3 Jan 24

Robert Hitchcock: BAT’s Global Fleet Safety Programme explained

During the Global Fleet Summit Virtual Experience on 5 December, fleet professionals were invited to provide a short, but to-the-point response to one of 12 central questions.
Robert Hitchcock, Global Sourcing Manager - Fleet at British American Tobacco, answers the question: “What fleet safety measures should I consider regardless of regional differences?”

In the modern corporate landscape, managing a global fleet safety programme demands a nuanced approach that considers regional disparities, diverse challenges, and varied risk levels. Robert Hitchcock articulates a comprehensive strategy for addressing these complexities in a recent presentation.

Diverse use cases

BAT, as a global entity, boasts a workforce of over 50,000 individuals hailing from 138 different nationalities. With such diversity comes the inherent complexity of operating across numerous markets, each with its unique set of challenges. Robert Hitchcock emphasized the need to categorize these markets based on risk levels—low, medium, and high. This approach allows for tailored policies and strategies that align with specific market conditions rather than adopting a uniform, one-size-fits-all approach.


Central to the success of a global fleet safety program is the alignment across various departments within the organization. Robert highlights six key departments, including operations, fleet, legal, finance, HR, and EHS, stressing the importance of collaboration and consultation across these sectors. Achieving buy-in and alignment among these departments ensures that policies are not only mandated but also informed by diverse perspectives, leading to better compliance and effectiveness.


The global fleet safety programme at BAT focuses on three pivotal aspects: vehicle specifications, driver behavior, and adequate support systems.

Rob outlines the significance of standardized vehicle specifications, irrespective of the risk level, while acknowledging the need for additional security specifications in medium and high-risk regions. Ensuring employee safety through vehicle maintenance and essential safety features is a priority across all markets.

Addressing driver behavior forms another crucial component of the safety program. While training and safety policies set expectations, Rob emphasized the pivotal role of accountability in driving behavioral change. Responsiveness to incidents and utilizing data-driven insights become instrumental in effecting meaningful transformations across the organization.

Furthermore, the provision of appropriate support tools and technology is indispensable for promoting safe driving practices. BAT's integration of telematics across trade vehicles demonstrates its commitment to leveraging technology for safety enhancement. Continuous investment in safety analytics showcases the company's dedication to not just collecting data but also interpreting it to drive substantive changes.

Relive the “Answers that Matter” from the Global Fleet Summit Virtual Experience

Authored by: Yves Helven