Organizations that use company vehicles driven by employees will always have some kind of fleet management program in place, to monitor the usage of those vehicles. The purpose of any fleet management program is to keep tabs on the performance of vehicles in the fleet, as well as all maintenance which is done to those vehicles. This helps to ensure that maximum productivity is achieved using the vehicles and that in turn contributes to the smooth operation of the business itself.
There will generally be an overall fleet manager in charge of all these vehicles, and that person will have the responsibility for scheduling maintenance, monitoring fuel costs and consumption, overseeing drivers, planning routes, increasing productivity, and decreasing the occurrence of waste. To help reduce operational costs, many companies have implemented fleet management software to assist with the management of all vehicles.
Responsibilities of a Fleet Manager
It is a serious responsibility to have overall charge of the company fleet, and any person in charge of this will undoubtedly take it very seriously. First of all, the fleet manager is responsible for driver safety, and this includes ensuring that drivers safely operate vehicles, especially when they are far away from headquarters. To help with this, a manager can install vehicle tracking systems or dashboard cameras which monitor driver behavior.
The fleet manager is also responsible for knowing exactly where vehicles are at any moment of the day, and this can only be accomplished through fleet tracking systems. No matter how many vehicles are in any given fleet, it’s necessary to know their location, as well as the status of any loads they might be carrying. GPS tracking systems can help greatly in this regard, and there are several fine products out there today which can provide excellent information and analysis on all fleet activities.
Driver retention is another area that falls to the supervision of a fleet manager, and this is more important in the trucking industry where there is currently a national shortage of truck drivers. It’s up to the fleet manager to develop strategies that will encourage retention on the part of drivers, for instance improving workplace conditions, establishing trust between drivers and management, and sometimes even creating mentorship programs to train new drivers on the spot.
Vehicle acquisition is something a fleet manager has to be concerned with as well, especially given the cost of purchasing new vehicles. It’s essential to know what condition all vehicles are in so that some kind of forecast can be developed for purchasing new vehicles. Keeping costs down is something that any good fleet manager has to be concerned with, especially in the area of fuel costs. All unnecessary expenses will generally have to be eliminated or minimized, and the most efficient processes for operating vehicles will be implemented.
Asset-tracking and fuel efficiency are two of the most important aspects of overall cost reduction in any fleet management program. In recent years, it has become very important to make use of electronic logging devices (ELD’s), because these have been mandated by law. It has become necessary for vehicle operators to electronically record their hours of service, so it can be ascertained whether or not they are nearing their limit. This has served to minimize logging on paper, as well as dangerous situations where over-tired drivers are operating vehicles.
For all vehicles which fall under the mandate, fleet managers will be obliged to implement systems that are ELD-compliant, in order to ensure that all relevant information is recorded and evaluated. The health and safety of drivers is another factor that fleet managers have to be concerned with. Whenever a vehicle operator is involved in an accident, it becomes the responsibility of the fleet manager to ensure that the situation is handled responsibly and properly.
Reporting procedures must be put in place so that drivers can deal with any accident that happens according to insurance reporting procedures. This will ensure that claims can be processed efficiently and quickly and that any necessary repairs can be accomplished promptly. It will normally be up to the fleet manager to develop and implement a policy regarding the health and safety of vehicle operators, as well as ensuring that all driver training records are accurately maintained, to minimize the risk of accidents occurring.
Because of the vast amount of information that can be provided by any good fleet management system, it will also be necessary for the fleet manager to wade through all this data and determine what has value to the company and what does not. In order to focus on the most relevant information, it will be necessary to ignore all that data which has no importance to your company. This will allow you to retain valuable information and generate reports on those areas which have relevance and significance to your company, without getting bogged down on information that you don’t need.
How Fleet Management Can Benefit your Company
Regardless of the size of your fleet, it can be a daunting task to monitor all the vehicles of your fleet and to achieve cost savings while minimizing waste. This is why at least three-quarters of all fleet managers have implemented some type of fleet management software to support the supervision of vehicles in their fleet.
An annual survey conducted by Government Fleet shows that the vast majority of companies have turned to fleet management software programs to monitor driver behavior, ensure compliance with government regulations, conduct regular maintenance on vehicles, and to provide maximum support to drivers in the field.
The fact that fleet management programs can provide real-time visibility into driver operations wherever they are ongoing, makes them invaluable to any company. It can also increase driver satisfaction because drivers are constantly connected to a dispatch center where they can be provided with all necessary information and support.
This, in turn, leads to better driver retention and far less turnover, which is an essential component of fleet management. The accurate reporting and predictive analytics that are provided by fleet management systems can also help save on fuel costs and unauthorized stops or visits by drivers.