Whether your in the logistics business or you simply have a fleet of travelling sales professionals on your payroll, effective fleet management is the key to profitability. But good fleet management isn’t just about the practices of effective fleet managers. Sure, effective communication, a key focus on safety and a meticulous approach to maintenance are all great qualities that are absolutely necessary. But even the most skilled and dedicated fleet manager cannot be effective without a significant investment in infrastructure.
While many businesses are keeping a close eye on the purse-strings in the current climate, underinvesting in your fleet management infrastructure now will cost you more tomorrow. A lack of infrastructure can give rise to inefficiencies and vulnerabilities. At best these can result in the erosion of profit margins. At worst, they can result in damage to vehicles, injuries to personnel or (worse still) accidents that endanger the general public. Today’s investment can save you from tomorrow’s expense.
So, where should fleet managers look to invest to improve their profitability?
Go beyond telematics
Telematics devices have been integra;l to effective fleet management for decades now. It allows fleet managers to track the whereabouts of their assets while also allowing drivers to plan their journeys and time their rest stops effectively.
But in an age where software has risen to the demands of the fleet industry with aplomb, there are a dizzying array of fleet management tools on the market that offer much more than standard telematics. They offer complete end to end visibility from acquisition right through to disposal.
These platforms offer a much broader range of insights that can help fleet managers to ensure that vehicle assets are properly maintained, stored and used. Drivers can send reports and images of their vehicles that can be monitored in real time by fleet managers. This ensures full transparency and eliminates guesswork from the business of fleet management.
Invest in good quality batteries for vehicles
When you’re on a personal journey, a flat battery can be a huge irritation and inconvenience. When your fleet drivers are affected by a flat battery, however, it can be disastrous. It can result in missed appointments, late deliveries, broken promises, a potential loss of business relationship and the tarnishing of the reputation that you’ve worked so hard to develop. Investing in good quality car batteries is absolutely essential to ensure that your drivers are never caught unawares. Of course, training is also essential in preventing the behaviours that can lead to flat batteries. Which brings us to…
Employee training: It’s not a one and done thing!
Finally, as time consuming, costly and potentially disruptive as it can be, there’s no substitute for regular and comprehensive training. It’s important not to let the inherent expense and hassle of training compel you to treat it as a “one and done” exercise. It needs to be as regularly maintained as your vehicles, to prevent drivers from lapsing into bad habits and taking shortcuts that could cause damage to their vehicles… and your business’ reputation!