The fleet manager has grown to become one of the most important roles in an organisation, particularly in relation to managing costs, efficiencies and personnel. The role has become extremely complex too, but in 2020 there has never been more technology and associated resources available to help the fleet manager. These can help you with managing operational efficiencies, organising personnel and workflow and finding the right vehicles for your fleet.
A good fleet management provider has good access to this technology as a means of measuring the business, and of course you also need a good source of reliable vehicles and associated finance and service/maintenance packages. Making good use of these resources are critical to being a successful fleet manager in 2020, but there are six key factors that you also need to be aware of and adopt in order to meet your 2020 targets.
Set achievable goals
To meet those targets you have to first set your targets. Fleet management is one role in an organisation where there are many measurable parameters and it is vital that you monitor progress in several different areas, such as fuel usage, lead times, delivery time accuracy and vehicle age and efficiencies. There are a number of targets and objectives that you can set and to be a successful fleet management provider you need to surround yourself with the means to be able to accurately measure these. But these need to be realistic and measurable targets. Only then can you monitor progress meaningfully and strive for continuous improvement. Being target-orientated is a major characteristic of a good fleet manager.
Be a good communicator
Communication at various different levels is important if you are to be a successful fleet management provider. This can be communication out into the field, communication to other levels of management and communication with customers. All require different skills but are equally important. You need to know where vehicles are at all times, you need to be able to report changes to work plans or meetings or locations, and you need to respond to management requests for delivery information, as well as the many metrics you control such as fuel and vehicle usage. This all requires different forms of communication such as radio or phone communication with drivers, emails, job scheduling systems or management reports.
Managing your time
A major skill in fleet management is being able to balance a number of different tasks, and being able to prioritise when many things are happening at the same time. This means balancing tasks, people and vehicles. In essence, your fleet are relying on you and efficiencies are critical. A lot of this may become routine, but you will be well aware that many things can change, and so you need to be able to prioritise these factors when that happens. You can’t afford to waste time or fuel on people waiting for information, so time management is integral to the whole system working, or you will soon find that the system can come crashing down and your KPIs won’t be looking too good.
As mentioned above, things can change very quickly during the working day but what remains is your fleet relying on you to make strong, trusted decisions to keep the system working. Of course you need to be flexible to adopt and manage these changes, but you also need to be dependable and reliable. Changes can come in products being delivered, routes due to traffic congestion or breakdowns, meeting times, meeting locations, fleet personnel and the information provided by technology. This all needs managing, but ultimately, you need to make fact-based decisions based on the resources you have.
Any successful fleet manager will be aware of the need to keep moving and not stand still. This is particularly relevant in the field of technology and the resources available, and indeed in the quality of vehicles available and finance packages you can find to pay for them. Where time is money there is always new technology available to help you cut costs and get information quicker. Fleet management is a dynamic business and you have to be continually looking ahead to stay successful.
A people person
Whilst a lot of fleet management is about using technology and managing vehicles, ultimately you are working and controlling people, so of all the above factors listed, ‘communication’ is perhaps the most important. For a fleet management provider this means you need to be people-orientated and receptive to how all sorts of different people behave. You need to be strong and decisive at the right time, but also you need to get on with people. Sometimes you might be communicating a dramatic change to someone’s day and you need to be sure that they will be receptive to this. Being a people person is crucial, and this particularly applies when you are needing to remain strong but co-operative under pressure. Ultimately, you are a lifeline to your fleet and a key part of the business, so you need to be affable and approachable but strong and authoritative also, and if you want to be a successful fleet management provider in 2020, this is a balance you need to find.