Being a fleet manager can feel like you are juggling several balls at once, and that is exactly what you are doing. You need to have vehicles that are ready to go, and drivers that are ready to rise to the challenges that you set them. The days of notepads and whiteboards are over, and technology can now assist you to be an effective fleet manager who reaches targets and business goals.
Action not reaction
You need to be ahead of the game when it comes to dealing with any issues that crop up. The very nature of the business means that you have to get products out of the door but not at the expense of the safety of your drivers. You cannot afford for mistakes to happen on your watch, especially as the consequences are so high. Invest in hands-free kits and in-cab cameras to reduce the risk of harm.
Make maintenance easy
You need to ensure that your in-house processes make the reporting of any maintenance issues of the fleet as easy as possible. If drivers have to fill out endless paperwork in order to raise a concern, the chances are that they will delay doing it, and may even forget. The implications for your business, if maintenance issues are not recorded adequately, can be limiting at least, and catastrophic at worst. Simplify the processes as much as possible, and look into a cloud-based solution so that your drivers can easily report any problems. The benefit of automating the system means that the information is accessible anywhere and at any time – no more waiting for the office staff to confirm details.
Review your fleet
You need to review your fleet regularly. Your commercial vehicles are an asset to the company and need to be treated as such. You can use the vehicle value depreciation to work in your favor, and to be able to trade in your current vehicles when it’s time to refresh them. When it is time to replace existing vehicles in the fleet, you need to look at replacements that will hold their market value for resale. For example, Mercedes commercial vehicles for businesses provide efficient vehicles that hold their worth. Take time to make sure that the specifications you choose to optimize the resale price further down the line.
If it can be measured, measure it. If you instill a culture of recording data as the norm amongst your drivers, you will be able to run the fleet more effectively. You need to monitor mileage, how much money is being spent on fuel, the time taken to get to locations and vehicle turnaround time. If you do not know your starting point, how can you improve? You will be able to accurately identify where any profit is being leaked, and develop a strategy to find a solution to the issues raised. You need to have at your fingertips the cost per mile, and the overall operating costs as a minimum, but remember to make the process of recording the data as simple as possible to ensure that accuracy is maintained.