Many don’t realize what an integral part of the modern world of commerce fleet management is. Organizations across the entire economy depend on fleet vehicles for the distribution and delivery of products and services. Their customers need to receive their orders in time, and fleets need to be appropriately managed in an efficient manner in order to thrive. The position of fleet manager is a complex and varied job and involves a number of different responsibilities.
Expert fleet management involves a wide array of skills from multitasking to communication with groups of professionals. Good fleet managers generally have cross-disciplinary experience in several disciplines and have the ability to think fast on their feet. This article will outline nine qualities of an expert fleet manager to give you a better sense of what it takes to manage fleets at the highest level.
1: Time Management Skills
Expert fleet management involves a great deal of time management. Top-performing fleet managers have impeccable time-management skills. Fleet managers deal with a wide variety of people—all the way from upper management to drivers out in the field. In order to operate effectively, fleet managers have to operate with the bottom line in mind while also making sure the drivers are having their needs met. This is the only way to make sure the fleet keeps running smoothly. At the core, time management skills are about being able to focus on the important without being consumed by the urgent.
2: The Ability to Multitask
Having the ability to multitask is one of the best fleet manager skills to possess. Managers at the top of their field know how to juggle their obligations and responsibilities seamlessly. As a fleet manager, you need to be able to balance your responsibilities in order to make the fleet run efficiently.
It can be tough to juggle the needs of all the people who rely on you as a leader. Drivers, suppliers, and management each have their own needs that sometimes come into conflict. Great fleet managers are able to juggle these demands. Expert fleet management requires the ability to multitask.
3: Being Able to Adapt to Change
The fleet manager’s role has changed drastically over the past 20 years. Many fleet department staff are gone, procurement groups now play a greater role in fleet sourcing, and outsourcing is much more widespread. The industry is fast-paced and good fleet management involves being able to adapt to change.
Exceptional fleet managers are on top of change and even recommend changes to improve their fleet. In the ever-changing landscape of fleet management, great fleet managers don’t fight change, they embrace it.
Expert managers know that goal-setting is the best way to keep expectations clear with employees. Plus, this helps them ensure all aspects of their fleet are improving over time. They use metrics to continuously benchmark fleet utilization, productivity, and vehicle downtime. Great fleet managers track the effective management of both fixed and operating costs.
The best fleet managers set goals and commit themselves to achieve specific results. These goals are always front of mind as they oversee their operations. Being results-oriented encourages top-level fleet managers to be more creative when addressing problems and drives superior results.
5: Lifelong Learner
Of all the fleet manager skills to possess, one that really separates the good from the great is being a lifelong learner. Top-notch leaders never stop learning and keep pushing themselves to learn more. They brush up on their skills by attending fleet management seminars. They read industry publications to keep up with best practices.
The very best fleet managers are often members of industry associations related to fleet management. Great managers are self-motivated and often obtain professional certifications. Expert fleet leaders share their knowledge with customers, direct reports, senior management, and their team members, pushing the entire operation forward.
6: Stellar Communication Skills
A quality that expert fleet managers must-have is great communication skills. Fleet managers have to be able to communicate clearly, at all levels, in both writing and orally. They must be able to draft presentations for senior management as well as write memos to drivers. Expert fleet managers can conceptualize ideas clearly, and succinctly communicate them. Being able to communicate well earns fleet managers the respect of drivers and senior management.
Great fleet managers are able to coach and lead. They do this for the fleet team but also for drivers and management. Being a fleet manager involves being responsible for a lot of people. Great fleet leaders look for ways they can be of service to others in the organization.
Top-level fleet managers lead by example and can inspire their team toward a common goal. Great managers understand they are role models for others and act accordingly. They respect contributions made by team members, value ideas, and create an atmosphere conducive to learning and growth.
8: Savvy with Technology
The fleet management industry is driven by technology. No matter the size, from large to small, fleets are improving the management of their vehicles and drivers through technology. Great leaders are capable of analyzing how novel technologies can help their fleet improve and achieve its goals.
Fleet managers who perform at the top of their field are able to utilize and embrace technology. They’re hubs of knowledge and help other people in the organization get up to speed with new technology.
9: Sense of Humor
One of the most underrated fleet manager skills is having a sense of humor. Great fleet managers have an amazing sense of humor. This makes them well-liked by their peers and drivers. The fleet industry can be stressful and demanding. Having a fleet manager with a good sense of humor helps everyone get through tough times and keeps the organization focused on achieving its goals.
Good fleet management will get the job done but expert fleet management goes above and beyond. If your fleet is ready to level up, check out what Azuga Fleet™ can do for you. Combining real-time data, maintenance alerts, geofencing technology, and more, your fleet will be ready for jobs of any type and size.