For a company that utilizes vehicles or equipment to get the job done, little can top the importance of fleet maintenance and care of these expensive assets. Your employees, however, are entirely instrumental in getting the most out of this equipment. They also have to be counted on to perform their work safely and efficiently.
Some administrators see their employees as a liability or an accident waiting to happen, but they are vital to your business and can be the basis of a smooth running fleet. With the right motivation and encouragement, drivers can provide valuable information that saves your business in operating costs over time. Here are some great reasons why employees are essential to great fleet management.
Using Their Senses
We beat motorsports analogies to death here on the Fleetio Blog, but there are plenty of correlations to be made. Just like in racing, the feel that a driver has is extremely important, and is usually your first line of defense for any vehicle issues. The feedback that a car gives; through the steering wheel, seat or brake pedal can pay huge dividends if an operator is paying attention. An employee without a sense of responsibility, however, could easily glaze over these problems and let them go until major (and expensive) service is required.
So how do you motivate your drivers to care? For starters, it’s pretty simple: ask for their feedback. Encourage regular updates and early detection. After all, wouldn’t you rather fix the small issues instead of big ones? Keep the conversation open and you won’t have to. Secondly, if you are monitoring performance, you may see problems coming from a mile away. If the cost/mile for a vehicle is steadily going up, fuel mileage is suffering or an in-car unit shows abusive driving, then you should probably talk to the driver.
Matching the Vehicles to the Job
As a high-level manager, it might be easy to spec out a generic vehicle and make purchasing decisions purely on cost. Sometimes, this works out, but usually it doesn’t. A vehicle needs to be an extension of your business, and therefore work in sync with the job you are trying to do. If a driver or employee is hindered by the limitations of a vehicle, then you are ultimately costing the company time and money. Unless you are a out there every day doing the work yourself, then it would be a good idea to sit down with your operators and see what vehicle features, options, and functionality would allow them to do their work more effectively.
There is a second benefit of this conversation: prevention. On-the-job incidents, even if minor, are very costly to your bottom line. From both a safety and ergonomic perspective, it is important that everyone is taken care of. Have your employees walk through their daily routines and point out potential hazards. The fix could be as simple as making it easier to get in and out of their truck.
Pitching in on Preventative Maintenance
Unless your vehicles are Kip-like and having daily conversations with company management, your drivers are a necessary link to the condition and service schedules for the fleet. Of course it is a little bit of a hassle to schedule an oil change or other important maintenance, but the collective discomfort pales in comparison to replacing an engine and being down a truck for a few weeks.
Reward those who adhere to your maintenance plan and easily monitor compliance with fleet management software. With regular email reminders as well as on-the-go data entry, there really is no excuse for missing an important service. Just let your employees know that they have a stake in the performance of your fleet. With them on board, your vehicle operations can be a breeze.