As a fleet owner, you have a lot on your plate, and a high level of management is necessary to make sure your fleet is run efficiently and cost-effectively.
To achieve the best outcome for your fleet, it's important to not only understand what fleet management is in the larger sense, but to also understand the nuances of fleet management, from acquiring the vehicles to maintenance of the vehicles and from licensing to fuel costs and everything in between.
Having control of all of these factors will help you to make better-informed decisions about your fleet every step of the way.
What is fleet management?
Fleet vehicle management is a broad concept that includes basic maintenance, tracking mileage and fuel usage, maintaining appearance, and handling the registration processes. It requires a significant level of record-keeping and continual monitoring to allow companies to maximize the productivity and yield of their fleet assets.
Because fleet management can be complex, it is vital to find a fleet management service provider that offers a tailored, collaborative approach, partnering with your business needs to deliver exceptional results in reducing fleet costs without reducing productivity.
What are the benefits of fleet management?
- Increase in business efficiencies
- Reduced fuel costs
- Higher customer return and satisfaction
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Minimized risks
- Higher safety ratings
What types of vehicles need fleet management?
To know what kind of fleet management your business might need, it helps to first determine what kind of fleet you have. There are two general types of fleets: small and large. (Of course, if you are a growing business, you could fall somewhere in between as well.)
Small fleets are for smaller businesses (fewer vehicles) such as florists, caterers, cleaning services, and plumbing.
Large fleets are for larger businesses (many vehicles) such as car rental companies, moving companies, large delivery services, and semi-truck fleets.
Other considerations include how many vehicles you currently have, when and if you'd like to grow your fleet, and what types of vehicles you'd like to have for your fleet.
How do you acquire vehicles for your fleet?
There are two main ways to acquire your fleet vehicles: through purchasing or leasing. There are pros and cons to both methods, but no restrictions on which way you obtain your fleet, and you can cycle through purchasing and leasing as you wish.
You may also want to consider the environment when purchasing vehicles. To that end, you can move your fleet toward cleaner vehicle alternatives, such as electric or diesel as your fleet turns over.
What are the basic fleet management requirements?
- Accurate record keeping: Records need to be kept up-to-date and checked for accuracy regularly. From vehicle maintenance logs to fuel costs and from licensing expiration dates to leasing contracts, every detail must be recorded and accounted for.
- Risk assessment: Not only do you need to keep accurate records, but you also need to be able to access any risks within your fleet and within the data you keep. Issues that may fall under this umbrella include things such as your drivers following safety procedures and keeping your fuel management program up-to-date.
- Data analyzing for solution finding: Are your drivers experiencing too many delivery delays? Are your fuel costs going up unexpectedly? Once you uncover a risk or a detriment to your fleet within the data and records you've been keeping, you'll need to be able to use that data to extrapolate a solution for the good of the fleet.
- Protocol and compliance preparedness: The U.S. Department of Transportation and other state and local authorities require that your fleet be completely up-to-date regarding all licensing, insurance policies, certifications, driver logs, registrations, and more. Don't waste time scrambling to pull together all your important documents when you're asked for proof of compliance. Managing your fleet properly will ensure it's all together and ready to go at any time.
Other considerations for managing fleet vehicles.
There are other considerations you should take into account regarding fleet management, such as hiring drivers, driver training, fleet tracking, and safety management.
Hiring and training
The qualifications for hiring and training your drivers can vary from industry to industry and from vehicle to vehicle. The qualifications vary from the obvious, like having a valid driver's license to more nuanced factors such as physical or mental strength and personality traits.
Once hired, your drivers will need to attend the training you offer that is specific to your business and the fleet that you own and operate. A good training program includes supplemental training and continuing education options. Some training programs can be mandatory and some can be optional, but all should be offered.
New systems exist for GPS fleet tracking. Fleet managers can utilize these systems to track drivers' routes for efficiencies or to alert the drivers of traffic or alternate routes to take. Your fleet managers should stay up-to-date on the latest in fleet tracking as well as other technological advances that can aid in keeping your fleet safe, secure, and cost-effective.
In addition to getting all the processes and procedures in place, having your employees hired and trained, and your fleet operating at full steam, you'll want to make sure that you have your fleet protected. This includes safety and risk management training for your drivers to keep them on the road and out of harm's way. It also includes insurance, roadside assistance, and preventative maintenance programs.
Fleet management from the pros
Our partnering approach targets the business goals of our clients. We proactively monitor the gauges to track, analyze, and optimize our clients’ fleets to ensure that everything is operating at maximum efficiency. We are responsive and eager to adapt to the changing needs of our clients’ businesses. Our groundbreaking approach strategically improves your situation to streamline resources and save your company money wherever possible.
Find out how Mike Albert Fleet Solutions can transform your fleet management experience into an organized and efficient one.
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