What Is Fleet Management? Everything You Need to Know

January 15, 2021 Published by

Fleet managers use fleet management tools to keep track of the operations. If fleet management is done appropriately, it enables accurate reporting. But fleet management is not easy. Most organizations require assistance to keep things running smoothly.

What Is Fleet Management?

Fleet management is the process of ensuring commercial vehicles function appropriately. In most cases, it involves the control of the following:

  • Rail cars
  • Commercial motor vehicles
  • Aviation machinery
  • Non- powered assets
  • Ships

The primary purpose of fleet management is to ensure proper performance and keep in check operations. As a result, there is improved efficiency and reduced costs across the company’s operations. Fleet management is usually under the control of a manager.

What Does a Fleet Manager Do?

The following are some of the typical responsibilities of a manager:

Ensuring the Driver’s Safety

A fleet manager has the role of ensuring the safety of the company’s drivers. They can do it by encouraging safe driving, whereby they reward safe driving practices. Moreover, the manager can ensure their drivers’ safety by ensuring they coach and train the drivers on accurate safety measures while on the road. More importantly, it’s the manager’s role to ensure all the vehicles are in the right conditions to mitigate accidents.

Fleet Tracking

For a manager to ensure that both the driver and the company vehicles are safe, they need to know where they are throughout.  Tracking using calls is not easy. It’s risky because the driver should not pick up a call when on the road. The only effective method managers use to keep track of their drivers is using GPS technology. We highly recommend a GPS tracking system because it’s an easy way to increase the entire team’s visibility and ensure the vehicles are safe at any given time.

Fleet-Tracking-System

Ensuring the Fleet Complies to Electronic Logging Device

The Electronic Logging Device mandate has been operational since 2017. It requires all commercial vehicles to keep electronic records of hours of service. This mandate was implemented to replace the manual paper logging. Its implementation aims to lower the number of accidents and dangerous driving accidents caused by fatigued drivers. The manager should have proper records as proof they are ELD compliant. In these records, they should ensure they have recorded accurate drive times for their drivers.

Reduce Necessary Fleet Expense

Fleet managers have a role in ensuring that they reduce unnecessary expenses. They can do it by lowering operating costs or ensuring proper fuel management. Reduction of unnecessary expenditures makes the operation efficient as well as cost-friendly. The fact is maintenance, operation, and fuel costs often add up quickly. It happens whether there are instant fuel costs, fluctuating fuel prices, or if the company has engaged a tracking company. In any case, the manager has a role in minimizing the company costs by coming up with effective cost-saving solutions. Ultimately, this will improve the organization’s productivity. 

Ensure the Company Has Enough Vehicles

To effectively manage a team, a manager should ensure that the organization has enough vehicles to function appropriately. Well, this might seem like an easy decision to purchase a vehicle suitable for a particular function whenever the need arises, but it is not that easy. We recommend managers to have a strategy to guide them on when to purchase or lease a new car. When making new purchases, managers should not only focus on the function of the vehicle. They should also consider the purchasing cost, maintenance cost, and depreciation.

What Constraints Do Fleet Managers Face?

A fleet manager’s job is not a walk in the park.  It’s a job faced with numerous challenges. Here are some of the most common:

Fluctuating Fuel Price

The rise in fuel costs has been a significant challenge faced by fleets over the years. The challenge is a frustrating one because it is beyond the manager’s control. Considering that they should be in charge of cost reduction, they are left with a demanding role to keep the team moving and at the same time maintain low costs with high fuel prices.

In these conditions, an effective manager has to evaluate which fuel option is best for the team. If diesel is cheaper than petrol, they should source vehicles that use diesel. Additionally, managers can keep fuel prices intact by purchasing fewer fuel-consuming cars, such as hybrid vehicle options when applicable. It is also a good idea for a manager to choose a suitable fuel card for their team that is likely to have discounted prices.  All in all, the manager should ensure that they have traceable fuel purchase records to keep untrustworthy drivers in check.

fuel-consumption

Ensuring Proper Vehicle Maintenance

Improper vehicle maintenance can result in the downfall of the entire organization. It is up to the manager to ensure that all the cars are in good condition and have complied with all the legal rules. Ensuring that all vehicles are kept in check is not easy, especially when the organization has many cars. Nevertheless, the manager needs to have a proper maintenance program that ensures both unscheduled and scheduled maintenance gets observed. Maintenance is essential since it provides a chance for vehicles to go for checkups. Those vehicles with defects are rectified during such visits before they worsen to significant issues or cause accidents.

Taking Care of the Drivers Safety and Health

As highlighted earlier, a manager has a role in ensuring proper safety policies to keep the drivers safe. Well, it is not easy to ensure all the drivers are taking precautions when driving. Moreover, a manager usually has a hard time in case an unfortunate incident like an accident occurs. 
The manager will have to take care of the robust accident reporting procedures. The procedures will include following up with law enforcement, especially in case of injuries. It will also involve following up with the insurance companies to handle both claims and repairs effectively. For easy management, a manager should use

GPS tools to keep tabs on drivers’ activities.

Ensuring the Company Has Met the Compliance Recruitments
There are numerous compliance requirements that a manager should ensure are updated and up to date: driver checks, MOTs, inspection sheets, reporting, insurance, and defect reports. Risk and compliance management are essential roles of fleet management that should be carried out and documented. It is challenging to keep all the compliance documents updates. But because they are necessary, especially for auditing purposes and more straightforward investigations in case of an accident, they should be updated.

In current times, vehicle legislation keeps changing, especially with introducing the WLTP vehicle testing structure. A manager has to be conversant with the legislation changes and their effect on its operation.

Real-time Satellite Tracking - Monitor

Controlling Costs

One of the significant roles of fleet managers is to control and reduce costs. The manager has a role in analyzing their expenditure and coming up with a mechanism to reduce them. It is not easy to look for areas to reduce costs when the economy is fluctuating.  At times it will be hard to reduce vehicle purchase costs if the company requires more vehicles. Other times it will be hard to review the fuel costs if the fuel prices are high.

Distinguishing Between Useful and Useless Information

Fleet management involves reviewing a lot of data. Some of these data are useful, and some are not. It is up to the manager to go through the relevant data to identify what is useful and what can be disposed of. Reviewing the information can be time-consuming. In case a manager skims through to highlight only the valuable information, they risk missing out on vital and relevant information. 
The manager will also spend time and money to update the relevant information. In this case, a manager can use software to sort the necessary information and generate reports.

Meeting the Expanding Duties of a Fleet Manager

With expanding technology, the role of a manager is increasing. Today’s fleet manager should manage mobility and vehicles, which are an asset to the organization. Additionally, checking on the drivers’ responsibility and analyzing its impact on the business is also a manager’s role. This is evidence that a manager has so much on their plate. It is not easy to manage these duties and have time for their personal life. That’s why we encourage these managers to consider using software like GPS tracking to make their work easier.

Fleet management is necessary for organizations that have both small and gauge fleets.  Nevertheless, it is not an easy task to manage a team of vehicles. To make work easy most managers employ the use of modern technology software such as GPS tracking. With such software, management becomes more straightforward and efficient. Contact us if you require GPS tracking to enable you to have real-time visibility of your operation.

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