However, just because your company implements a written fleet policy doesn't mean it is being followed. How do you increase driver compliance with fleet policy? Here are 10 suggestions. 1. When developing or re-evaluating fleet policy, solicit the participation of all affected departments, such as sales, administration, purchasing, maintenance, and accounting, along with all vehicle user groups. By involving them in the decision-making process, you will increase the likelihood of their buy-in and support of fleet policies. 2. Make fleet policy easily accessible by drivers and managers by posting it on the company intranet. 3. Your fleet policy manual should be a living document that is updated annually. As changes occur within your company, revise your procedures to reflect these changes. Likewise, eliminate those policies that have become oudated. What was right yesterday may not be right today. Also, as part of your annual fleet policy review, you should survey your drivers to give them an opportunity to express their opinions or dissatisfaction about fleet policies that govern them. 4. Set aside time at company meetings to make fleet policy presentations to the drivers and managers. Also, conduct teleconferences with drivers who work at regional offices. "Use these meeetings to re-emphasize the importance of policy and cost control," said Bob Brown, fleet manager for Xerox. 5. Develop a summarized fleet policy pocket manual that drivers can keep in the glove compartment of their vehicle. "In every vehicle, we put a glove box booklet that contains the most important general policies, in addition to having the entire fleet policy online through our intranet," said Tom Sours, fleet superintendent for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, IN. Xerox, likewise, distributes a glove compartment fleet policy manual. "However, if you do this, it is of utmost importance to keep it updated," said Brown. 6. Send periodic e-mails or voicemail messages to drivers on specific fleet policy reminders, in particular on those issues that have higher-than-normal incidents. "Also, cc the driver's supervisor on important items or those supervisors who have drivers that were not within policy," added Sours. 7. Issue a fleet policy manual sheet with gas cards when they are distributed to drivers. "When a new vehicle is ordered, I get the gas card prior to the driver so I can add insurance cards. But I also add a three- to four-page summary of our fleet policy," said Pat Bell, fleet manager for Smith International in Houston. "This helps reinforce our policy to the drivers." 8. Create a newsletter that is mailed or e-mailed to company drivers to promote awareness of fleet policies by providing helpful suggestions on driver safety, vehicle care, and other topics. Likewise, use the company intranet for similar effect. "Post information on cost savings on the driver Web site, such as maintenance and fuel savings programs and where drivers can go to be the most cost-effective," said Brown. 9. Leave a weekly or monthly message on your voicemail greeting, advising drivers of new policies and reminders, said Cathy Crewson, fleet manager for Tyco. Another way to communicate fleet policy changes is to use paycheck stuffers. 10. How you organize your fleet policy manual can also help increase readership and awareness. For instance, Bristol-Myers Squibb places a safe-driving award application on the last page of its fleet policy manual (as well as on its intranet site), which forces drivers to look through the sections to find the award requirements. "Again, it's getting them to read the manual after they get it," said Joe LaRosa, fleet manager for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Cost Control Starts with the Company Driver By establishing the fleet policies up front for expense control and by making a concerted effort to ensure they are uppermost in the minds of your drivers, you will reap substantial cost savings. However, to accomplish this you need to communicate, communicate, and communicate, advises Jim Anselmi, fleet manager for Lorillard Tobacco. He adds, "A fleet manager needs to use every method available: memo, e-mail, newsletter, phone, and word of mouth to continuously reinforce fleet vehicle policy." Let me know what you think.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet