As your fleet grows in size, even the simplest of fleet management tasks can become time-consuming and exhausting. What may be manageable with one or two vehicles quickly becomes overwhelming with scale. Properly maintaining your fleet and staying on top of every detail with structured processes, however, can save you time, money and a lot of headache. With the correct processes in place, you can turn an exhaustive task into a well-oiled machine.
No matter the size of your fleet, these five tools can help you become a more efficient and productive fleet manager:
1. Well-organized records – Keeping your files and reports organized in your computer system or filing cabinet can help you quickly access everything you need. Having your fleet vehicles numbered uniformly helps filing as well. One best practice is to use the last five digits of the vehicle VIN. Since manufacturers use VIN numbers to track specific details about every vehicle, this makes looking up parts and vehicle information easier.
2. At-a-glance notes – Place a dry erase board in your office to help you with quick references like which vehicles are: in the shop, at a dealership, on the road, etc. The board can also be used to make quick notes about a vehicle issue that you can see at a glance throughout the day.
3. Calendar notices – Set an electronic calendar notice prior to scheduled maintenance and to remind yourself of registration, insurance and inspection renewals. This will ensure you stay proactive rather than reactive. Late maintenance, registration, insurance and inspection can mean big costs and fees that aren’t outlined in your budget!
4. Open line of communication – After training your drivers to be on the lookout for vehicle issues, it is vital to stay in touch with them daily. You must ensure they relay information to you in order to keep your fleet on the road instead of in the shop. This requires an open line of communication between you and your drivers. Whether it is through a daily check-in via phone or quick report via email or another tool, that two-way communication is the key to a smooth process.
5. Fleet management / GPS tracking system – There are endless reasons to have a solid fleet management and GPS tracking system for your fleet apart from simply monitoring drivers. Fleet management software and GPS tracking implementation will allow you keep track of driving habits, fuel purchases and fuel economy, vehicle location, scheduled maintenance and renewals (providing further assistance on many of the items mentioned above), on-board computer readouts and much more.