Fleet management is a difficult job, no matter how large or small the fleet. As a manager, you’re typically juggling reducing costs, reducing liability, and increasing safety and efficiency. It’s certainly no small feat. If you’re new to fleet management or are looking to optimize an outdated fleet, don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are the top fleet management tips to help you organize your fleet.
Fleet Management Tips
Our tips below for vehicle fleet management are the foundation of a solid program. It’s important to follow these tips to help create an all-encompassing professional fleet. Most fleet managers will agree, sometimes, the challenges of fleet management get in the way of what a fleet is always meant to be at its core. A focus on best practices helps to realign a fleet and our tips will help things smoother and faster.
A Long-Term Strategy
If you aren’t planning to grow your business, what are you hoping for the future of your fleet? You should have mechanisms in place to help you scale your fleet and meet challenges. Every business thinks they can adapt to growth. In reality, most aren’t prepared for it. The simpler you make your systems now, the easier it is to adapt to growth.
Establish Vehicle-Replacement Cycles
Vehicles don’t operate to their optimal efficiency after around 70,000 miles. Fleet vehicles tend to reach this much faster, sometimes within a year. Because of this, it’s best to keep vehicle life cycles at 3-4 years. Many fleets opt to lease fleet vehicles over buying them to ensure the team is always operating on all cylinders. Plus, this will also help to reduce your repair costs and liability in the long run.
Assess Asset Utilization
Fleet optimization should always be a priority and maximizing utilization is one of the best ways to achieve it. Around 42% of fleets experience only 5% of utilization of their assets. When assets aren’t utilized, they sit in storage or an open lot collecting dust. These unused assets cost large amounts to not only store, but monitor to avoid theft. You also have to continue maintaining these assets. If you’re not utilizing them, they’re simply a drain on your company.
Focus on Preventative Maintenance
Repairs and downtime cost your business and slow your growth. Preventative maintenance reduces the likelihood of major repairs. A focus on preventative fleet maintenance also ensures you remain compliant for DOT inspections. Your drivers will also benefit from this focus. They’re less likely to break down or get into an accident due to vehicle issues.
Encourage Good Driving Behavior
Good driving behavior reduces costs, liability, repairs, and improves efficiency. Efficient drivers also use less fuel, get in fewer accidents, and avoid penalties. When your drivers understand their fuel usage, costs, and fleet maintenance, you make them accountable. You can keep their minds on costs and encourage better driving with telematics. A telematics device monitors idle time, diagnostics, driver behavior, and much more.
Many fleets encounter the same problem when it comes to their assets: Not knowing exactly what they have.When fleet managers don’t have a full knowledge of their assets, some buy more thinking they need it. They may also experience shortages on a job site and asset underutilization. Additionally, theft remains a large issue among fleets. Today only 20% of stolen assets are ever recovered by authorities. Fleets can overcome both of these issues with strategic asset tracking.
Geofencing creates a virtual perimeter around a location, and does so remotely. With the geofence in place, you’ll receive alerts any time an asset enters or leaves the perimeter. You’ll know immediately if an asset is in operation after hours, possibly indicating theft. It’s also an automatic indicator and proof of delivery. As a bonus, you’ll be able to track idle time, which is typically something managers like to reduce across fleets..
Know Total Cost of Ownership
One of the most vital tasks of fleet management is to remain within budget and reduce costs. But one thing that is easy to overlook is the total cost of ownership of fleet vehicles. As mentioned earlier, some fleets decide to lease rather than buy due to life cycle. If you’re paying for repairs too frequently, your payments too high, or your fuel consumption is poor, you need to know. Weigh these costs against any potential savings by replacing the vehicles. But don’t forget to weigh your options; you may save more with leasing versus buying.
Establishing company policies for driver behavior, training, and maintenance helps to lower costs and encourage compliance. It also helps to ensure your operation always runs smoothly. When an issue arises, you’ll know how to fix it and get back on track. You’re more likely to grow if you maintain consistency throughout your company. To do this, infuse policy into training. All personnel should be aware of their responsibilities and rules.
Data is vital to optimizing your fleet. It gives you visibility into driver behavior and the diagnostics of your vehicles. It also shows you:
- Fuel consumption
- Idle time
- Hours of service
- Engine diagnostics
- Driver behavior
- Prevents theft and helps recover assets
- Asset tracking
- Regulation compliance
- Maintenance scheduling and alerts
- Fuel card integration
- Route optimization
With these insights, your fleet is safe, efficient, and compliant. It’s also open for growth, making it possible for you to scale the company without the growing pains.
There are dozens of benefits of fleet tracking and telematics., the largest being total optimization. Telematics takes care of multiple facets of your fleet, so you can focus on what’s important: the growth of your business. Learn more about GPS fleet tracking with Azuga.