March 16, 2020
Fleet managers challenge themselves each day. Acting as the go-between for suppliers, drivers, and technicians is just the start of your position’s responsibilities. Here we try to give you some solutions beyond the fleet management software. Take the next step to increase your business’s fleet utilization and profitability with these tips.
Keeping up with the latest changes in the industry is a critical part of being a fleet manager. Be flexible in your business model and stay informed. Give your business the vision it needs, stay informed on the latest trends by reading news in your industry. News sources such as FreightWaves, Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine, and Transport Topics are great ones to read regularly. Rising fuel prices, the labor market, and environmental legislation are some of the top day-to-day concerns to pay attention to.
Problems of fleet utilization are far more common than they should be with today’s technology. What works for your fleet today may not work tomorrow. Adapt to an industry that is constantly changing, use fleet management software for tracking vehicles and evaluating their utilization. And, modernize your business to face transportation costs. Businesses like Britt’s Home Furnishings have been able to grow by flexing their idle fleet with COOP by Ryder. You too could improve utilization and offset costs by listing vehicles for rent on the platform.
When loads need to be hauled, there is a right vehicle for the job and more than a few wrong ones. The wrong vehicle for the job may sit idle in the lot more than it is on the road. Even though the price may seem right, developments in the commercial vehicle industry may change the size and scope of your business down-the-road. Be sure that the vehicle you choose is the right one before you invest.
Do your research and bring in outside help, if need be. High-level strategy should include enough supply and demand to pay profits on investments over time. Avoid adding needless equipment that can bring problems in the future, if you buy without a market’s demand you may have to watch a vehicle sit when you could have one out on the road. Be accurate in what you add to the fleet and see the rewards. Renting with COOP is a great way to test if a vehicle could be the right fit for your business.
The things gone unfixed today could be tomorrow’s headache. A huge, and common, mistake of fleet managers is to put off vehicle maintenance to save money in the short term. Breakdowns will cost a lot more money in the long run. Not to mention the the safety of the drivers could be seriously compromised. A preventive maintenance schedule should be implemented, and then reviewed for effectiveness regularly.
Pressure to increase productivity and deadlines could lead to bad decisions to send maintenance-overdue vehicles out. Certain telematic scheduling tools are out there, but there is more you can do to be sure poor vehicle service doesn’t hurt your business. Talk to your drivers and be proactive about investigating issues that may arise outside of the maintenance schedule. Be sure that the utility of a vehicle matches its maintenance schedule, and consider using other vehicles when certain ones are being over-utilized.
As a fleet manager, you’re the decision maker who takes responsibility for the fleet so you can see the business grow. If you’re willing to adapt you can make a large impact, and prepare your businesses to meet the challenges ahead. We hope these fleet management tips help you maximize your utilization.