07 October 2004 | Cara Whitehouse
Purchasers should play a greater role in managing car fleet risks and costs for their staff, according to the author of a new report on fleet management.
Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School, stressed the opportunities for increased purchaser involvement and their chance to develop "best practice focused on safety".
The survey, Profit through Safety, revealed that 79 per cent of companies have no risk management strategy in place.
But a more safety-conscious approach could cut fleet running costs. Forty-seven per cent of respondents claimed to have saved money through safety measures and strategies.
"Companies are not implementing a strategic risk policy because it is low on the priority list," said Cooke, but there is scope for purchasers to take a lead.
"A company buying something for the fleet should first carry out a proper risk assessment," he said. "This is where purchasers with risk management experience can play a role."
Cooke cited driver training, car security and ensuring correct specifications when buying vehicles as some of the elements in a risk management strategy.
He stressed that a major benefit from such measures could be cheaper insurance.
Stewart Whyte, director and membership secretary for the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO), agreed that measures to increase driver safety made company cars cheaper.
But he questioned the finding that 79 per cent of companies had no risk management strategy..
Whyte also emphasised that companies could pursue risk management in other ways. "Lots of the big motor fleet insurance companies will offer some on-road risk management checks as part of their service," he said.
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