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. Taking lessons from Fleetio customers around the world and notable fleet professionals, we have compiled a list of basic principles that are pretty much guaranteed to improve the management of your vehicles. A nod to Steven R. Covey for the title.
So here it goes, in no particular order…
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive When it Comes to Safety
With the numerous distractions and safety hazards for your drivers, it is always a good idea to get out 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, cell phone disabler or in-cab cameras may seem like overkill, but the alternative is always going to be more expensive.
Make Maintenance Management Easy
People are inherently lazy, and unless you employ self-driving vehicles (link), then you are going to be battling this tendency. If you want your drivers to take their vehicles in for routine service and maintenance, you need to make scheduling and reporting as effortless as possible. We’ve seen whiteboards, hand written notes, and file folders used to keep fleets on schedule. Online fleet management software, automated email reminders and mobile accessibility are the key to a successful vehicle maintenance program.
Set Guidelines for Vehicle Purchasing and Disposal
Every couple of weeks, you hear about a government entity that is being reviewed for improper management of their vehicles. The size of these operations and public scrutiny usually bring to light a number of common problems; namely the lack of a uniform purchasing and disposal program. When you have no consistent guidelines, different managers, departments and locations will take it upon themselves to buy vehicles as needed and keep 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. Consistency is key, so take the time to spec out vehicle options, put a plan in place and rightsize for the requirements of your fleet.
Set Goals and Expectations for Driver Performance
We have some customers who incentivize drivers for doing a good job - whether this be fuel efficient operation or regularly performing vehicle inspections. 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.
Measure Every Metric that Matters
In order to be on top of your fleet operations, you need the right data. After all, how can you improve upon something when you don’t know the starting point? Since it incorporates many important elements, cost per mile is one metric that should be on everyone’s list.
Document Everything Important
In today’s world, where online storage is cheap, there are no excuses for not knowing where you fleet information is. Invoices, work orders, receipts, photos, employee records, product manuals and more can be kept in one central location and accessed from any internet-connected device. If you are still using file folders, then it is time for an upgrade.
Stay up to Date on Advances in the Industry
Join an industry association, read trade publications and keep up with what is happening in vehicle technology. Our team has seen Fleetio users make a big difference in their operations with the adoption of new technology and best practices. Alternative fuels, once seen as a long shot, may actually be within reach and cost-effective for your fleet. The same goes for vehicle technology, where, if you have accurate data (#5) for your vehicles, you can make educated decisions about payback on investments.
What are your keys to success in fleet management? Drop us a line or leave a comment on this post.