What is fleet management?
Fleet management is the organisation and coordination of business vehicles. Effective fleet management can help eliminate the risks associated with the cost and efficiency of keeping business vehicles and commonly consists of tracking a vehicle’s mechanical information as well as monitoring driver behaviour.
The logistical reality of fleet management can vary depending on the size of a business and volume of business vehicles. Nevertheless, the principles and aims of managing a fleet remain largely the same.
3 ways to save on fleet management costs
- Keep a fleet log.
It is essential to keep on top of your fleet and keeping a log to detail important information about the condition of your business vehicles can allow you to get ahead of any potential risks to your vehicles’ performance, helping you save on maintenance costs. A quick and easy reference point for keeping MOT expiry dates and service history can also easily prevent you from missing important dates, reducing costly vehicle down-time.
- Know your cover.
Whether you have a fleet of 1 or a fleet of 100 it is important to ensure you are covered in the case of an accident or a breakdown. Whilst keeping on top of your vehicles health can help with maintenance costs, not all accidents or incidents can be pre-empted – knowing what level of breakdown cover or insurance your vehicles have can save your business on costly call out or repair charges.
- Build good relationships tradespeople.
It may often get overlooked when it comes to fleet management but building and maintaining good relationships with local MOT and service providers, or automotive garages and suppliers can help you keep your costs as low as possible as and when your vehicles do encounter any issues. The importance of a good relationship with local tradespeople should never be underestimated.
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Running an efficient fleet
Keeping a handle on activity and availability of your fleet is particularly important where you may have drivers on tight schedules with deadlines to meet.
Any uncertainty as to a vehicle’s location is a fleet manager’s nightmare and can be time consuming to get to the bottom of.
As well as logging basic information about each vehicles condition, telematics solutions can help provide additional information to guarantee your vehicles remain on the road as often as possible.
Monitoring data provided by a small black box can help you keep an eye on vehicle fault codes, amongst other things, which can help you proactively keep your vehicles in good health rather than waiting for something to go wrong before you can act.
In addition to fault code diagnostics, telematics can track locations too.
As a fleet manager the ability to track your vehicles whereabouts can help save on driver journey times and fuel consumption as you can efficiently communicate any traffic situations or other journey issues to your drivers in real-time.
Employer's duty of care
The duty of care a business has over its fleet drivers should be the highest priority for any fleet manager and it is important to address any safety concerns you may have about any of your drivers as quickly as possible.
Fleet managers can track driver behaviour given the right information, and although this can fetch a somewhat negative ‘big brother’ attitude among some fleet drivers it has a proven positive impact on driver safety and misdemeanours
*Based on research carried out by the RAC in 2017
As well as checking up on your fleet’s drivers, checking in with them is equally important.
Having strong communication between fleet managers and drivers is imperative when it comes to fulfilling an employer’s duty of care.
It’s important for a business’ drivers to feel they can report any safety or other concerns they may have and to feel comfortable that they will be dealt with as necessary.
Could your fleet management improve?
Striking up a balance between keeping your vehicles healthy and your drivers happy while keeping costs as low as possible is no mean feat.
Strong organisation is a fleet managers most valuable quality and it doesn’t always have to cost the business financially to implement useful fleet management practices.
Just keeping good up to date vehicle records and having strong manager-driver relationships can go a long way.
With the introduction of telematics solutions too, ensuring you have a well-oiled fleet management process can be much less of a headache than you may have thought.