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Four Ways of Reducing the Rising Cost of Running a Fleet

 

After the Brexit vote, many UK SMEs have had to face rising costs, which has resulted in revenue dropping a considerable amount for numerous businesses. 

These two economic factors have started to pile on the pressure for businesses that highly rely on a fleet of vehicles to carry out their fundamental operations.

The question that arises here is this: what can these SMEs do to reduce costs and protect themselves from the impending impact of Brexit, especially when it comes to their reliance on fleet vehicles?

Our team of experts at Parma Group have come up with four ways of reducing the rising cost of running a fleet:

 

1: Staying On Top Of Maintenance

 

The way your fleets are maintained has a huge impact on its fuel efficiency. Dirty engines tend to use more fuel, while wheels that are worn out, or those that do not have wheel nut safety installed can have a negative impact on your vehicles and eventually your business.

Additionally, poor understanding and application of maintenance techniques can also result in your business spending more money than needed. Hence, it is always advisable to keep on top your maintenance game, as prevention is always better than cure!

Having your fleets property managed and maintained will help you to ensure that they are running efficiently and most importantly, cost effectively.

 

2: Optimising through telematics

 

When you attach telematics, SMEs gain access to a rather huge, intricate set of fleet data. For example, people that are responsible for fleet management will have a better understanding of the routes being taken by their drivers, how efficient their driving is with respect to fuel consumption and how average speeds are impacting overall efficiency.

With this data, SMEs can improve their drivers’ overall performance. Alongside this, they can also monitor their drivers’ full journey details, which includes pence per mile calculations, without the need for receipts.

 

3: Use of Technology

 

Technology is a crucial part of most businesses today, and the use of it for the majority of sectors plays a vital role in making businesses efficient and reliable.

Similarly, we believe that technology can be very helpful for fleet managers to improve the productivity of their operations.

However, if fleet managers want to do this, they need to have complete access to comprehensive information (MI) protocols and processes, so that they can gather and analyse data effectively.

With an ability to analyse fleet data, SMEs can get back get in the driving seat and control cash management effectively. Access to fleet data will help businesses to work out which fleet is inefficient when it comes to fuel and maintenance, meaning they can make the necessary adjustments to improve.

 

4: Opting for a Fuel Card Solution

 

To save time and effort, your business should look into using a fuel card solution, if it isn't already. If you're not too sure what is involved, don't worry, as we will explain the basics below.

When a business works with a fuel card provider, they are given fuel cards which they issue to their employees. These fuel cards can be used in lieu of credit cards or cash at many petrol stations across the country.

A vast amount of petrol stations are involved with the fuel card scheme and locating refuelling points is super easy thanks to smartphone apps. But it's unlikely your employees will even need to use an app, as huge names such as Shell, Texaco, BP and Esso are a part of fuel card schemes.

Fuel cards are fantastic as they are a hassle-free payment solution, meaning companies don't need to deal with hundreds of invoices for fuel as they are billed directly.

Making your fleet operations efficient is not just about being cost effective and saving money either, as your business will also be saving precious time. And time is money, after all...

At Parma Group, we make sure that we are not only helping UK SMEs to save costs on their fleet operations, as there is far more at stake when it comes to logistics. Our aim is to make every road journey a better experience, and we play our part by providing wheel safety products to companies that are often behind the wheel

 





Minibus Safety what equipment do I need?

Remaining compliant and within the law is an important consideration for any minibus operator, we are often asked by companies what safety equipment do I need to be compliant, Whereas this list is not intended to be exhaustive it includes products that we are able to assist you with.

  • Fire Extinguishers

Schedule 7 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that Minibuses must have a fire extinguisher that conforms to BS5423 (more recent legislation relating to fire extinguishers mean it must also conform to BS EN3 1996)

It is recommended that an extinguisher filled with Foam and must have a minimum test rating of 8A and 21B. Halon extinguishers are no longer legal in vehicles. A suitable one can be found here

If some passengers are using wheelchairs then two extinguishers should be carried aboard the vehicle one being in the passenger section of the vehicle.

Extinguishers should be tested normally once a year, some may have an expiry date and once this is reached they should be replaced.

It is advised that drivers are trained in the use of fire extinguishers and know where they are in the vehicle also the evacuation of the vehicle in the event of fire.

  • First Aid Kits

The same legislation also states that Minibuses must also carry a firs aid kit, there are several versions of PSV/PCV first aid kit available but they must include as a minimum the following items

10 x Antiseptic wipes (foil Backed)

1 x Conforming bandage (not less than 7.5cm wide

2 x Triangular bandages

3 x Large sterile unmediated ambulance dressing (not less than 15cm x 20cm)

2 x Sterile eye pads with attachments

12 x Assorted safety pins

1 x packet assorted adhesive dressings

1 x pair disposable gloves

1 x pair of rust free blunt-ended scissors

One of our most popular first aid kits which complies with this can be found here

All items in the first aid kit need to be kept in date if the date has passed they need to be replaced, if any items are used they also need to be replaced before the vehicle is used again.

The items should be kept in a suitable container which is clearly marked as a first aid kit and the driver should know where in the vehicles this is kept.

  • Safety Signs

There are a number of safety signs that should displayed in the vehicle so that all passengers can clearly see, a No-Smoking sign has been a legal requirement for over a decade now. Also it is the responsibility of the operator to ensure all passengers wear seatbelts while travelling on the vehicle, this can be done by an announcement before the journey begins but an easier alternative is to place a seat belt sign/sticker within sight of each seat which has a seat belt fitted.

We supply various safety signs for vehicles and they can be viewed here

When carrying school children it is legal requirement to display a school bus sign both at the front and the rear of the vehicle.

These need to be reflective, the front should be a minimum of 25cm x 25cm and the rear a minimum of 45cm x 45cm.

When there are no children on the bus these should be removed, there are several different fixing methods available and these can be viewed here


Why do wheels come off HGV and PCV’s and does it matter?

Having been involved in the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) and Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) industry for over 20 years I have always been conscious that wheel loss has been a long standing industry problem however it hadn’t really affected me, that changed a few weeks ago.

Driving along a busy dual carriageway with my family I was suddenly aware of a wheel leave a coach in front of me cross both carriage ways and run up the embankment on the other side.

Does wheel loss matter? If I had been travelling a little faster that wheel would have hit my car and possible hurt my family or myself. It mattered to the people travelling on the coach as their excursion was interrupted and it mattered to the operator and driver who had to sort out the problem.

Still don’t think it is a problem watch this short clip I found on Youtube,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lip7UVOJjGs

So why do wheels come off?

Having spoken to many operators some have never lost a wheel in forty years of business another I spoke to had lost a wheel which caused a fatality, there are several reasons why wheels become detached from HGV and PSV vehicles, some of which I list below:

Poor Maintenance – Possible the most obvious cause and the easiest to remedy, wheels and studs need to be checked for defect before fitment there should be no cracks in the wheel and stud holes should not be elongated. The wheel and hub need to be free of rust and any loose paint wire brushed off, any rust on the studs should also be removed and the studs should lightly oiled.

Stretched Studs – Wheels are held on by a finite clamping force. When fitting wheels the nuts should be wound onto the stud by hand and then tightened to the correct torque with a torque wrench this varies between 500Nm- 850Nm. If a power wrench is used to fit the wheel there is a danger of over torqueing and stretching the stud, this will cause the stud to lose its elasticity and could lose clamping force.

Change of Temperature – If a vehicle is driving in an inner city it will be doing a lot of braking this can cause the wheel and hubs to become hot, the same is if the vehicle is driving in very hilly or mountainous areas. If there is then a sudden storm with heavy rain causing puddles, floods etc. there is a possibility the wheels will come into sudden contact with cold water which will cause the steel to contract and wheel to lose torque.

There are other possible reasons why wheels become detached, there also tried and proven ways to prevent this happening. Apart from good maintenance there are several products on the market that can prevent operators becoming a victim of wheel loss.


 What do I need to look for in a Safety Helmet?


 A safety helmet is required where these is a risk of being injures by falling objects.

Shells are primarily made using UV stabilised high density polyethylene (HDPE) or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), harneses are made using low density polyethylene or Terylene webbing.

To comply with European standard EN397 2012 all helmets must be marked with;

Size or size range in CM on both shell and harness.
Informative label with specified working on shell material eg ABS, HDPE etc.
The year and quarter (or month) of manufacture.

It is not recommended that helmets should be used 5 year after the date of manufacture.



What ArmourAll wipe should I be using?

Dashboard Wipes

ArmorAll® Matt Finish Dashboard Wipes are a quick and easy way to clean dashboards and trims without adding shine. The extra-strength wipes are specially formulated to clean vinyl, rubber and plastic surfaces. They can also be used for many non-automotive applications. They are non-toxic and can be easily disposed of. Highly efficient, just one wipe can treat an entire dashboard.

All Round Wipes

As a result of the increasing consumer demand for convenience, ease of use and efficiency, wipes have become an extremely popular product form. ArmorAll® was the first to introduce ArmorAll® All Round Wipes to the automotive category.

In the past, the only products available to the consumer were household cleaners, many of which were unsuitable for in-car use. The other alternative was speciality automotive products, designed for use on a limited range of surfaces.

As a result, ArmorAll® All Round Wipes have been specifically formulated for a multitude of automotive surfaces including, fabrics, carpets, upholstery and mats. It is equally effective on vinyl, rubber and plastic. It is a safe, non-toxic cleaner that is tough enough to deal with stubborn ground-in dirt yet safe enough for all car surfaces. They are strong enough to use on a variety of surfaces without them tearing apart.

It can also be used with excellent results inside the house.

Care should be taken not to use All Round Wipes on leather interiors, we recommend ArmorAll® Leather Care or ArmorAll® Leather Wipes for these surfaces.

Cleansing Wipes

ArmorAll® Orange Cleaning Wipes are a quick and easy way to clean without adding shine. These durable wipes have been developed using innovative citrus cleaning technology, which will tackle tough jobs without harming automotive surfaces. The natural orange oil degreasers cut through dirt and grease with ease, making Orange Cleaning Wipes ideal for dashboards and trim. They do not contain any harmful alcohol, they are safe and non-toxic.

 

ArmorAll® Orange Cleaning Wipes are supplied in a handy, resealable tub with 30 wipes per tub.


 

Safety Footwear Standards & Ratings

Safety footwear has to legally meet the minimum safety standards set out by the (International Organization for Standardization. Within Europe this is currently set out in Eu directir EN ISO 20345: 2011, there were earlier versions of this directive in 2004 and 2007 but these have now been superseeded by the 2011 version.

The basic requirement for safety footwear is that they now have to have to have toe protection that will withstand an impact of 200 joule before breaking.

Any products that were certified under either the 2004 or 2007 versions of the directir will now need to be recertified before they can be supplied.

Most footwear would have saftey ratings which are signified by letters what these stand for is as follows.

SB -
Basic safety requirement signifying a toe cap resistant to 200 joules impact.

S1 -
SB+ Closed heel area - Enerhy absorption at seat area- Antistatic properties - Resistance to fuel oil.

S1P -
S1 + Penetrative resistance.

S2 -
S1P + Water penetration and absorption.

S3 -
S2 + Penetration resistance - Cleated outsole.

S4 - S1 + Entirely moulded polymer/ rubber upper making then waterproof and leak proof.

S5 -
S4 + Midsole penetration resistance.

Slip resistant ratings

All footwear that has passed standards for slip resistance will carry one of the following marks.

SRA - Tested on ceramic tile wet with diluted soap solution (sodium lauryl sulphate

SRB -
Tested on steel coated with glycerol.

SRC -
Tested under both SRA and SRB condistions

Footwear may also carry othe symbols and these are explained as follows.

P -
Penetration resistance

C -
Conductive

A -
Antistatic

I -
Electricity Insulating footwear

WR -
Water resistant

M -
Metatarsal protection.

AN -
Ankle Protection

CR -
Cut resistant upper

WRU -
Water penetration and water absorbant upper

HRO -
Outsole resistant to hot contact.





European Standards relating to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)



Head- Face- Eyes- Ears

EN 397 -
Safety Helmets
EN 1731 - Face Protectors
EN 166 - Eye Protection includes BS2092
EN 352 - Ear protection

Hand Protection

EN 342 -
Cold
EN 388 - Mechanical Risk
EN 407 - Thermal Risk
EN 420 - General
EN 421 -
Ionising & Radioactive risks
EN 659 - For Firefighting
EN 60903 -
High Voltage Risk (BS697)

Clothing

EN342
- Cold
EN343 -
Waterproof Clothing
EN374
- Chemicals & Micro-Organisms
EN467
- Chemical Use
ISO11611
- Welding & Similar Operations
EN ISO 20471 (EN471)
-High Visibility
GO/RT 3279 -
Railway Use
EN 510-1 -
Against Mechanical Entanglement
ISO11612
- Industrial Heat
ISO14116
- Heat & Flame Spread

Footwear

EN ISO 20345
- Shoes, Boots & Riggers.