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5 Things Successful Fleet Managers Never Do

Fleet Management Posted by Bill Womack, VP of Sales on March 30, 2015

In addition to developing good habits that ensure the safety of your workforce and promote efficiency, there are a few key things that successful fleet managers need to remember. Here are our top 5 things successful fleet managers should never do, and what you should do instead. Check_List-552150-edited

1. Let Fleet Maintenance Be Complicated

If you want your drivers to maintain their vehicles to get the most value out of each car or truck, you’ll need to make it easy for them to do so. A complicated method for maintaining vehicles will discourage drivers from taking proper care of their vehicle.

What should you do?

Not only will you need to make taking vehicles for maintenance as effortless as possible, you’ll want to have helpful reminders in place as well. Whether you go about with simple email reminders or notes, or you choose automated reminders and text updates, you’ll want to have a plan in place. When it comes to setting up the actual maintenance, outsourcing your fleet maintenance may be the way to go. Fleet management companies can provide lower labor and parts costs due to vendor relationships and their volume of business. A Fleet management company will also work on your behalf to complete warranty claims and secure manufacturer goodwill repairs at the end of your warranty period.

2. Disregard Setting Guidelines for Vehicle Purchasing

When you purchase a vehicle, or fleet of vehicles, the cost obviously doesn’t stop there. Costs including fuel, vehicle depreciation, and maintenance will be present throughout the life cycle of your vehicles. However, without consistent guidelines present, sometimes vehicles will be purchased as needed and only kept for a short amount of time to fulfill the immediate need. This can add unnecessary expense to your fleet. 

What should you do?

The best way to go about purchasing vehicles is with plenty of insight into the type of vehicle you need and what it will be used for. In addition, leasing or bulk purchasing may be a much better route than getting vehicles on an as-needed basis. Finally, you’ll want to consider when the right time is to buy and sell these vehicles to get the best value possible. A fleet management company can be a huge help here as well. Defining the life cycle of your fleet of vehicles and helping you plan for the life of your vehicle is one of the key benefits using of a fleet management company.

3. Only React to Safety Hazards

By only taking a reactive approach to safety you place a lot of risk on your company and employees. If you choose not to properly educate your drivers about safety or equip them with safe vehicles and procedures, your company could be held liable in the case of an accident. A proactive approach could save you and your drivers from an expensive lawsuit, a collection of tickets and violations, an injured driver or a damaged vehicle.

What should you do?

Taking a proactive approach to safety includes many aspects such as driver education, adding safety devices or technology to vehicles, proper tracking of fuel cards, setting clear rules for drivers and more. There are so many distractions and safety hazards facing your drivers that anything you can do to protect them is beneficial. If you can plan for potential risks you’ll also make your drivers feel more comfortable about their safety. While the cost of adding a hands-free device or Bluetooth software may be somewhat costly upfront, it will pay off in the long run. Just remember, in most cases the alternative would be much more expensive. Human_Rescources-230269-edited

4. Set Vague, Unclear, or No Expectations for Fleet Drivers 

Your drivers should always be responsible for maintaining a performance standard. Whether this involves keeping up to date with vehicle inspections, driving in a fuel-efficient manor, or something else, you’ll want to encourage your drivers to develop good driving habits. However, you need to set clear expectations and develop a policy.

What should you do?

In addition, it’s not enough to simply have a clear policy. You also need to strictly enforce this policy. You can incentivize drivers who do an exceptional job but you’ll also want to have clear consequences for those who don’t follow the policy. Not only will holding drivers responsible offer potential fuel savings and prolong the life of your vehicles, it will also keep your drivers safer on the road. Finally, having a policy that is not enforced would not protect you in the event of an accident or lawsuit. 

5. Only Measure the Minimum and Miss the Important Stuff

Proper data is fundamental for successful fleet management. However, it’s not enough to just track the absolute basics. You need the right data and it needs to be specific or you could miss something vital to your fleet’s operation. 

What should you do?

Not only will specific, relevant data help you avoid potential issues, it will also show you areas where you can make improvements. In addition, you can reward drivers for good behavior by seeing what areas are performing well.

Some example metrics that may be worth tracking:
-Cost Per Mile
-Depreciation
-Accident Rate
-Fuel Efficiency


You’ll have to take time or work with a fleet management company to set goals and figure out what metrics are best to measure for your specific fleet. Acquiring some data may require some prior set up such as getting Level III fuel cards for your drivers. Level III fuel cards can track a lot of things that a simple credit card cannot. Plus, they’ll help you protect the cards from misuse, fraud and theft.

Bonus:

Don’t forget to document and organize this and other important information! There are so many resources out there for documenting information and storing it - there’s really no excuse to not document everything at this point. Be sure to keep and organize invoices, receipts, employee records, manuals, and more in one easily accessible location. Files and drawers full of papers are not only a pain but they’re just not necessary anymore.

Looking for other resources that great fleet managers use?

Participate in the community by joining an association in the industry. It also helps to subscribe to helpful blogs and trade publications, keep up with vehicle news, and attend webinars and events. Hint: subscribing to our blog is a great place to start!

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