Is HR losing control of Fleet?
Is real-time tech the right solution?
New research suggests that businesses are struggling to maintain control of how their company cars are used. According to data from AlertDriving, 63% of drivers deliberately submit fraudulent mileage claims whilst separate research from XpertHR suggests that spiralling costs mean that almost a fifth of organisations are cutting the number of staff entitled to a company car. It hardly paints a picture of fleets that are being well-controlled or tightly monitored. Despite company cars being vital to certain job roles, will fraud and rising costs force this popular – and sometimes indispensable – perk to be withdrawn?
As Tom Blackie, Head of Automotive at RealVNC points out cars play an essential part in many different sectors and functions: from engineering and maintenance to sales and commercial roles. Furthermore, XpertHR findings suggest despite challenges with controlling costs and use, fleet; popularity with employees means they form a key recruitment and retention tool. With over seven in 10 firms still providing a fleet in the face of the obvious management challenges they present, is it up to HR to take more responsibility for them?
“Since company cars are so central to the HR function, it makes sense that HR managers should have more responsibility for policing their use,” Blackie explains. He says that it’s a lack of oversight over a company car fleet that makes it difficult for HR managers to police fraudulent mileage claims, fuel bills or emissions from company fleets. There is an obvious solution though. “Businesses use connected technology to track business travellers’ expenses and provide technical support to remote workers and the same should be applied to company vehicle fleets,” he says.
“For example, the technology used to allow IT help desks to log in to an offsite employee’s PC could now give companies the ability to monitor and enforce business travel policies on the road,” Blackie says. “Fleet control centres can now receive real-time streams of telematics data from on-board applications providing accurate information about mileage, fuel consumption, emissions and travel routes. They could even ‘remote in’ to car dashboards to more closely examine vehicle performance, diagnose problems or offer advice to drivers.”
Blackie says that by using remote access technology, service centre technicians could intervene to ensure their company fleet complies with carbon targets. Fleet managers can also connect into vehicles to monitor vehicle operations and schedule maintenance activities, reducing costs and keeping their cars on the road.
“Technology will give fleet managers a 24-hour, real-time window into their company car fleet and the ability to remotely intervene to prevent company policy infringements,” he continues. “It offers a viable way to maintain a popular perk for employees while reducing fraud, meeting emission compliance and controlling spiralling fleet costs.” It all suggests that better wielding of tech, arming HR with the right tools, will allow fleet to work for the benefit of staff as well as the bottom line.