Stuart O'Brien, Author at Fleet Summit - Page 2 of 18
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Stuart O'Brien

Meet with the industry again at the Fleet Summit

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The Fleet Summit is still going ahead this July, as planned, offering a unique opportunity to reconnect with the industry and fellow professionals after lockdown.

During such challenging times, it is key to stay up-to-date with the industry and source new solutions for every eventuality.

Network with up to 60 other senior fleet professionals who share your challenges at the Fleet Summit – 13th & 14th July – Whittlebury Park, Northampton

The unique format gives you the opportunity to:

  • Meet with suppliers based on your business requirements and upcoming projects
  • Attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops
  • Enjoy complimentary overnight accommodation plus all meals and refreshments
  • Attend our networking dinner

Register for your complimentary guest pass now.

Our attendees safety is our main priority and in the event that we are unable to host this physically, this will be a virtual Summit.

Do you specialise in Fleet Management Software? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Fleet Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the fleet & logistics market – and in May we’ll be focussing on Fleet Management Software solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help fleet buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Fleet Management Software solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Chris Cannon on 01992 374096 /

Here’s our features list in full:

May – Fleet Management Software
Jun – Telematics
Jul – Contract Hire & Leasing
Aug – LPG/Alternative Fuel & Fuel Management
Sep – Vehicle Tracking
Oct – Duty of Care
Nov – Grey Fleet
Dec – Service, Maintenance & Repair

DriveTech is offering online essential driver training guide free to help during the COVID-19 pandemic

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As part of DriveTech’s commitment to road safety and to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have created a new online course available free to any business operator where ‘other than normal business drivers’ are being called into essential action.

The online course takes around 20 minutes to complete and helps provide a backdrop to why driving for work needs serious focus and is even more important in time of crisis response.

The course covers everything in an easy and quick to digest format; from why driving for work is so important, to legal obligations, driver health and wellbeing, the vehicle in use – in particular driving a private vehicle on business, the journey and tasks involved, mitigating risk, and a specific section on Coronavirus official guidance and behaviours.

DriveTech recommends that any driver volunteering or being asked to help out in these unprecedented circumstances should be asked to complete this course – it should help keep people safe, stay the right side of the law and save lives.

The course can be accessed free from this link:

This commitment from DriveTech fits well alongside its support of the Road Safety GB campaign, “TAKE EXTRA CARE”, launched earlier in April, and of course also complements the DriveTech range of professional driver training and driver risk management programmes designed to help businesses reduce costs associated with vehicle collisions helping to save money, reputations and lives.

Find out more from DriveTech here: Web:

Tel: 01256 610907


Free route optimisation tool from Trakm8 during crisis

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Trakm8, the UK’s recognised leader in the field of telematics, is making its Insight Optimisation platform free for as long as the Government lockdown persists, to support fleets of all sizes during the COVID-19 crisis. Trakm8’s solution is a British designed and built SaaS product, developed to support British business and is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises (SME).

The global pandemic has resulted in demand spikes throughout a number of supply chains, from personal protective equipment to grocery items; once commonplace but now scarce. 

In such an environment and with demand at record levels, maintaining and improving the efficiency of operations through AI based route planning becomes paramount.  The task is increasingly complex as deliveries have to respond to obscure and localised spikes in demand that are hard to predict. Furthermore, as economies across the globe artificially slow down to halt the spread of COVID-19, Trakm8 wants to support transport providers through this challenging period by providing free access to its latest optimisation tool.  This will ensure that business are best placed to bounce back when the market restrictions are lifted. 

Insight Optimisation is Trakm8’s intuitive route planning solution which uses big data to handle even the most complex fleet requirements. It’s proven to cut fuel expenditure by up to 20% and increase productivity by up to 33%. Maximising the concept of useable data, rather than planning a simple A to B route, Insight Optimisation takes into account the size and capabilities of your fleet and applies them efficiently to the task at hand, whether that’s five or five thousand deliveries a day. 

The free period of Trakm8’s incredibly simple to use tool can be redeemed at any point during the government lockdown, with no contractual obligations thereafter. Insight Optimisation works with almost every available computer system – all you need to get started with its web-based portal is an up-to-date internet browser. The only file a fleet manager will need to upload is a csv, which you’re able to open in any text editor or spreadsheet tool. 

Commenting on the offer, Peter Mansfield, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Trakm8, said: “At critical moments like these, it’s paramount that supply chains keep moving and goods get where they need to be. Supply chains and the logistics professionals are just as integral as our treasured NHS staff in keeping our country moving, and they need extra support. 

“By making our market-leading route planning product free to anyone who needs it, we hope to provide some extra support to those on the front line.  We are proud to be a British business supporting our country in these difficult times” 

To learn more about Insight Optimisation, please visit For the full terms and conditions, please visit: 

Learn new skills with these essential online courses

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Why not use the extra downtime created by lockdown to learn new skills and improve existing ones with our newly available and unlimited annual courses?

These are specially-curated online courses designed to help you and your team improve expertise and learn new things.

The Management, Leadership & Business Operations online learning bundle provides you with over 50 courses, which cover all areas of both professional and personal development:

  • Costs, Volumes and Profits Certification
  • Agenda Setting Certification
  • Health and Safety in the Workplace (UK) Certification
  • GDPR in The Workplace Certification
  • Project Management Foundation (Small Projects) Certification
  • Project Preparation Certification
  • Making Meetings Matter Certification
  • Marketing Certification Level 2
  • Managing Emotions at Work Certification
  • Managing Your Workload Certification
  • UK Employment Law Certification
  • Workplace Monitoring and Data Protection Certification

And many more!

Find out more and purchase your ticket online here.

Additionally, there are a variety of bundles available on all spectrums;

  • Personal & Professional Development
  • Healthcare
  • Sports & Personal Development
  • Human Resources
  • Customer Services
  • Health & Safety
  • Education & Social Care Skills
  • Sales & Marketing
  • IT & Personal Development

Book your courses today and come out of this stronger and more skilled!

We have two Fleet Summits this year – Join us!

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In such challenging times, it’s nice to have something to look forward to, right? Well, we have two Fleet Summits taking place this year.

This small, niche event is far removed from the traditional busy and crowded exhibitions – and designed for Fleet professionals like you!

Join us as our guest and enjoy an entirely complimentary day and a half that includes; overnight accommodation, a personalised itinerary of spaced out 1-2-1 meetings, access to insightful seminars, networking throughout and an invite to our evening dinner.

Our next two Summits take place on;

13th & 14th July – Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire

9th & 10th November – Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire

It would be great if you could join us, however tickets are very limited now, so click here to register for your place.

We also want to ensure you that we are following all the government guidelines and taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of all our attendees and staff. 

And as part of our commitment to you, we will endeavour to keep you updated on all information regarding the event.


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The UK plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 to become the cleanest country in the world. Each year, approximately 500 million tonnes of CO2 are emitted in the UK. Following guidance from the Committee on Climate Change, the government has looked into how it could bring this number down to zero. This move was prompted following the release of a UN report which stated that CO2 emissions must be fully stopped if we are to avoid dangerous climate disruption. 

The UK’s climate minister for the UK, Claire Perry, told BBC News: “The report was a really stark and sober piece of work — a good piece of work. Now we know what the goal is, and we know what some of the levers are.

“But for me, the constant question is: what is the cost and who’s going to bear that, both in the UK and in the global economy. The question is: what does government need to do, where can the private sector come in, and what technologies will come through?”

Here, UK car retailer Vindis highlights how big of a challenge the UK has set itself, by looking at three things that must change across the nation if the target is to be reached…

UK home insulation must be better

BBC News article detailed how the UK must lower its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.  What’s more, a third of those carbon emissions had been recorded from heating draughty buildings across the nation. 

However, one key issue is that 25 million homes will currently fail to meet the insulation standards that will be enforced from 2050. This is according to a report that was sent to Parliament by experts from the Green Building Council — a group of leading construction firms — with the solution being that the affected properties will need to be refurbished to the highest standards. According to calculations, these findings mean that the rate of refurbishment stood at a rate of 1.4 homes needing to be worked on every minute as of the beginning of 2017.

Carrying out this work will be a host of benefits, not just a reduction in carbon emissions, however. The Green Building Council’s head Julie Hirigoyen explains: “People will have warmer homes and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to address climate change and carbon emissions. We will also be creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.”

Fuel-efficient vehicles must be more appealing

To make the UK’s roads cleaner, the UK government has decided to ban the production of petrol and diesel cars throughout the nation starting 2040. While we may be a couple of decades away from seeing this ban come into force, it appears that an increasing number of British motorists are already exploring what’s available when it comes to alternative-fuel vehicles. The number of new registrations for plug-in cars increased from 3,500 units in 2013 to more than 195,000 models at the end of January 2019, reports Next Green Car. Furthermore, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders highlighted that electric car sales across the UK has shifted from only close to 500 being registered each month in the early part of 2014 to an average of 5,000 per month throughout 2018.

Thanks to sustained government and private investment, improvements have been made to the infrastructure to more alternative-fuel vehicles being used on roads across the UK too. While the UK’s network of electric vehicle charging points was recorded in at just a few hundred units as of 2011, there had been more than 5,800 charging locations, 9,800 charging devices and 16,700 connectors installed by June 2018.

It may be a long way off that we see all vehicles on our roads run on alternative fuels. After all, the latest vehicle data from the SMMT has stated that the car registrations market share for January 2019 was 64.08 per cent petrol, 29.08 per cent diesel and 6.84 per cent alternative-fuel vehicles, for example. However, it at least appears that things are moving in the right direction.

Increase the use of low-carbon fuels

If the UK is able to eradicate greenhouse gas emissions, the nation could really benefit from businesses and people using low-carbon fuels more e.g. LPG. On this matter, it seems that quite a few individuals are already providing a helping hand. In figures compiled by Imperial College London and reported on by The Guardian, the capacity of renewable energy in the UK surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time. With the amount of renewable capacity trebling in the same five-year period that fossil fuels decreased by one-third, the capacity of biomass, hydropower, solar and wind power hit 41.9 gigawatts and the capacity of gas, coal and oil-fired power plants recorded in at 41.2 gigawatts between July and September. 

Research for Imperial College London carried out by Dr Iain Staffell stated: “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and [the quarter between July and September] saw a major milestone on the journey.”

There’s no doubt that the UK faces a huge challenge in its attempt to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Fortunately, some of the examples covered in this article does at least suggest that efforts are being made to ensure the nation reaches its goal.

Join the UK’s fleet community this July

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The Fleet Summit is a small, niche event is far removed from the busy and crowded traditional expos and conferences, and takes place at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire on July 13th & 14th.

And there’s a complimentary guest place reserved for you!

Can you confirm you will be joining us?

The Summit will give you access to innovative suppliers who can help reduce your expenditure for a series of pre-arranged meetings based on your requirements. You can also attend a series of seminars, and network with like-minded peers.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner, are complimentary.

If this would be useful for your business, please confirm your attendance here!

Places are limited, so register today or contact me to avoid disappointment.

5.3% of fleet vehicles are Euro 4 or older – Research

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5.3% of company cars and vans being operated by customers of FleetCheck only meet the Euro 4 emissions standard or older.

That’s according to new analysis by FleetCheck, which says further 18.2% of vehicles from the total sample of 85,792 also fall behind the latest Euro 6 legislation by only achieving Euro 5.

Peter Golding, Managing Director at FleetCheck, said: “We compiled these figures to illustrate the disparity that currently exists across fleets when it comes to emissions. While at one extreme, some are actively working to achieve zero emissions, at the other, we can see that almost a quarter of all the vehicles our customers operate are Euro 5 or older.

“Because there is a strong SME bias in our customer base and these businesses tend to hang on to cars and vans for longer than corporates, they are probably worse than the fleet parc as a whole. However, they remain an indication of how far the industry will have to travel to achieve the kind of low or zero emissions performance we’d all like to see.”

Golding added that most of the oldest and most polluting vehicles in the analysis appeared to be diesel vans, many of which were operated on a spare or pool vehicle basis.

“It is not uncommon for smaller businesses to continue to operate vans until they become uneconomic to repair or too unreliable for everyday use. Even some of the latter will be kept in the yard as a spare van and used occasionally. However, there is a strong argument that these vehicles shouldn’t be on the road at all, given their poor emissions.”

Over the next few years, he added, there was a strong possibility that the introduction of Clean Air Zones would start to see more of these vehicles disappear from fleets.

“While CAZs have arguably got off to a slow start, it seems likely that at least some will ultimately move to the ULEZ model and operate a Euro 6 minimum for diesel vehicles,” said Golding. “This is one of the factors that will start to see some of these older vans start to disappear.

“However, well ahead of that point, more could be done to persuade fleets to stop operating these vehicles. That might mean disincentives using measures such as Vehicle Excise Duty or it could mean incentives such as wider use of scrappage schemes.

“On a simpler level, the economics behind the ongoing operation of these older vans are often highly questionable, and getting this message across to businesses is also something that we perhaps should be communicating more widely as an industry.”

5 minutes with… Mike Palmer, Nexus Vehicle Rental.

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In the latest instalment of our fleet industry executive interview series, we sat down with Mike Palmer, Client Development Director at Nexus Vehicle Rental, to talk about his company, industry opportunities, COVID-19 challenges and why straight talking is so important in business…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Established in 2000, Nexus Vehicle Rental is the UK’s leading tech-driven business mobility provider with a supply chain of more than 550,000 vehicles across 2,000 locations. We supply cars, LCVs, EVs, specialist and HGVs and one day, when they’re available for commercial use, we’ll supply autonomous vehicles. Our innovative platform, IRIS, streamlines rental management for our customers, driving large cost savings for them. 

What have been the biggest challenges the Fleet Services industry has faced over the past 12 months?

As we have weathered the storm Brexit presented, with political and economic ambiguity over the last 12 months, we are now facing continued uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the country. Many companies are already scaling back operations significantly and will face serious issues in the coming days / weeks/ months as their normal supply chains are unable to continue at usual capacity.

We have also seen challenges of increased supply chain costs, in the main as a result of the WLTP changes, which saw more stringent laws and testing on vehicle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars. On top of this businesses are also seeing increases elsewhere such as higher pension costs and rises in living wage. 

Our large supply chain does allow us to mitigate some of these rising costs and risks to ensure that we can keep any pricing increase as low as possible for our customers. Unfortunately, for smaller companies and direct rental businesses this can be very difficult and again, in many cases these businesses have been forced to scale back operations. 

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

As supply chain costs are increasing and legislation is changing, many direct suppliers are now unable to service the largest contracts due to fleet scale and higher demand. Nexus is ideally placed to service large scale contracts, as we have access to the largest supply chain in the country.

As a disruptor in the corporate vehicle rental industry, we have revolutionised the sector through our use of technology, which keeps overheads low, but means we deliver rental efficiencies for our customers at every step. We understand the rapidly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 is putting greater pressure on businesses, local authorities and front-line workers. As many businesses in the UK must adapt to new ways of working, we want to do what we can to support our clients keep operations running smoothly.

What is the biggest priority for the Fleet Services industry in 2020?

As we continue to navigate the current situation surrounding COVID-19, businesses are facing times of huge uncertainty, not just in the fleet services but across all industries. 

This uncertainty will not go away anytime soon. As we are forced to adjust to a new way of life and working for the foreseeable, we will see businesses continuing to scale back operations and adapting operations to drive cost efficiencies. The flexibility that comes with rental means that businesses can scale fleet needs at any time, to increase vehicles on the road to deal with peak periods or downsize fleets when demand is reduced, so I think we’ll see an uplift in businesses adopting rental moving forward.

Times like these highlight the need for businesses to remain flexible, agile and adaptable to changing conditions. While looking after the wellbeing of the workforce, clients and suppliers’, the priority for the fleet services industry will remain in delivering great service and keeping people and goods mobile, wherever and whenever it is safe to do so. 

As fleet rental providers, it has been important for Nexus to recognise changing requirements and customer demands and to adapt our service offering to reflect the needs of our clients and comply with legislation. 

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2020?

Phases of ambiguity often highlight the real benefit of remaining flexible, and this has led to growth in rental in recent years. For those organisations that need to scale-up their fleets quickly whilst mitigating costs, short term rental will prove an excellent solution. As the situation surrounding COVID-19 shifts every day, many are choosing to adjust operations to meet demand in a different way to ensure that individuals and other businesses can continue operations safely.

Until recently, we have seen a rapidly increasing demand for electric vehicles across all modalities. Legislation is a key driver of changes to the market with the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZs), propelling the need for innovation in cleaner transport solutions. 

Nexus continues to lead the way with its new dedicated EV rental platform for business use as part of our revamped IRIS V5 rental management system. The platform eases the transition process by assisting our clients to gradually trial and make the switch to EVs – while avoiding high upfront expenditure. We are constantly looking to develop our services with new and innovative software and IRIS is our flagship product that facilitates this.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

The rapidly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 is putting great pressure on businesses and authorities to ensure that operations run smoothly. As a result of this economic uncertainty, vehicle manufacturers are announcing that production will be halted. What we thought would be the biggest trends will likely lose focus against a backdrop of businesses just trying to continue operations. 

Electric vehicle technology was set to have a huge impact this year, with the introduction of zero rate BIK tax for all EVs in April to act as a great incentive for businesses to make the switch. Those that may have been previously unsure of how they could financially benefit from going green may be encouraged by this, though must consider the associated challenges from doing so, such as increased repair and maintenance costs for fleet vehicles. 

The government is sign-posting fleets towards a greener future of electric vehicles and hybrids as we know, however, the impact of the widespread adoption of this technology will continue to prove a challenge. What happens if your electric company car goes in to be serviced and you have no choice but to drive a petrol or diesel replacement? 

It is still a big decision for businesses to make this switch to EVs due to the huge investment required to do so, yet high demand means that orders of electric vehicles can still take up to six months for delivery. As a result, we have observed a rising trend of short and medium-term EV rental bookings to plug the gaps in supply and keep fleets moving and expect to see this escalate over the year. 

In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?

In 2022, I’m sure we will all still be talking about the same things that we are now such as new fuels, self-driving cars and alternative forms of mobility! There is a lot of work still be done to improve infrastructure to enable implementation of these technologies and this will take huge amounts of investment over the next few years before any of them can become the norm.

Over the last few years, there has been more enthusiasm surrounding the possibility of hydrogen-fuelled cars for one, despite the current industry-wide thinking that EVs will become mainstream. It could be interesting to see what developments are made over the next few years regarding hydrogen, as we have seen the EV uptake at the moment is still fairly slow due to associated costs and uncertainty about the level of infrastructure to facilitate this transition. 

I think fully autonomous cars may be a bit of a distant dream for now. However, we are increasingly seeing the adoption of automated features in new cars with self-parking settings, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking systems. Realistically, the safety aspects of autonomous cars will not be ironed out for some time and I am not sure how many people would fully trust this kind of technology right now. 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Fleet Services sector?

I think one thing that surprised me was how many people stay in the industry for such a long time – I have worked in fleet management for 15 years! I think in other sectors, businesses tend to see people move around a lot more.  

It does mean there a lot of experts within our business who have considerable experience of the industry, not just in rental but from various backgrounds such as leasing or finance. This enables us to advise customers on the best way to manage their mobility requirements with genuine knowledge and expertise. 

You go to the bar at the Fleet Services Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

Easy, Southern Comfort. 

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

I face different challenges every single day – no two days are the same. In this industry we are kept on our toes, reacting to constantly moving goalposts by the government especially, tackling issues around taxation and changing environmental targets, whilst providing the best service at the best price point. 

For example, a few years ago, barely anyone was driving electric vehicles and now we are readying ourselves for the complete removal of petrol and diesel vehicles in the next 15 years. While the industry still adapts to new legislation and changes announced by the government, Nexus is on hand to support businesses in their day-to-day – we must be agile. 

Through a tech-enabled, flexible approach, rental saves businesses both time and money, making it an extremely viable option in the current economic climate and in any times of uncertainty. 

And what’s the most challenging?

I think the most challenging thing is the same as what keeps the job exciting. We are constantly having to change the way that we do things and ensure that we can provide our customers with the most up to date and appropriate advice given developments within our industry.

As a business we ensure we remain flexible, agile and able to adapt to a constantly changing environment so that Nexus remains at the forefront of the industry. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

“Always tell it how it is. People will appreciate the honesty.”

Peaky Blinders or The Crown?

Peaky Blinders.