Fleet management is an integral part of improving your logistics and ensuring that you keep within budget and standards in line with maintaining and operating your fleet so costs don't spiral out of control. While fleet management is something many business owners and managers deem essential, it can often be neglected for other sorts of business and effect left to run itself.
Herein lies the issue. Mismanagement of fleets can often lead to massive issues impacting all areas of the business. From reduced cash flow, decreased efficiency, and lower customer satisfaction rates, avoiding tackling issues within your fleet can be massively detrimental to your company as a whole.
Fleet efficiency needs to look at many factors to make operations run smoothly and to be effective for the company; there are many different factors that can affect just how efficient your fleet is. Here are some tips for managing fleet costs, and this post looks at how your fleet efficiency can be affected.
Your drivers will play a big part in how efficient your fleet is. And they may well be the best drivers in the world, but if they aren’t being properly managed with effective controls in place, they may be pushing these limits.
Driver inefficiencies can include taking longer routes than required, ignoring mandated rest and stopovers meaning they are driving tired, idling in traffic instead of turning off the engine, ignoring traffic warnings, and driving incorrectly, i.e., shape accelerating and rapid braking to speeding and driving under the influence for more serious issues.
Ensure each driver knows the standards you expect them to uphold and are thoroughly trained in the best practices, and has tools and resources to make the right decisions when on the road.
The majority of fleet owners use fuel cards; It just makes sense to give drivers the freedom to purchase fuel as required. But if they are limited as to where they can buy their fuel or unable to get repairs in an emergency, then this can impact their efficiency and lead to higher costs.
Choosing a fuel card that can allow them to get refills as required from multiple retailers or even pay for emergency repairs can be a lifeline for them when out on the road. If something unexpected crops up or they hit traffic and are unable to make it to their intended gas station, more flexible payment options can be a lifesaver.
Driver safety should be at the top of your priorities, and if your drivers don't feel safe on the road, they will likely be working under their capacity as they adjust to their working environment. Ensuring they know the correct protocols for driver safety, they know how to drive safely, and they are equipped with emergency supplies they should then need, i.e., first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and the like, and that they know how to drive correctly will set them up for success.
Alternatively, fleet management software can support driver safety standards, allowing you to implement controls and endure increased safety and security measures.
How you maintain your fleet will directly impact how efficient it is. Vehicles that don't meet safety standards or haven't been checked and repaired are more likely to break down or cause an accident on the roads. Neglecting to carry out visual and physical checks of vehicles and implementing routine maintenance such as checking brakes, tires, and fluid levels will put drivers and other road users at risk and make you more susceptible to breakdowns and problems on the road.
For fleet owners with regular issues such as this, it will likely impact the desirability of your company and lead to poor standards and reputation and, ultimately, a potential loss of business. Ensuring you have an effective maintenance schedule can help you avoid such issues and ensure each vehicle is always roadworthy.
Not having effective route planning software in place is a massive issue and something you should put into operation as standard. Route planning software allows you to see the best routes in real-time and get updates on traffic conditions to allow for changes to the route. Not only this, telematics used for route planning can give you a load of other information you can use to increase your efficiency, such as driver behavior, the value of the trip, and cost projections to help you make more informed decisions before planning routes and taking on jobs. The more data you hold, the easier it will be to optimize how you deploy your fleet and their actions on the road for better performance.
A breakdown in communication can only spell disaster. You need to have a clear and concise community at each step of the process. From the client orders to the management, fleet operations, drivers, and everyone in between, such as mechanics, cleaners, and more. If you are all on the same page, you can work to higher standards without crossed wires and ensure everything is taken care of on time for a more efficient operation. Poor communication in your fleet department will have a knock-on effect in other areas, too, and this will inevitably have a domino effect.
Make sure you are implementing effective compunctions, access the board, and everyone has a way of staying up to date on the latest information available so they're all kept in the loop from the top down.
When it comes to fleet management, being forewarned and proactive is the best approach to take. Know everything beforehand and make more informed decisions before sending drivers out on the road. Once you have the proper protocols in place, you can strive for a more efficient turnover and get the job done with as little fuss as possible. Use fleet management software and route planners and be proactive around preemptive maintenance and repairs to stay on top of your fleet and ensure everything is running as you need it to.
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