Making sure your services are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Scheduling your fleet maintenance. Tracking labor and fuel costs. The list of duties and challenges of a fleet manager has no end. Having a fleet management system in place can certainly help make those tasks easier.
However, such a system is still not a guarantee that your day-to-day operations will suddenly take significantly less time than before. The only thing that will make a real difference is choosing the most effective fleet management systems that suit your business perfectly. Here are a few tips on how to create one such system.
Fuel is the biggest expense for fleets, and having a better perspective when monitoring this category can lead to numerous benefits, ultimately creating a more productive fleet. Establishing a fuel program and tracking fuel costs by assigning a company card for motor vehicles can help with cutting down on discrepancies from cash purchases, which can give you as a fleet manager insight into how much is being spent on fueling.
When you have a clear picture of this you can identify where the overspending occurs, so you can plan accordingly and adjust if need be.
Better tire management
Tires are more than equipment – they represent your assets, and they need to be managed as such. For most fleets, they are the third largest operating expense, after fuel and paychecks. Tires require adequate care in order to maximize their lifespans. Schedule regular tire maintenance appointments to rotate the tires and check alignment. Inflation, tread, and overall utilization can also be checked during such service appointments.
When you follow a tire management program, you will have a way to better track expenses, whether by miles traveled or by overall performance. If it is effectively set up and executed, a tire management program can end up saving your fleet cash not just on tire replacement costs but also on fuel expenses.
Handling your workers
Your employees' behavior and accountability play a crucial role in productivity. This starts with establishing a transparent fleet policy and letting the team know what is expected of them. To achieve the desired outcome, the rules have to be explained clearly and reviewed periodically.
The best practices need to be touched on and workers reminded about what, who, when, where, how and why. If there is no sound fleet policy from the start, then how will you communicate your expectations and equitable standards for employee accountability? Without a streamlined process to issue the policy, review the policy from time to time and remind workers of the expectations, the message will get lost and productivity levels will also follow.
Live vehicle and asset monitoring
Having the ability to track your assets anytime and anywhere in real time from the comfort of an office is a big helper to making your day-to-day fleet management operations more efficient. How can you do this? With a combination of vehicle tracking devices and software. With the click of a PC mouse, you can utilize your fleet management software to:
- Monitor your driver behavior – particularly wasteful and dangerous behaviors.
- Monitor the use and activity of your assets to make sure compliances are met.
- Track in real time the location of your vehicles and big equipment.
- Have a live data stream on speed and engine diagnostics.
- Receive alerts and notifications for geofencing, speeding and many other metrics.
- Optimize inefficient driver routes.
Having an efficient maintenance program will ensure you are laying the foundations for a productive fleet. In other words, you have to deal regularly with the wear-and-tear your vehicles experience. Being aware of fleet maintenance requirements and when to cycle out older vehicles can help your fleet have a more adequately maintained portfolio, and thus will make it even more productive.
When you look at different types of fleets, from a pharmaceutical fleet to a work truck kind of fleet, work trucks are more prone to downtime than the pharmaceutical fleets, which can be due to the complexity of utilizing a truck and upfitting.
Ultimately, remember to replace parts of your fleet. If your fleet has vehicles past their optimum life cycles or high costs associated with mechanical failure, potential downtime and other problems can happen. If your vehicle is not replaced when needed, you open yourself to a liability exposure due to the increased risk of using a run-down vehicle.