Fleet management is a demanding job. For anyone who is new to the role, or wants to know they’re doing the job as effectively as possible, it’s wise to go over the challenges involved.
Simply put, a fleet manager oversees a fleet’s assets and daily operational affairs. But from there, many nuances of the job — namely, acquiring and maintaining vehicles, supervising fuel costs, managing employee health and safety, and staying compliant — require close attention in order to minimise costs and run an excellent fleet operation.
In this blog, we’ll describe what fleet managers need to consider to overcome key challenges.
- Vehicle acquisition
Buying fleet vehicles might seem simple, but it can get complicated quickly. To save money and achieve the best possible ROI, fleet managers must consider many variables, such as:
- The timing of orders
- Required features
One of the biggest challenges for fleet managers can be managing expectations over fit for purpose. Look to define primary use, the size of vehicle required, the safety rating, safety features, fuel efficiency and resale value, all as part of calculating each vehicle’s total cost of ownership (TCO). This will help to provide a clear view of what the fleet should look like and play a part in managing expectations.
- Fuel management
Part of excellent fleet management is wisely managing the costs of fuel.
For one, fuel choice plays a role. Petrol is a common option, but fleet managers may also look to diesel and electric vehicles, if applicable, to determine whether those alternatives would end up exacting a smaller budget burden.
Second, many factors that affect fuel consumption and costs include:
- Vehicle inefficiencies like improper tire pressure or general wear-and-tear.
- Bad driver behaviour such as speeding, idling, or hard-braking.
- Poorly-planned driver routes which unnecessarily lengthen driving time.
- Fuel fraud from employees or third-party credit card ‘skimmers’.
Fleet managers must maintain visibility, and act accordingly, to avoid fuel-related cost blowouts.
Only with reliable, well-maintained vehicles can a fleet stay operational at all times.
Fleet managers should have drivers check basic vehicle functions daily, and should ensure routine maintenance gets done for each vehicle. Doing your own quality control assessments is also key, to confirm the reliability of performed maintenance.
- Health and safety
Ensuring employee health and safety, while minimising accidents, is a top priority.
Effective fleet managers institute driver policies which establish rest breaks for drivers, and require employee pledges for safe driving. Ongoing driver training and education will help reinforce safe driving habits and substantially reduce accident risk.
If an accident does happen, fleet managers should have processes in place to fully document the incident, the damage caused and that insurance claims and third-party negotiations are properly executed. Working with an outsourced accident management provider streamlines admin and lowers costs in the long run.
To safeguard the entire fleet operation, fleet managers must enforce ongoing compliance.
Vehicle inspections, mechanical issues, statistics on individual drivers, insurance records, and other trackable fleet asset data should be documented accurately. Fleet managers should verify all data is secure and correct in order to smooth out auditing or claims processes, if and when they happen.
It’s crucial to adhere to evolving Health and Safety laws while ensuring fleet drivers themselves stay compliant with company policies.
Fleet managers who identify and quickly act on areas of risk reduce the chance of legal hassles and fees, enjoy better insurance rates, and create more secure, compliant fleet operations.
The fleet managers job is challenging, but doable with the right approach and resources. By staying proactive, negotiating skillfully, maintaining visibility, and leveraging the help of a trusted outsourced fleet management provider... you can lower risk and costs, protect driving staff, and sustain an efficient, profit-driving fleet.
Chat with us to see how much your business can save with First Rescue fleet risk management.