In 2017 industry stalwarts Mat Prestney and Jeremy Sneddon rebranded their fleet services company Plumfleet, where they have established their own driver and grey fleet management system Plumtree. Fleet Auto News’ Caroline Falls talks with Mat Prestney about Plumtree and its offerings, including a new journey planner module.
FAN: Can you tell me a little bit about what products and services Plumfleet offer customers?
PRESTNEY: We specialise in driver management, vehicle policy management and grey fleet management as well as offering more traditional fleet management services. We offer two Australian designed and owned cloud-based management systems: Plumtree our driver and fleet management system, and PoolCar, a pool-vehicle management system.
FAN: Plumfleet recently introduced a module in Plumtree called Journey Planner? What is it?
PRESTNEY: For a start, it isn’t a telematics system and it doesn’t require any devices to be fitted to vehicles. The journey planner module enables employers to operationalise those elements of their fleet and driver safety policies that relate to fatigue and risk mitigation in the context of any work-related driving.
For example, if I reported to you and you required me to travel to see clients in Parkes, Dubbo, Forbes etcetera, that might be a journey of three days. I would submit what my journey plan would consist of: what time I’m leaving, where I’m going, what my stops are going to be, if I’m taking anybody with me and the actual route that I’m going to take.
As my line manager, you would then review it and have the option to approve or decline my trip before I go. Some form of journey planning is common in those organisations that have staff that travel long distances regularly and it’s often done on paper or via email between staff and line managers. The employer’s intent here is to make sure I’m going to be safe and I’m not going to be putting myself into a position where I’m going to get fatigued or driving in hazardous conditions before I take the trip.
The Plumtree journey planner module has been developed to both automate and streamline this process for all parties – the driver, the line and fleet managers as well as the employer. The Plumtree journey planner module has an integrated emailing approval process as well as an interactive dash-board and reporting function
FAN: Why would someone use it?
PRESTNEY: To ensure compliance with the mutual workplace health and safety and duty of care obligations when staff members are required to undertake work-related driving under hazardous conditions – such as remote areas or long-haul trips. Many employers require staff occasionally, or regularly, to make trips of this nature and are becoming increasingly aware of the WH&S compliance and broader business benefits of using pre-approved journey plans to ensure staff safety and mitigate risk.
FAN: What was the motivation for building it?
PRESTNEY: The journey planner module was built in direct response to both market and existing customer demand. We built it in consultation with a number of existing Plumtree customers that had specific requirements to enable an easier, and higher, level of compliance from their staff as it related to fatigue and risk management. We launched the journey planner module in mid-November.
FAN: What value does it add?
PRESTNEY: As it’s fully automated, it avoids the historic issues associated with relying on traditional paper-based journey plans. Additionally, the operational overview, WH&S-compliance and asset-optimisation benefits all come at a fraction of the cost of traditional telematics systems. The passenger manifest ensures details of all passengers including other employees and clients are also captured.
FAN: When is it applicable?
PRESTNEY: Our clients have the flexibility in the Plumtree journey planner module to set their own parameters and triggers based on their policies. Plumtree then uses email reminders and triggers to drivers, line managers and fleet managers to automate the process from that point onwards. Client administrators, line managers and drivers can also access their own journey planner dashboard in Plumtree to review trip details, authorise, decline or request more information relating to trips before they occur. In this way the journey planner is significantly different to a standard telematics product.
FAN: How does it differ from telematics?
PRESTNEY: Journey planning is used by employers to ensure driver safety before the trip is undertaken – in this way it’s a much softer way of checking in on a driver in advance of a trip. Telematics is great in the sense that when someone’s driving you know how fast they are going etcetera. Journey planning differs in that it requires the employer and employee to consider the risk and fatigue elements of their trip in advance. This means that both parties are comfortable with safety and risk mitigation strategies relating to the trip well in advance of the driver even staring the engine.