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Peyton Panik

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Nov 12, 2023

8 minute read

Fleet Management Blog

7 Top Tips for Effective Fleet Management

Every fleet has room for improvement, and we’ve compiled a tried-and-true list of basic principles that are pretty much guaranteed to improve your fleet operations – and make you a better fleet manager in the process.

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Stephen R. Covey, the author of the best selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, says “ineffective people live day after day with unused potential.” The same is true for fleet managers overseeing complex fleet operations on a daily basis. The potential to manage your fleet effectively while growing your bottom line is huge.

In fact, there are a number of habits that can make for highly effective fleet managers. These best practices, when applied appropriately, can really make a difference in your company’s bottom line and the overall safety of your workforce.

1. Act, don’t react when it comes to the safety of your fleet

With the numerous distractions and safety hazards for your drivers, it is always a good idea to get ahead of any potential problems. If you wait until an accident or near miss, then your company and employees could pay dearly.

The cost of a hands-free device, driver behavior monitoring app or in-cab camera may seem unnecessary, but the alternative is always going to be more expensive. You can also integrate the data you get on driver behavior from your telematics devices into a cloud-based fleet management software, and more closely analyze the effect those behaviors are having on both your drivers and your vehicles.

Key Takeaway

Be proactive by understanding what your drivers are doing when you’re not looking.

2. Make fleet vehicle maintenance management easy and accessible

People are more apt to take the path of least resistance. If you want your drivers to keep up with routine vehicle service and maintenance, you need to make inspections, scheduling and reporting as effortless as possible.

We’ve seen whiteboards, handwritten notes and file folders used to keep fleets on schedule. Cloud-based fleet management software with mobile accessibility and automated features like service reminders and electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (eDVIRs) are the key to a successful vehicle maintenance program.

Key Takeaway

Simplify fleet maintenance management by making it mobile, automated and accessible by anyone you want on your team.

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3. Set guidelines for fleet vehicle purchasing and disposal

Consistency is key. Without vehicle purchasing guidelines, personnel from varying departments and locations may buy vehicles as needed and keep them for as long as they see fit. Without bulk purchasing and insight into the right time/mileage for selling vehicles, your company could be hemorrhaging money.

Key Takeaway

You should aim to optimize vehicle replacement. Take the time to spec out vehicle options to meet the requirements of your fleet and put a purchasing plan in place.

4. Set goals and expectations for driver performance

Some of our customers incentivize drivers for doing a good job — whether this be for achieving high fuel efficiency, performing a fleet inspection 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 an entire fleet. With driver behavior monitoring, it’s even easier to promote safe driving habits.

Key Takeaway

Create actionable goals for your drivers to inspire safer, more responsible driving habits.

5. Measure everything that matters

Fleet metrics are important — they can help monitor progress, but they can also become a bunch of numbers if they aren’t measuring anything useful. In order to be on top of your fleet operations, you need to make sure you’re measuring well. After all, how can you improve upon something when you don’t know the starting point?

A few metrics that give solid insight into vehicle performance and fleet performance overall include cost per mile, total cost trend and operating cost summary. You can make tracking that data a lot simpler with an integrated fleet management system, or even by simply upgrading to a maintenance spreadsheet that does the calculation for you.

Key Takeaway

Set up a system that allows you to monitor and measure specific data that directly impacts your fleet.

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6. Implement a digital record system

Ditch your file folders. In the world of cheap online storage, there are no excuses for not knowing where your fleet information is stored. Invoices, work orders, receipts, photos, employee records, product manuals and more can be kept in one central digital location and accessed from any internet-connected device. Track your fuel expenses in a fuel management system.

Key Takeaway

It’s time to join the modern era of fleet vehicle management. Move your fleet documents to the cloud and find your fleet information instantly.

7. Constantly educate yourself about industry advances and new technology

The fleet industry is constantly changing — it’s important to keep up! Join an industry association, check out fleet industry podcasts, attend fleet conferences and trade shows when possible and read trade publications and blogs (like this one) to keep up with what is happening in vehicle technology.

As you read up on new fleet technology, don’t be afraid to adopt it. Alternative fuels, for example, were once seen as a long shot, but may actually be within reach and cost-effective for your fleet.

The same goes for vehicle technology where if you have accurate data for your vehicles, you can make educated decisions about payback on investments. Investing in cloud-based fleet management software can be a great way to advance your fleet into the future and give you greater visibility into your fleet’s data, as well as give you more actionable insight than you have on paper.

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When it comes to embracing new tech, any step forward is a good one, no matter how small. If a full software switch seems like too much, transitioning to a well-designed spreadsheet to track your vehicles’ maintenance can be a safer move that will still set you up for success — and we even have free downloadable resources you can use to get started!

Key Takeaway

In this age of technology and information, everything you need to be a fleet management expert is right at your fingertips.

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  • Get notified for failed driver inspections to surface potential issues and start the service workflow
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FAQs about Fleet Management

What is a fleet manager?

A fleet manager is an individual who is responsible for keeping fleet vehicles on the road. A fleet manager's effectiveness is measured based on their ability to reduce vehicle downtime, enhance productivity among fleet techs and control the costs of operating a fleet.

What are the key fleet manager responsibilities?

There are numerous responsibilities for fleet managers, but among the most important include the process of purchasing and retiring fleet vehicles, creating and sticking to a maintenance program, managing fleet personnel including drivers and technicians, and creating a safe operating environment.

What is the biggest challenge in fleet management?

The biggest challenge for fleet managers is trying to manage a large fleet of vehicles while also keeping costs under control. Many fleet managers rely on a software solution to increase visibility into their fleet expenses.

How can a fleet manager improve productivity?

Fleet managers can boost productivity in their fleet by providing their team with the tools needed to do the job safely and efficiently. These tools can be physical tools like equipment for the shop or digital tools like fleet management software.

Editor’s note: This blog post was originally posted in March 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.

About the Author


Peyton Panik

Peyton Panik

Content Marketing Specialist

Peyton Panik is a Content Marketing Specialist at Fleetio. When she’s not writing, she’s probably churning through a new book or watching a movie she’s already seen 15 times.

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