Vehicle fleets are an essential part of daily operations for communities and businesses around the country. From ambulance services that save lives and municipal street cleaning vehicles that keep the streets operable to delivery trucks that carry important cargo and more, efficient and effective fleet vehicles keep our lives running smoothly.
It’s important to note that this is no small feat—it’s quite a complicated task to keep a fleet of vehicles running at maximum productivity! However, with the help of an effective fleet management strategy bolstered by a comprehensive GPS tracking system, fleet managers can gain visibility of numerous facets involved in their fleet operations. Keep reading to learn what is fleet management, what it takes to be a fleet manager, and how fleet management software can tremendously improve your fleet operations!
- What Is Fleet Management?
- What Is a Fleet Manager?
- Fleet Management Challenges
- How Fleet Management Software Can Help!
What Is Fleet Management?
As you might have anticipated, fleet management is the act of managing all the various components involved with running and monitoring vehicle and equipment fleets. As a fleet manager, you’re responsible for maximizing productivity while reducing costs, plus ensuring that both your fleet drivers and vehicles are taken care of along the way.
Good fleet management is necessary for businesses, organizations, and municipalities to deliver great service to their customers and community. Fleet drivers and vehicles also have a significant impact on how potential customers perceive your brand or service; for example, if your drivers are constantly speeding and driving aggressively, then other drivers might avoid patronizing your business for that reputation. Overall, understanding what is fleet management involves recognizing all pertinent factors that go into fleet operations.
What Is a Fleet Manager?
A fleet manager is who answers the call of fleet management and takes on a variety of responsibilities in order to keep the fleet running efficiently. Most fleet manager roles require an associate degree in a relevant field plus several years of work experience in some aspect of the transportation industry.
Responsibilities of a Fleet Manager
A fleet manager's responsibilities go far beyond ensuring each vehicle is in the right place at the right time. A fleet manager is also responsible for:
- Designing vehicle maintenance programs
- Scheduling preventative maintenance and repairs
- Keeping up with changing laws and regulations in the industry
- Determining when vehicle parts need to be replaced or upgraded to meet new safety or performance standards
- Tracking fleet metrics
- Monitoring how, where, and by whom vehicles are used to increase fleet efficiency and driver accountability
- Building the most optimized routes between point A and point B
- Ensuring drivers and operators are safe and on-task
- Acquiring new fleet vehicles and getting rid of old ones
- Creating, managing, and reporting on the fleet budget
- Monitoring fuel consumption and minimizing wasteful fuel costs
Skills Needed to Be a Fleet Manager
In order to handle these responsibilities, fleet managers need to have extensive operational experience and the following skills:
- Management experience: Fleet managers are expected to lead and motivate their employees, so they should have experience managing effective teams and working successfully with other people.
- Customer service skills: In the event that delivery isn't on time or a service provider arrives late to a site, fleet managers must have customer service skills so they can effectively explain the situation to the customer and work to resolve it so that an operational problem won't negatively impact your reviews of customer satisfaction scores.
- Financial planning: Fleet managers are responsible for creating and managing a budget, which requires careful analysis, benchmarking within their industry, and a basic understanding of current economic conditions, so it’s useful to have this kind of experience that can be leveraged in this aspect of fleet management.
Fleet Management Challenges
With so many moving parts—literally and metaphorically—to manage in a fleet, there are a handful of common challenges that fleet managers face, including:
Pressure to Do More with Less
One of the most common challenges facing fleet managers everywhere is the constant pressure from upper management to lower overall operational costs—while also increasing the quality of service and efficiency. Essentially, modern fleet managers are trying to do more with less. However, it can be difficult to accurately forecast a fleet budget when vehicle maintenance costs and the price of fuel can vary by week.
Lack of Driver Accountability
Another major challenge facing fleet managers is monitoring driver safety and productivity. When your fleet drivers are on their routes, how can you know that they’re courteous drivers who obey the speed limits and aren’t driving recklessly? Your brand’s reputation is on the line and subject to change when your community witnesses dangerous driving habits. Since it's impossible for one fleet manager to be in every vehicle with each driver, this is impossible to track or monitor without the aid of technology.
Overcoming Inefficient Routes
Fleet managers also have to overcome their drivers taking inefficient routes while going about their work every day. Without an intentional schedule and route planner, it’s easy for drivers to unknowingly crisscross all over town instead of moving through their work in a logical manner. Inefficient routes waste everyone’s time, cost money since you’re servicing fewer customers, and can accelerate maintenance schedules unnecessarily.
How Fleet Management Software Can Help!
Fleet management software uses satellite technology to triangulate the locations of vehicles, equipment, and other valuable assets tagged with GPS tracking devices. This makes it possible for fleet managers to manage and monitor all of the moving parts associated with fleet operations remotely and with ease. With fleet management software, you'll be able to:
Strategically Maximize Your Operations
With a telematics system that is able to monitor countless facets of your fleet operations, you’ll quickly be able to strategically maximize your fleet operations. For example, if you notice that vehicles are being driven around town after hours, then that might indicate your employees are using their work vehicles to make personal trips. Depending on your company’s policy, this might trigger a meeting to address that situation and explain how personal trips accelerate maintenance schedules, exacerbate fuel costs, and more. Without GPS tracking technology, there’s almost no way that you could track this kind of pattern!
Track Dangerous Driving Behaviors
One of the benefits of fleet vehicles is that it’s basically “free advertising” whenever your vehicle is out in the field; other drivers and members of your community will see your company’s branding and contact information! This can be detrimental to your brand, however, if your driver isn’t following good driving behaviors. Habits like sharp acceleration, harsh braking, or taking corners too fast are all signs of dangerous driving behaviors that can affect the safety of other people on the road and damage the reputation of your company. GPS tracking ensures driver accountability and empowers you to intervene when needed.
Optimize Service Routes for Efficiency
With GPS tracking technology, you can optimize your fleet’s service routes for maximum efficiency. This means you won’t have to turn down new business because your fleet vehicles are scattered haphazardly around town; fleet management solutions mean that you’ll be able to coordinate flexibility within your drivers’ schedules and get maximum output from them since they won’t be spending precious hours in avoidable traffic jams or taking the scenic route.
Deliver the Best Fleet Management Strategy with Rastrac!
In addition to the solutions that fleet management software can provide, the following points are also inherent to the GPS tracking solution:
- Pinpoint the exact location of all of your tagged vehicles and assets in real-time
- Receive notifications when preventative maintenance is necessary
- Get comprehensive reports on the condition of each vehicle in your fleet
- Monitor conditions inside a fleet vehicle, including temperature, noise, light, and pressure
- Identify wasteful idling, fuel consumption, and related costs
- Reduce vehicle and asset theft
- Monitor driver safety remotely so you can correct poor habits in real-time before they cause an accident
Ready to deliver the best fleet management strategy? Partner with Rastrac today to see how our solutions can help you know your fleet inside and out so you can maximize your operations!
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