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Simplifying Fleet Recording

25th May 1962, Page 66
25th May 1962
Page 66
Page 69
Page 66, 25th May 1962 — Simplifying Fleet Recording
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Whilst recording the operation of individual vehicles is the recommended basis for costing, there is also the need for simple but adequate fleet summaries

THE summarizing of daily log sheets on a simple weekly form by the driver was recommended as a first step in the analysis of the overall operation of a fleet of vehicles in this series last week. For the purpose of costing the operation of vehicles it is recommended in "The Commercial Motor Tables of 'Operating Costs" that this should be carried out vehicle by vehicle. Similarly, log sheets and the weekly summary sheet described last week are also applicable to individual

vehicles. . .

Nevertheless, whilst still continuing to make use of such vehicle records, there is often an additional need for a simple, adequate and, above all, up-to-date record of fleet operation. Provided the form on 'which such fleet summaries are made follows the pattern of weekly vehicle summaries, the transfer of information from one form to the other can be made easily and rapidly. .

As with individual vehicle records, it is particularly important that any fleet summaries should be completed concurrently with the work performed, so as to be of maximum use and to avoid an accumulation of arrears of work.

As mentioned last week in connection with the columns in the weekly summary devoted to details of traffic carried, the actual headings and details contained in the columns inevitably have to be varied according to the *requirements of individual operators. But, nevertheless, an indication can be given here of the manner in which successive fleet summary sheets might he drawn up.

Where fleets of vehicles are disposed at several depots, the availability of weekly summary sheets indicating the amount of usage to which the fleets have been put during the previous week is essential to efficient management. But, however comprehensively and accurately such sheets might be completed, they would be of little value if they were not available soon enough for prompt and useful action to be taken.

To that end, and bearing in mind that their completion would in all probability be only one of the many duties performed by the staff concerned, it is advisable to draw up as simple a form as possible.

HAVING checked the various documents, such as signed receipt notes for goods delivered, agency tickets for fuel supplied handed in by the driver at the completion of his week's work, and having ensured that his weekly summary sheet is in order, the next step is to obtain a fleet total for such information. A recommended form for this purpose would be headed simply, " Weekly Fleet Summary," with the week-ending date appearing in the right top corner. It is sufficient to include in the left top corner of the form the initials of the company concerned, along with a reference number, to facilitate reordering stationery. As the daily log sheet, driver's weekly summary, weekly fleet summary and monthly, quarterly or other summary would logically follow in that sequence, it would facilitate identification of the several forms if they were numbered correspondingly.

This weekly fleet summary should then be divided into 10 or more vertical columns as required. The first two would be headed successively "Fleet No." and "Registration No." Whether or not the actual forms are printed, or alternatively, c36 duplicated, it would obviously be convenient to include the actual numbers of the vehicles concerned when the form is initially drawn up. To provide for any additions to the fleet during the interval of reissuing forms, additional lines could be provided.

Regarding the use of fleet numbers, whether on this particular form or any others used in the recording system, much greater benefit than usual can be obtained if the following method is adopted. In many cases in which vehicles are given fleet numbers, this is carried out solely on a chronological basis with the doubtful merit that,, in theory at least, the fleet number of the latest acquisition is indicative of the total strength.of the fleet at that moment. .In practice, of course, this seldom applies because it is only a relatively short time before the original vehicles are,replaced. All that then remains . of such a fleet numbering system is the limited advantage of being able to identify one vehicle from another with a shorter combination of digits and/or letters as would normally apply with the registration number.

IF, however, fleet numbers are allocated in groups relative to the various types of vehicle already existing or expected to be acquired, much greater benefits can be obtained. The extent of each group would be dependent on the optimum size of the overall fleet, but when making the initial allocation it is better to err on the side of excess rather than have to later modify the system because all the numbers in one particular group have already been used.

In a relatively small fleet it would probably be possible to operate this type of fleet numbering system with the numberslimited to two digits only. Theoretically, this would presuppose a maximum fleet of 99 vehicles, but assuming that a much smaller fleet was in fact likely to be operated it would probably be found convenient for the sake of uniformity to dispense with the initial numbers 1 to 9 so that all fleet numbers would then be made up of two digits.

Assuming that a mixed fleet was made up of mechanical horses, articulated vehicles suitable for long-distance work, rigid vehicles with platform bodies, tippers and boxvans, each of these types could be allocated corresponding groups of fleet numbers, for example 10 to 19 for the mechanical horses, 20 to 29 for the articulated vehicles and so on. In a larger fleet an elaboration of this system would be to employ threedigit fleet numbers, when the corresponding groups would then be 100 to 199, 200 to 299 onwards. Within these separate groups 100 to 109, for example, could be allocated to mechanical horses with, say, a 3-ton carrying capacity and 110 to 119 to corresponding 6-tonners. Even though the size of a fleet in no way justifies a three-numeral numbering system on the old chronological basis, the adoption of this method for relatively small or medium-sized fleets does permit considerable latitude in the allocation of blocks of numbers for every variation in type of vehicle.

The whole purpose of a fleet numbering system should be to facilitate the ready and accurate identification of the-types and carrying capacities of the vehicles concerned. Information which would appear to be virtually self-evident to the operator of a small fleet of vehicles, because of his personal knowledge of every vehicle and the memorizing of their respective registration numbers, may not be so readily available to the larger fleet user. With the employment of a fleet numbering system, such as the one described, this apparent disadvantageis remqved. This is doubly important when much of the management and control has to be delegated to several members of the staff. In such circumstances, when urgent decisions have to be made regarding the allocation of loads and detailing of drivers, it is obviously imperative that the appropriate load should be given to each vehicle and this is facilitated by fleet numbers indicative of vehicle types.

A sub-section in the driver's weekly summary described last week is headed Tonnage Delivered." According to individual requirements, this can be further sub-divided so that an analysis can be made of the various types of traffic carried. After determining just what segregation would be required on the driver's weekly summary, the identical headings and divisions would then reappear on the weekly fleet summary.

Having checked the several drivers' weekly summaries and agreed the totals of tonnage, mileage and fuel, these could then be directly transferred on to the 'fleet summary sheet in precisely the same order so as to eliminate as far as possible any error or transposing of data at this stage.

REGARDING the recording of fuel consumption, the assessment of the actual results obtained is largely depcndcnt on comparison with those obtained with similar vehicles operating under similar conditions. It is at this point that the allocation of a group of fleet numbers to vehicles of similar type is of advantage. If, in the example quoted, the mechanical horses were numbered from 10 to 19 then the totals of mileage run and fuel consumed would appear on successive lines in the fleet summary. By the provision of additional columns on the het summary to record the rate of fuel consumption, first for individual vehicles and then an average figure for that particular group in the next column, ready comparisons and sound Jeductions are facilitated. Equally important is the fact that, because the fleet summary is relatively simple there is no reason why it should not be completed soon enough for any remedial action to be taken when excessive fuel consumption s revealed.

On completion of the transfer of data from the driver's weekly summary to the weekly fleet summary, the corres?onding totals for the whole fleet can be obtained.

In most organizations it will be necessary also to have tvailable summaries of the fleet's activities over longer periods than one week. As with the forms already described these can be obtained comparatively easily if the appropriate long-period form follows the pattern of that from which information is to be obtained and, moreover, if the work is done regularly and as soon as the information is available. Occasion may also arise when it is necessary to have available a record of the work done by individual vehicles over, say, a quarter, half-Year or year.

It is possible to meet both these requirements by the adoption of one simple form, so avoiding unnecessary complication and expense. When used as a summary of fleet activities the name of the depot at which the fleet is located (if applicable) is inserted at the head of the form followed by an indication of the period to which it refers—for example "Quarter ending December 31." The main section of this form is then divided into 10 vertical columns with the appropriate number of horizontal lines-13, 26 or 52—according to the periods covered. In the next column is entered the date, which in this instance will refer to the appropriate week-ending date of the fleet summary. The weekly fleet totals of tonnage moved, in the several categories, mileage run and fuel consumed will then be successively added from the fleet summary sheets. In order to keep this record completely topical, an accumulative total could be maintained so that a complete and up-to-date picture of the fleet's activities could be available for inspection at any time.

The relevant simplicity of the several forms recommended, and the limited amount of almost routine work which has to be done weekly in order to keep the recording up to date, is in direct contrast to the very considerable amount of work which would be involved if an urgently required half-yearly summary had to be made up from scratch.

Alternatively, the same form can be used as a summary of the operation of individual vehicles over similar periods of 13 weeks or more. In this case the heading would include the fleet number of the vehicle concerned, and again the period to which the summary referred. The remainder of the form would remain as already described. If accumulative totals were also kept of these vehicle summaries, a current cross-check could be made by totalling these forms and comparing with the corresponding accumulative total on the fleet summary sheet. The ready availability of a summary of individual vehicle operations over a period of 13 weeks or more provides the opportunity to calculate precisely.such items as fuel con

sumption, tonnage carried and overall profitability. S.B.


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