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How HR can cut fleet costs by putting people first

September 19, 2018

Fleet management is often the preserve of the procurement arm of an organisation, with an emphasis on costs and efficiency. But what happens if HR takes the lead?

Andrew Stephens, who was Director of Human Resources at furniture supplier DFS for seven years, spoke at Fleet Management Live about how an HR approach to fleet management paid real dividends for the company’s fleet costs.

Andrew explained how giving employees more information about the choices they were making and a wider choice of vehicles empowered people to make cost-saving decisions for themselves.

He said: “Our new fleet approach was part of a series of measures in a company where staff worked for six days a week and fleet was run by a traditional fleet manager.

“The company car was treated just like another piece of kit, like a phone and laptop. That was not a compelling offer.

“So we changed our approach to one that was completely about making employees happy. It was not about CO2 or costs.

“We increased the choice of cars they could have from five manufacturers. If you were really successful you could even choose a Porsche 911.

“We also gave employees really detailed benefit in kind (BIK) quotes so they could see for themselves the impact on their salaries their choices were making.

“We never put in a CO2 cap but, remarkably, employees chose the most efficient cars themselves and our average fleet emissions figure reduced to 139g/km.

“DFS also introduced CO2 and mpg league tables for our drivers, with no incentive or reprimand, and it’s amazing how people don’t want to be bottom of the table.”

Andrew added that they also spoke to the dealer groups who supplied the cars and asked them to make the handover experience like that of a retail customer. DFS wanted drivers to feel that this was their car and they should look after it as such and felt a great start to life with the car was essential for this to take place. This approach saw an improvement in the end-of-life damage to the fleet vehicles.

Andrew said: “Our approach was never about saving costs or policy, but how we make life better for the driver: and through that we achieved huge cost savings.

“Procurement has been the traditional model for fleet management but having it in HR can produce sustainable cost, efficiency and engagement benefits.”

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