The traditional attitude to New Year resolutions is rather odd, according to Fuel Card Services. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager, puts it into context.
“As summer fades, attention turns toward the end of the year,” he said. “Christmas cards appear in supermarkets from August onwards, then mince pies, and everything else soon follows. It comes earlier every year, with one exception. Those awkward New Year resolutions are always left to the last minute, which just does not make sense. If you can identify a change that really needs to be made, then why put off making it?”
Steve went further, saying that managers should not make New Year resolutions at all. He said, “Whether running a couple of vans or hundreds of HGVs, management means always looking for new efficiencies in every area. Any kind of fleet represents tied-up capital and constant expense, so analysing the return on investment should not be left until the end of the year.”
He cited the example of fuel procurement, where any change can have significant implications. “If changing your refuelling practices cuts a few pence per litre, that offers a major benefit. For a small fleet, say a half-dozen vans each refuelling with 200 litres weekly, a 4p per litre discount means a £2,400 annual saving. For a large fleet, savings could run into tens of thousands of pounds. That is not the sort of improvement to be delayed until the end of the year.”
Duty Of Care
Steve Clarke added that some changes, although not immediately beneficial to the bottom line, can be even more important and urgent. “Every fleet manager has a duty of care obligation,” he said, “and this is where it is easiest to put off changes until New Year. Improving driver training, checking insurances and licences, assessing eyesight and other key activities can seem like inconveniences with no instant payback. It ought to be obvious that avoiding the cost of accidents in the first place is far better than simply hoping that none happen. Making duty of care improvements is today’s vital task, not next month’s unnecessary chore. It certainly should not be left until New Year rolls around.”