'One driver - one vehicle' or not?
I am working in an office which is rotating the drivers among the vehicles. This doesn’t seem right to me from the point of view of monitoring the fuel consumption of the vehicles. What are the pros and cons of rotating the drivers versus a ‘one vehicle-one driver’ method?
One vehicle-One driver
It is definitely important to monitor fuel consumption. This can tell you a lot, not only about the state of the vehicle, but also driver behaviour and possible pilfering of fuel (if it is always the same driver in each car).
Using a ‘one vehicle-one driver’ system usually means that the vehicles are kept in better condition, as drivers will not leave any faults, or tasks such as topping up of fluids, to the next driver to sort out. The drivers can be made responsible for the accessories, such as jacks and first aid kits, and there is a better chance that log books will be correctly filled out, with no gaps.
An additional benefit of assigning a specific vehicle and driver to a specific person or team is that that the driver can become an integral part of that team and may offer to help with some other aspects of the work. They can gain familiarity with the places commonly visited and routes regularly used.
If you have a mixed fleet of vehicles, you will probably already be allocating the most suitable vehicle to each team. On the other hand, if all your vehicles are similar models, they can be reallocated between the teams, with their respective drivers, on a regular basis, e.g. every month or two. If they are in varying condition, you should ensure that the most reliable vehicles go to the field or out in the worse road conditions.
With regular rotation of the vehicles, you can avoid the major downside of allocating ‘one vehicle-one driver’ to a team: that some drivers might end up doing more overtime or gaining more travel expenses for overnight stays, while others will be stuck working 9-5 or driving all the time in congested urban traffic.
Some drivers may be allocated vehicles in poorer condition which require more maintenance. The driver working with the head of office (often in the smartest car on permanent assignment) can become arrogant towards his/her fellow drivers, and even other staff.
Therefore, it is also a good idea to rotate the drivers between the vehicles occasionally, say every three-four months. Each vehicle should be handed over to the new driver with a thorough inspection by both drivers (preferably against a checklist of condition and accessories) with both signing off on the handover.
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