Managing a fleet can be expensive and time-consuming. Instead of being responsible for just your vehicle, you’re responsible for tens or even hundreds of someone else’s vehicles.
A Turn in the Right Direction: 6 Fleet Management Best Practices
Keeping breakdown and repair costs to a minimum is not easy. It requires time, resources, and solid judgment.
By implementing and adhering to fleet management best practices, fleet managers can successfully control costs while maintaining asset reliability and safety long-term.
Read on to learn six fleet management best practices you can integrate to help improve control over your fleet and save on costs.
Relocate Fleet Vehicles With Safety in Mind
As a fleet manager, safety is always a concern, especially the safety of your drivers and passengers.
Managing a fleet takes the hundreds of distractions and hazards one encounters while driving and multiples that hundred by dozens of vehicles. Staying ahead of the curve will keep your drivers and your vehicles safe.
You can do this by maintaining strict procedural policy, including written procedures governing the safe operation of vehicles, accident reports, organized maintenance of repair stations, secure storage of flammables such as fuel, and theft control and prevention.
Managing a fleet is a logistical gymnastics act even on a regular day, so you can imagine the stress of having to relocate your fleet. Luckily, the same preparedness you use every day can help you here.
With a bit of research and advanced planning, you can ship your fleet safely. Any fleet manager in charge of a fleet relocation should review the following:
- Identify the kind of vehicles they need
- Establish where the cars are coming from
- Identify what their insurance needs are
- Assess whether leasing makes more sense
- Create a comprehensive maintenance plan
- Set clear guidelines for vehicle use
Fleet managers should also consider the type of transport they need. Because you’re managing vehicles vital to business operations, you need cars to be in tip-top shape when you arrive at your destination.
For this reason, fleet managers should seriously consider enclosed shipping. Granted, enclosed shipping costs more, especially when transporting classics, exotics, race cars, or luxury vehicles, but it’s well worth the extra expense.
Though part of any manager’s job is cutting down on overhead, good quality protection of your fleet is a reasonable investment.
For more information about enclosed shipping rates, you can review auto shipping providers like this.
Some of the benefits of enclosed auto shipping options include:
If you have any low-riders, such as sports cars, in your fleet, enclosed carrying reduces the risk of scraping your vehicles on a steep on-ramp. Enclosed shipping leaves your vehicles safe and sound inside their carrier.
Less Risk of Uninsured Damage From Outdoor Elements
The carriers are covered, protecting the vehicles from damages such as those caused by weather or debris. Because insurance doesn’t typically cover these damages, you’ll be happy you chose enclosed transport in the event you drive through any situations that threaten your cars’ bodies.
Implement a Simple Vehicle Maintenance Management Plan
Conduct regular assessments to ensure your drivers adhere to routine servicing and maintenance of vehicles. It’s easy for people to overlook these processes, so it’s only through inspection, scheduling, and reporting that you can be sure drivers are keeping to this routine.
Consider also implementing cloud-based fleet management. It allows round-the-clock access from anywhere in the world, and with automated features such as service reminders, you can create a very successful vehicle maintenance schedule.
Lastly, make fleet maintenance management as effortless as possible. Let it be automated, mobile, and accessible to team members whenever anyone wants a refresher.
This practice reduces your stress and allows employees to take more responsibility for vehicle schedules and maintenance.
Create Guidelines for Purchasing and Disposal of Fleet Vehicles
Consistency is key to good fleet management. You can improve consistency by setting vehicle purchasing guidelines that govern how personnel from different departments buy, operate, and dispose of vehicles.
Proper guidelines allow you to arrange for bulk purchasing. You can also set the correct mileage and time for disposing of or selling vehicles, cutting down on eventual repair costs.
Additionally, explore different vehicle options to ensure you only invest in those that meet your fleet requirements. Establish a purchasing plan that optimizes vehicle replacement, and always double-check that you’re getting the best price for the current market.
Set Goals and Expectations for Driver Performance
Setting realistic and achievable goals can inspire better, safer, cautious, and more responsible driving practices.
Monitoring the behavior of your drivers can make it even easier for you to promote safe driving habits, but be careful not to micromanage. Nobody likes someone breathing over their shoulder, fleet drivers included.
Instead of micromanaging, encourage good behavior by rewarding and recognizing outstanding drivers.
For example, you may offer incentives to a driver who achieves high fuel efficiency, follows regular vehicle inspection schedules, or exhibits excellent driving performance.
You should hold your drivers accountable to your company’s standards and reward drivers whenever they rise to the occasion.
Measure All the Metrics That Matter
Metrics are vital for monitoring progress. But for the metrics to be helpful, the metrics should also be strategic. Otherwise, you may be wasting time and resources collecting data that you can’t use.
Metrics are crucial because they give you a point of reference in the management of your fleet. If a particular process needs to be improved, you’ll need to know the starting data to track your progress. This tracking is where your metrics come in.
The most important metrics can give you a deeper insight into individual vehicle performance and overall fleet performance. These metrics include the overall operating cost, cost per mile, and total cost trend.
For best efficiency in data tracking, you should monitor problem areas and areas that directly impact fleet performance and can the rest.
Modernize Your Information System – Go Digital
It’s time to fill up your paper recycling and transition to documenting digitally.
Today there are great digital storage solutions that allow you to store everything online cheaply. If you have trouble organizing, there’s no excuse for not modernizing your IT department and keeping it up to date.
Keep your invoices, product manuals, work orders, photos, receipts, employee records, and any other information about your fleet in a central digital location that you can access from any device. Cloud management of vehicles is one example of such modern fleet management practices.
The fleet industry is rapidly evolving. Therefore, you need to stay informed by reading trade blogs and publications and joining industry associations to keep pace with the competition.
After identifying new technologies that could benefit your company, don’t be afraid to adopt them as they’re likely to make a big difference in your operations.
For example, you can embrace the use of alternative fuels as long as they are cost-effective, available, and in line with best practices. If you’re too hesitant to make changes to your fleet management, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
The goal of every fleet manager is to run their operations efficiently, minimize or save on costs, and retain their employees.
By instituting the fleet management practices mentioned above or tweaking them to suit your company model, you can take several steps closer to a fleet that runs like a well-oiled machine.
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