Managing a fleet is a full-time affair. And while you probably got some training when you first took the job, it’s imperative that you continually reevaluate your processes to ensure you’re doing everything possible to promote efficiency at every stage.
4 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
Fleet management is a grind. It can feel like you’re constantly taking two steps forward and one step back. Parts deteriorate, systems break down, drivers make mistakes, and costs increase. It’s an uphill battle that’s hard to win.
But do you want to know the truth? Some fleet management programs are highly successful, while others fail. And the margin between the two is slimmer than you might think. In the end, the successful ones typically avoid making critical mistakes.
If you want your fleet management to be cost-effective and successful, it starts with avoiding the following mistakes:
- Developing Non-Measurable Strategies
It’s one thing to create a plan. It’s another thing to implement a strategy that works. And one fundamental difference between theoretical plans and successful strategies is found in their measurability.
Non-measurable strategies are destined to fail from the very start. They might look good on paper, but there’s no way to know if they’re actually succeeding.
Mistakes go undetected and are often compounded when there’s no accurate feedback loop in place. This leads to serious issues, waste, and high turnover throughout the department.
The best way to propel your fleet management strategy forward is to create measurable strategies with specific key performance indicators (KPIs) attached to documented goals. This will help you make intelligent business decisions in real-time.
- Trying to Do Everything Manually
Deep down, we all feel like we’re able to do it “better.” As a fleet manager, there’s a certain level of responsibility and authority built into you. But trying to manage your entire fleet using manual processes is a major mistake. Sometimes it’s better to automate certain aspects.
The easiest way to streamline your fleet maintenance is by using fleet maintenance software. You’ll find it’s able to automate hundreds of small tasks and provide real-time visibility for the entire team (which cuts costs and promotes greater efficiency throughout the entire department).
- Not Holding Drivers Accountable
Drivers must be trained to take fuel efficiency seriously. One of the most effective ways to do this is by discouraging aggressive driving behaviors. Instead, train them to embrace smart driving habits like less frequent acceleration, strict adherence to the speed limit, reducing idling, smooth braking, and efficient shifting techniques.
Launching a driver training program could improve fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent, which could save you thousands of dollars per month. Additionally, you may want to include some sort of driver monitoring system in your vehicles (if you haven’t already).
- Under- or Over-Using Vehicles
One of the biggest challenges with managing a large fleet is figuring out how to properly modulate the number of vehicles you keep in your fleet. Because unless you’re properly dialed in, you’re most likely hemorrhaging money. It doesn’t matter if you’re under-using or over-using your vehicles – it’s expensive.
Under-using vehicles costs you in terms of unnecessary maintenance. The latest research indicates that the average total cost of ownership for a light-duty vehicle is in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $8,000 per vehicle, per year. That means having even just ten extra vehicles could cost you between $50,000 to $80,000 per year. (You can do the math for larger fleets.)
Over-using vehicles is costly, as well. The average marginal cost per mile for operating vehicles is somewhere around $1.65. That means 5,000 extra miles per month could be costing you an additional $100,000 per year.
The key is to find the sweet spot. You need the right number of vehicles driving the right number of miles. The only way to find the sweet spot is to religiously track the data over time.
Keep Your Fleet Management Program on Track
Developing an efficient and cost-effective fleet management program is not rocket science. It does, however, require an intentional strategy. Do your best to plan ahead and put proactive processes into place. And, above all else, make sure you avoid making the aforementioned mistakes.