Fleet managers are always scrutinized for ways to cut costs. If for no other reason, fuel cost is under the microscope of COO’s and CFO’s as a primary savings solution. Add in vehicle wear and tear, replacement, and servicing and you can have a money pit if it’s not managed carefully. Here are five things that fleet managers will do to ensure their fleet is efficient and economically sound.
- Internalized Information. Fleet managers are inundated with information from their fleet. Fuel Purchases, GPS, RF tracking, maintenance schedules, and driver certification and licensing, are just a few areas to constantly keep tabs on. Add in the regulation to the industry and safety issues and now you have a recipe for disaster if not managed well. The key is not allowing these issues to overwhelm one person. Delegate employee matters to HR, and use advanced software management programs to balance your logistics.
- Communication with drivers, vendors, and suppliers. Most fleet managers rise from the lower levels of a company’s transportation department. They’re aware of the challenges out in the field and how to navigate costly mistakes. This is where experience is key and how you prove your worth to the company. Keeping up with daily issues faced by your drivers is paramount. Be open to new ways to communicate, by text, email, and instant messaging. This increases the likelihood that when a driver, vendor, or supplier needs to deliver a message to you, it’s received. Even after hours.
- Due Diligence. There’s an old saying in the military, ‘trust but verify’. Which is to say that not everyone you work with will be honest and forthright. New damage to a vehicle that goes unreported, gasoline purchases on a account that normally uses diesel, or a fake DOT medical certification could be some of the issues getting past you. To combat this, regularly audit your processes and let others know where you stand when it comes to dishonest and unethical practices. Remember, when others take advantage of your position, they lose respect for you, your job, and your loved ones who depend on you to earn a living.
- Connected within the industry. One of the best methods to become a better fleet manager is to get acquainted with trade associations, fleet seminars, and attend conferences tailored for fleet managers. Groups like the Rocky Mountain Fleet Management Association, the Municipal Fleet Management Association, and the Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association offer webinars, forums, and online certification programs to improve your understanding of the industry. With the advantage of membership, you’ll get connected with like-minded professionals, gain access to job opportunities, and learn of new and emerging technologies in the industry.
- Understanding fuel pricing. Most already are aware that Retail Plus and Cost Minus are the two pricing structures offered by most discount programs. Like most programs, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Be aware of introductory offers, minimum and maximum gallon ‘windows’, and hidden monthly fees. Most fleet fuel cards have sales departments who may not disclose all the details, so be certain to ask. It’s also important that not all discount or rebate programs are alike. Be wary of limited fuel networks or proprietary outlets where you can only receive your discount. Driving another five miles to reach that destination will cost you time and money that doesn’t often translate into savings.
How many of these are you incorporating into your business? Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments below!