Fleet management is not something most of us ever “planned” to get into. It’s the sort of career many of us end up in after building up many prerequisite skills in other careers or in junior roles in the transport, logistics or automotive industries.
However, those who do become fleet managers often find it a very rewarding career, with plenty of regular challenges to overcome and the responsibility of managing a fleet set against the backdrop of a constantly-changing industry. It may seem a little daunting at first, but below are seven helpful tips for those that are new to the game.
1. Record keeping
Recording information provides you with the opportunity to measure and monitor the performance of your fleet. Record everything though and you will quickly become overwhelmed! Rememeber the more information that you collect, the greater the need for time and resources to manage it. Only collect the information necessary to make informed decisions in the core areas of fleet management (ie – procurement, maintenance & repairs, fuel, crashes, compliance, etc.).
2. Don’t forget your purpose
Be sure that the rationale behind operating the fleet and the purpose to which vehicles or groups of vehicles will be put is clearly understood. Without a clear intention, your job becomes so much more taxing and far less rewarding.
3. Update your driver policy
Having appropriate health and safety measures in place is a necessity in terms of a legal and compliance perspective. These should be regularly reviewed and updated for auditing purposes should an incident occur.
4. Keep costs at bay
Keeping on track of all fleet management costs by recording and monitoring will really help with controlling budgets. Vehicle, maintenance, fuel, staff and other business costs all add up and it is essential to look for possible savings and avoid unnecessary losses across the entire business. Vehicle maintenance can play its part too – an underinflated tire can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%!
5. Join a Fleet Association or attend an annual event
The fleet industry is constantly changing—it’s important to keep up! Being actively involved in industry organisations can be highly beneficial. Association and industry events aimed at fleet operators can provide a wealth of information such as industry-wide issues. AfMA’s webinars are a great place to start – keep your eyes peeled for our next one in August!
6. Set goals and expectations for driver performance
Some of the most successful fleets provide incentives for drivers doing a good job—whether this be for achieving high fuel efficiency, performing vehicle inspections regularly or exhibiting high driving performance. While this may not work for everyone, you should always hold your drivers to a performance standard. The potential fuel savings for better driving habits and a well-running vehicle can really add up across a larger fleet.
7. Check your allocation of resources
Regularly review your fleet of vehicles and the tasks that they need to carry out to determine suitability for the job. Consider investing in technology such as telematics or fleet management software to save your operation both time and money. That initial investment can soon be recouped by reducing administration time and cost through automated processes and procedures.