AFMA puts together the top gripes, challenges and nuances of the Fleet Management profession. How did we do?
Let’s face it, one fleet management role is definitely not the same as the next, but each have their own unique set of trials and tribulations. Whether it’s delivering pizzas or organs for life-saving transplants, there are a thousand different causes for a fleet manager to go grey, or simply pull it out.
Never fear however, AFMA is here to listen and we invite your feedback as we are constantly striving to make your role that little bit easier. Read through our list and send an email to [email protected] to give us your two (censored) cents. Your involvement will help us target issues and solutions for future AFMA events and news stories.
It’s the thorn in the side of every fleet manager and their business. Belt-tightening is the new black in accounts and fleet managers are constantly under the squeeze to save more and spend less, whether it’s upkeep or procurement. Vehicles fleets are expensive to operate yet crucial to daily operations in virtually every application, organisation or trade. Help a fleet manager save money and it’s the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
Just like a receptionist does more than answer phones, or a plumber that does more than unblock drains, so too does a fleet manager work far harder than in the ‘old days’. He or she is a jack of all trades, balancing books, collecting data, managing schedules, sourcing vehicles or vacuuming crumbs out of floor mats. But that’s only the half of it. Pressure from upstairs and the evolution of reporting structures means corporate initiative makes for a fleet manager who can rub their belly and pat their head while reporting to a number of department heads.
Running and Maintaining
The tumultuous environment that is fuel and oil pricing is like swimming against a rip for many fleet managers. It’s more than exercise – it’s gruelling. The combination of driver behaviour excessively consuming fuel, pointless idling, unpredictable pump prices, and preventative maintenance regimes are just some initial drains on fleet budgets and company bottom lines as a whole. Manufacturers are constantly selling the latest technologies to save fuel and tempt buyers, while costs of repairs and insurance just add to the fracas that is keeping a fleet sailing straight and true.
Driver Safety and Behaviour
Employee safety in a mobile workplace is one of those topics fleet managers either shy away from or fight tooth and nail to uphold and lead on. The best fleet managers are staunch advocates for safety technologies and are constantly looking for the best ways to protect their people. But it doesn’t come cheap to replace a fleet with the newest and safest, and that’s why they also have enormous influence over the motoring landscape. Not only do human factors cost lives and ruin families, it costs businesses, insurance plus repairs and replacement. To a lesser extent, fines, restrictions and third-party damage, again costs businesses and cripples productivity.
Being taken seriously and authoritatively as a fleet manager can sometimes seem an uphill battle. Executive management are often a few rungs above the humble fleet manager who can struggle to have their concerns, ideas, solutions and strategies given their due diligence. “Walk a day in my shoes” is one such expression used to characterise the lack of consideration and appreciation for the expectations placed on a fleet manager.
The fleet manager brings together a number of departments within a company creating a unique dynamic and structure to a company. Emphasis needs to be put on the next generation of potential fleet managers who will be required to deal with multiple mastheads to achieve the company’s objectives and improve productivity. Fleet managing ad hoc is a recipe for mishap and ball-dropping which can be avoided with the right training and education at a professional and formal benchmark. Teaching the future fleet manager should be as much about a diploma and discipline as it is passing down skills and advice verbatim.
The world is no longer pen and paper. It’s spreadsheets, data and endless torrents of information no human can possible decipher themselves. Technology alleviates this pressure. Data is the new oil and as daunting as it can be, it’s precious and invaluable to any fleet manager who takes their role seriously. Keeping abreast the numbers surrounding fleet vehicles and subsequent changes in available technology is a full-time role in itself.
It’s the topic that won’t go away and puts some executives and business figureheads in the spotlight. From paperless bills to company policies, how we treat or mismanage our obligations to protect this little planet of ours is increasingly important. For fleet managers, the requirements can increase when tool-of-trade necessities meet environmental obligations in terms of procurement. Do you buy the latest in fuel efficiency which may not be the best tool for the job, or vice versa? As a fleet manager, your role can mean not only finding that fit-for-purpose fleet, but also maintaining the halo around a company’s reputation, while simultaneously reducing costs and improving numbers. A tall order in any case.
Got something to say? Tell us some of the unique challenges in your Fleet Management role, we’ll take it on board, and use it to your advantage. Email: [email protected]