have never completed a Safe Driving Program or are in need for a refresher. book them in for a session in 2018. Providers such as Murcotts Driving Excellence provide affordable training for new and experienced drivers and offer discounts for large groups or fleets.

The number one role of any fleet manager is making sure your team gets to and from work and back again safely the next day. Don’t neglect the seriousness of providing a safe mobile workplace.

Telematics in 2018

Central to any telematics solution is identifying a need. In 2018, consider what areas your fleet needs to improve and think how telematics be used to solve that problem. If you are looking for better ways to monitor your drivers and to reduce your crash rates, consider what you will do with the data that you collect. How will you use that information to solve your original problem? If you can’t identify a clearly defined need for your organisation your efforts in telematics will be largely wasted.

Environment in 2018

Unfortunately, Australia and New Zealand both have a long way to go in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, but a South Australian led initiative is hoping to change that. The City of Adelaide is currently leading the way forward with their Carbon Neutral Action Plan hoping to become a successful blueprint for other cities to follow. But rather than waiting for the world to change around you, there are simple steps your organisation can implement now to lower your overall emissions.

Aim to be more considered and strategic in your next fleet purchases. Look towards renewable hybrid models or electric vehicles that will remain in your fleet for longer than a traditional vehicle. Prices in the hybrid/EV will continue to drop as infrastructure and government support increases, so your initial investment will likely pay itself off across the journey. Sustainability isn’t a hard concept to master but it is one that your fleet needs to start considering if it isn’t already.

In Summary:

2018 is set to be a massive year for fleet managers everywhere and the changes you experience will only be a small taste of what’s in store in the coming years. It surely won’t be too long before fully autonomous vehicles are completely changing the landscape of the fleet industry, and that ultra-safe and environmental friendly vehicles become standard. For the moment though, continue doing what you do well – managing fleet to better the overall needs and visions of your organisation and its people.