Fleet managers oversee the complex operations of their company fleets on a daily basis. The size of the fleet, the type of vehicles in the fleet and the cargo or people it carries will vary between different companies. Yet fleet managers have a number of things in common. For example, all fleet managers want to grow their fleet while reducing costs because the impact on the bottom line can be huge. However, they have to find ways to still remain efficient and maintain delivery times. Here are the four things all great fleet managers have in common.
Proactively Working To Improve Safety
Good fleet managers are always proactive when it comes to safety. Safety is not only important for drivers and merchandise, but for the general public as well.
Great fleet managers screen applicants for safe driving habits and monitor their behaviour, terminating those who come close to violating the rules instead of firing people after serious accidents. It’s easy for commercial drivers to fall to distractions while riding, and it’s cheaper and safer to monitor people with apps and in-cab cameras than pay for an accident because of negligence. Offer training and tips to improve performance when it is less than ideal instead of only offering lessons as a corrective measure.
Remove Barriers to Maintenance Management
You want people to keep up with inspections and vehicle maintenance, but sometimes they will fail to take time out of their busy schedule to do so. Fleet managers use everything from written notes to whiteboards to keep everyone on schedule.
The best fleet managers simplify this and set up systems that are foolproof. For example, they use fleet management software people can access via apps on their phones, tablets and laptop computers. Then they get text messages to remind them that a truck needs to be brought in for maintenance or if some component needs to be replaced. This should be used in conjunction with electronic logging device to simplify drivers logging the time they drive.
Set Up Consistent Policies
Consistency is the key to both fairness and profitability. When you have different guidelines for buying parts or disposing of vehicles at different sites, you waste time and money as people figure out what to do while increasing the possibility someone violates the rules. Conversely, you’ll save money if you buy aftermarket parts and avoid selling vehicles for less than they are worth. Have a set of universal guidelines for paying for parts, products, and services.
You should also have a plan for shopping for insurance and selecting the best insurance policy for the organisation. For example, you could get multiple van insurance quotes on the site Quotezone.co.uk. You’d save on van insurance by using the same insurer for your entire fleet since Quotezone.co.uk lets you compare policies from more than fifty different providers in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, by having a formal process for shopping and selecting insurers, you won’t end up with someone selecting an unreliable insurance company for insurance coverage at a particular worksite.
A side benefit of using a shared process and system for collecting data is that you can make better data-driven decisions and then implement them across the organisation. For example, you should create a standard process for selling vehicles based on time or mileage and use data collected across the organisation to determine when the best time would be.
You can enforce standardised processes by rolling out technology that enforces it. Electric data loggers for time worked and fleet management systems are good examples of this. It also saves time and money. This is most obvious when an IFTA report is generated via automated software instead of a manager wasting hours doing the same by hand and probably making mistakes along the way.
They Communicate Effectively
The best fleet managers communicate effectively. Everyone on the team knows the expectations that come with the job. Customers or clients know where their products are and when deliveries are due to arrive. Everyone feels comfortable reporting problems and concerns. Conversely, drivers aren’t given mixed signals such as when they are told to log everything but pressured to work off the clock or told to cover up HOS violations. Good fleet managers should be able to avoid asking drivers to cover for inefficiencies and are able to improve retention rates by maintaining job satisfaction.
These are just some of the habits, traits, and characteristics all great fleet managers should have if they want to thrive and help their organisation meet objectives. Fortunately, you can choose to emulate these characteristics and make a major difference in your business.