Any organisation that has a collection of vehicles for use within normal business operations needs a fleet management system, and this includes private vehicles used for business purposes, known as ‘grey fleet’. Even if these vehicles are not directly linked to the main services you offer, ie. you are not a delivery company, in the logistics sector or a taxi firm, they can have a huge impact on the business in terms of finances and resources.
Fleet management is a day-to-day task that has a big influence on the economics and efficiency of the business, as well as monitoring regulatory compliance and maintaining good data protection practices. Here we look at elements of the fleet management process which may be overlooked when assessing the importance of this key organisational element.
Admin tasks can be the biggest drain on resources
The administration of fleet management can take up a huge percentage of someone’s time if you are using a manual system. This can involve quoting and invoicing for jobs, but also the upkeep of vehicle records, procuring new vehicles, identifying and dispatching drivers, expense management and communication. Depending on the nature of the business, this can be a full-time job and a key area where resources can be wasted.
Maintenance is one the most important factors in saving costs
Poor maintenance practices can be the source of unexpected breakdowns which can cause the organisation lost business or contribute to a poor reputation. Unplanned maintenance can also bring unforeseen costs which haven’t been budgeted for, and at the very least can contribute to inefficient practices. Even not checking tyre pressures regularly can lead to poor fuel efficiency and mounting costs. A planned service and maintenance programme is the best way to go, with automated recall schedules. Many organisations have special fleet maintenance arrangements with service garages, but in between scheduled maintenance, you should train your employees to undertake routine basic tasks which lead to good practice and safe, efficient driving.
Fuel is wasted idling
You may find through your fleet management that some drivers waste fuel through inefficient practices, such as idling. This is where a vehicle’s engine is running and therefore fuel is being used but the vehicle isn’t moving. This can be for any number of reasons, but can often be avoided through instilling some discipline in drivers. The opposite is also true where drivers drive too fast. Software is now available that allows the fleet manager to monitor and identify where this is happening, and even if your organisation is not involved in logistics or delivery, this can be an area where you can save money.
Communication is key
Getting communication systems right is integral to good fleet management. In the worst case scenario you could be giving out or receiving the wrong information, there could be wasted time or incorrect deliveries as a result, leading to inefficiencies and loss of reputation. Using new digital technology you are able to open up two-way communications with a driver, which can simplify a workflow and enable you to stay connected wherever a driver is. This allows for better levels of communication and better reactions to any errors that may arise.
Vehicle tracking has revolutionised fleet management
Using GPS technology to track vehicles and provide live updates has enabled fleet managers to have complete transparency and increased control over their vehicles. It means you can manage jobs efficiently and react to changing circumstances such as breakdowns, accidents and congestion and amendments to delivery or meeting schedules. Vehicle tracking also allows you to monitor driver behaviour in terms of fuel efficiency and other work patterns, and you can also use it to improve communications with customers or your own staff in terms of relaying up-to-date information.
Fleet management is increasingly dependent on technology in order to establish and monitor key metrics, meaning you can manage resources better and provide a more professional employee and customer experience. These little known facts all benefit from new technologies which bring fleet management in line with other critical elements of the organisation and allow you to manage your vehicles with complete vision and better control.