Optimizing fleet management is very crucial for companies that operate fleets of vehicles and mobile workforce. It is a business activity that is, in most cases, overlooked and can have a significant impact on the business. It is mostly true for small businesses in which the owners make the management resolutions. This article analyzes all it takes to run a successful management program.
What is Fleet Management?
It is the role of managing commercial vehicles such as vans and cars to make sure there is optimal utilization, maintenance, fuel consumption and to increase productivity. The fleet managers have a vast array of responsibilities which include coaching drivers, fleet maintenance, supervising fuel cost and consumption, and asset utilization.
The management program aims at ensuring the safety of the company’s drivers and vehicles, increase productivity, and improve efficiency. Many a time, managing vehicle maintenance, reporting on fuel consumption, vehicle tracking, and monitoring of driver behavior help in successful management. Management software is used to easily manage all these diverse roles.
The Duties and Responsibilities of a Fleet Manager
The following are some of the key responsibilities of a fleet manager:
- Maintaining Fleet Road Worthiness
The fleet manager has a role in ensuring that all the vehicles in the fleet go through continuous maintenance. It is important to make certain there is regular inspection of the vehicles, assessment of their physical condition, reporting and dealing with any faults that come up.
- Vehicle Selection
The fleet managers decide the type and number of vehicles that will make up the fleet. In some businesses, vehicles are bought only where they indeed needed, while others choose to buy them in advance for the expansion of the fleet. The managers are also required to decide when a vehicle should be decommissioned or put in the market.
- Ensuring Cost Efficiency
A fleet should operate in the most cost-efficient way, and this should be on top for every effective fleet manager at all times. Monitoring fuel consumption is one of the ways that managers can ensure efficiency. This can be achieved by adopting a fuel management system that can record and keep useful data for the fleet.
- Record Keeping
Fleet managers are mostly involved in electronic record-keeping, but there is a need to keep some hard copies of legal and vehicle documents.
- Data analysis
The data summarized by management software needs to be analyzed, which is the core part of the role of a fleet manager. The sophisticated software can efficiently monitor thousands of vehicles.
- Managing Team Members
It is the responsibility of a fleet manager to oversee the drivers and other team members.
The Skills and Competencies of a Fleet Manager
For fleet managers to carry out their duties to a high standard, they must have these necessary skills and competencies:
- Communication Skills
Excellent communication is essential for the fleet department to operate smoothly. The fleet manager, therefore, needs to be a skilled negotiator.
- IT and Software Skills
A fleet manager should be computer literate to comfortably interact with the software. In most cases, the software requires someone equally good for it to automate all the time-consuming tasks.
- Staff Management Skills
Management of the staff is one of the difficult tasks that any manager encounter. With proper management skills, the fleet manager can remotely supervise the drivers as well as the admin staff based in the office.
- Accounting Literacy
Most of the fleet managers are responsible for the profit or loss made by the department. To be in line with the business’ budget, the fleet manager should watch over the cost and negotiate savings.
- Vast Up-to-Date Vehicle Knowledge
As a fleet manager, it is valuable to understand what is under the bonnet even when you are not behind the wheels, and this will help you authorize the repairs without a glitch.
Fleet Manager Challenges
Managers are likely to face more challenges as the fleet business grows in size. A good fleet manager should be not only business-oriented but also tactical and tech-savvy.
Some of the complicated concerns you will come across include:
- Scalable software systems that can handle rapid growth
- Integration of fleet data into the existing software
- Finding quick solutions to the problems
- Management of a team that is geographically dispersed
- Handling information overload
- Ensuring maximum utilization of resources
- Have control over unapproved use of the company’s assets.
- Acquiring specific fleet data quickly
What is a fleet management software?
With the assistance of management software, a fleet manager can gather relevant information regarding fleet performance. The software entails a sophisticated database that has a lot of applications that help to record and report the key features. The data is useful in driving down the costs and improving efficiencies. They achieve this by improving productivity and reducing downtime.
The software can help you to:
- Report on driver safety behaviors with driver management
- Monitor the cost and consumption of fuel with management
- Receive alerts for maintenance of vehicles
- Track the routes and locations of drivers and vehicles
Besides the physical tracking, overall communication has been improved by the developments in fleet technology. The software also helps in:
- Approving driver paychecks and time-sheets
- Ensuring the drivers have proper in-vehicle mobile devices
- Tracking the problems and solutions of staffs
- Keeping track of drivers’ drug testing and licensing
- Configuring automated text messages and email alerts or reports
- HR management
- Overseeing any necessary IT integrations, like GPS tracking.
Effective fleet management needs a team that thrives in a fast-paced atmosphere with a specialized and broad set of skills. Any fleet manager should be able to confidently come up with strategic business decisions that are based on the substantial data acquired from the management software. A fleet manager is also a vital driver of the fleet business with exceptional insights into the vehicle maintenance, fleet expenses, driver safety, and fuel efficiency as well as federal and state regulations.