Globalising local fleet safety policies
Considerations when taking your policy to a global level...

Go global - globalising local fleet safety policies

There seems to be a divide in views on whether a fleet safety policy can or should be globalised. The general feeling is that rolling out a blanket ‘global fleet safety policy’ will not necessarily deliver the desired results, be effective or well accepted. The conclusion can be drawn however, taking account the views of those who have already implemented a ‘global’ policy, that consistency across multiple regions is a necessity.

Ultimately the need to keep drivers and the communities around them safe, regardless of geography, is the same. All companies operating a fleet of vehicles must embed a culture of safety to ensure business success.

Setting the standard

Let’s assume a local fleet safety policy is already in place. Before considering broadening it out on a global level, it’s essential to ensure that the scope of an existing policy covers all safety related aspects of an operation (such as including grey fleet – employees using their own vehicles when driving for work) and the associated risks.

This policy must be watertight at a local level, before attempting to try and roll it out on a larger scale, particularly when considering the complexities involved with individual geographies.

Global Policy

Creating a unified approach

Unified fleets can deliver competitive advantages and deploying a global fleet safety policy will help control disparate operations’ fleets which previously may have lacked restriction or cost excessive amounts of money. A unified fleet will bring efficiencies and ultimately cost savings.

A successful global policy will be the result of an engaged team representing the various areas within a business, e.g. health, safety and environment, risk, fleet, HR, legal.  This team must have a unified goal to promote safety across an organisation and will be company champions. This team will also be the crucial element in ensuring acceptance of a policy.

A global policy?

Before beginning to develop and implement any kind of policy on a global level, it’s essential to fully understand the markets in which the policy is to be implemented. This is where the ‘one size fits all’ approach will fail. Companies cannot simply take an existing policy, no matter how effective, and expect it to be successfully applied and adhered to in another country.

Far better to take a unified approach to safety, rather than imposing a single solution. It is essential to realise that aside from local language, culture and business style (which will be the tip of the iceberg, especially in relation to safety); the real challenges will involve local law, regulations,  vehicle types, insurance policies, maintenance schedules, the side of the road for driving and more.

Therefore a single blanket document is unlikely to work. The successes are more likely to come from a consistent and well communicated corporate approach to safety and driving for work. Deploying a scheme of benchmarking, measurement and driver trainingglobally will help ensure standards are constant and retained.  Allowing individual countries to develop their own policy; taking their own regional differences into account, whilst always returning to the one global, unified approach to safety will help ensure success. Allowing countries to have a certain amount of autonomy will also help with local acceptance.

Teamwork

Achieving global success

A simple, concise global fleet safety policy framework which can be well understood and applied locally is essential. It must not contain variables that may offer local loopholes but it must allow for regional legal variation.  It needs to be championed from the top across the global organisation and local senior management should be fully involved from the outset, they will be the ambassadors for cascading good practice in-country and ensuring continued focus.

As with the introduction of any new policy there may be resistance, therefore creating a company-wide safety culture is a prerequisite. For a policy to be truly embedded and adhered to, it must be seen that it is being enforced company-wide and without exception.

An effective and comprehensive plan of ongoing communications will play a vital part in ensuring all employees understand their roles and responsibilities. It is important to note that when communicating with different groups of people (in different geographical locations) various methods, messages and approaches will be required to ensure the policy is kept at the forefront of everyones’ minds.

A sustained approach

Ongoing driver education will also be an essential aspect to ensuring success. It is critical that all drivers fully understand the risks posed by driving for work. A comprehensive driver safety programme will educate drivers and ultimately reduce risk. This cannot be seen as a one-off exercise at the point of policy implementation, but must form part of an ongoing initiative, to ensure continued success.

At a local level, fleet managers also need to understand their drivers’ abilities and have access to data that will enable them to make informed decisions. Therefore driver assessment, benchmarking and performance measurement will be key to continued success. Communication, education and openness are all vital to creating and implementing a global fleet safety policy which works and ultimately improves a company’s fleet safety.

Once implemented a policy can be refined, improved and enhanced and it’s essential to review its ongoing effectiveness. Simple measures can be applied and identified in:

  • Reduction in collisions
  • Reductions in insurance policies and claims
  • Reduction in repair costs

Frequently business success is measured and quantified in terms of improvement, hence the need to continue to measure, monitor and manage a fleet safety policy on a global and local level. 

Ongoing driver education will also be an essential aspect to ensuring success. It is critical that all drivers fully understand the risks posed by driving for work. A comprehensive driver safety programme will educate drivers and ultimately reduce risk. This cannot be seen as a one-off exercise at the point of policy implementation, but must form part of an ongoing initiative, to ensure continued success.

At a local level, fleet managers also need to understand their drivers’ abilities and have access to data that will enable them to make informed decisions. Therefore driver assessment, benchmarking and performance measurement will be key to continued success. Communication, education and openness are all vital to creating and implementing a global fleet safety policy which works and ultimately improves a company’s fleet safety.

Once implemented a policy can be refined, improved and enhanced and it’s essential to review its ongoing effectiveness. Simple measures can be applied and identified in:

  • Reduction in collisions
  • Reductions in insurance policies and claims
  • Reduction in repair costs

Frequently business success is measured and quantified in terms of improvement, hence the need to continue to measure, monitor and manage a fleet safety policy on a global and local level. 

Read also "Fleet Risk Management  - The business case for change"

Share this page