If your business needs company vehicles in order to distribute and grow then before long you will find yourself managing a vehicle fleet. The successful management of a fleet can make a big difference to the efficiency of your team and the bottom line of your business. Incorrect management of your fleet could result in damage to your business and the loss of some very valuable assets. So how can you drive your business forward and successfully manage a growing fleet of vehicles?
Safety Always Comes First
Whether you have one driver or a hundred it’s vital that their safety and that of other road users comes first so be sure to properly vet your drivers to ensure they don’t have any prior driving convictions and are properly licensed and trained to operate the vehicle they will be using. Get ahead of any potential safety issues by ensuring your fleet is supplied with necessary safety materials and equipment such as hands free devices to make sure that their focus is solely on the road. Some managers also like to install driver behaviour monitoring devices or in cab cameras to ensure their drivers are acting responsibly.
Record Who Is Using Which Vehicle
Keeping track of who is using which vehicle and at what time is one of the most basic aspects of fleet management. If you have a small fleet this could be done via a log book in which the driver signs their name, the time they take the vehicle and the time they return it. You should also include the mileage at the beginning and end of the shift and have the driver do a vehicle condition assessment before and after to keep track of any issues. As your fleet grows you may want to look into a digital solution to record vehicle usage and condition and you could even put GPS tracking in the vehicle to monitor the drivers journeys.
Stay on Top of Vehicle Maintenance
Properly maintaining your vehicle fleet is very important to avoid costly repairs and potential safety issues. Make vehicle maintenance routine to avoid them being skipped or missed and try to make maintenance reporting as quick and easy as possible to encourage your drivers to do it. If your fleet needs help with maintenance reminders then consider looking into a cloud based fleet management software with built in service and maintenance reminders. Also consider offering reward incentives for drivers who consistently fill out their maintenance reports.
Keep Records of Everything
Metrics are important, so try to keep records of everything that matters, this will vary from fleet to fleet but as a general rule tracking mileage, fuel efficiency, service history and vehicle condition is a good place to start in order to build up some data that will help you with your vehicle purchasing decisions in the future. If you are a small fleet you may get away with recording things on paper but over time and as you grow you will find it much easier to record everything digitally and so it may be worth starting with digital in the first place to simplify your business and avoid having to transfer this data over.
Manage the Fuel of Your Fleet
Fueling your vehicles will likely be one of the more costly aspects of running your fleet so it’s vital that you stay on top of how much this is costing your business and what your drivers are spending on fuel each month. One easy way to do this is with a fleet fuel card such as Watchcard, which can restrict purchases to fuel and track where each driver fills up – you can find out more about Watchcard at watchcard.com. Monitoring the fuel efficiency of your drivers is another way to ensure you aren’t digging into your bottom line, try offering incentives for achieving higher fuel efficiency to get your drivers on board and help them work towards saving you money.
Stay Ahead of the Game and Constantly Educate Yourself
The vehicle industry is constantly evolving and staying on top of the latest technology and any new best practice can help to ensure that you are running at maximum efficiency. New technologies that monitor driver and vehicle performance are coming out all the time and new more environmentally friendly fuel options could be the future of transportation in the near future. To ensure you don’t get left behind try to stay in touch with the fleet industry by attending trade shows and events and reading trade publications.