Common Challenges Facing Today's Fleet Managers
When you are a fleet manager, you need to ensure things are running effectively. However, it is easy to get involved with other tasks that take your time but don't add much value. Understanding these challenges and what to do about them will help you better overcome them and make your company more efficient.
Avoiding Challenges by Using a Telematics Solution
You'll want to find a solution that meets your needs and is easy to scale. Once the company grows, you'll want to ensure you don't have to find another solution. The right software will improve operational efficiency and give you enough information to ensure things run smoothly. Try to find something that can integrate with your other solutions, ensuring you are reducing processes, not adding them. That way, there will be little to no disruption. To ensure you find the right solution for you, consider reviewing a guide on vehicle telematics from Samsara to maximize success.
Too Much Time for Admin Tasks
Any hours you spend doing things that don't add value is a drain on company resources. The additional time spent on admin tasks will quickly add up, limiting productivity. Invoicing and quoting can both reduce the hours you can spend on revenue-generating activities. These tasks are not essential business functions, so you'll want to try to move your focus to the things that most matter. You could consider moving more things to the computer, so you are not dealing with as much paper. Digital workflows let you cut down on the chances of human error while taking less time. You could consider automating communication or other things that you regularly do. For example, software solutions let you see how you are spending your hours, letting you bill better.
It is a good idea to digitize your tracking processes since that can save money. If you find a great telematics solution, you can use data to ensure you stay more productive, saving you time. Digitizing the workflow allows you to track and record data related to the fleet. It also limits manual, time-consuming tasks. Some software programs offer electronic logbooks and odometers for your vehicles. The features reduce admin tasks as well. When you have critical information, you can then lower the cost of owning each vehicle. For example, in the case of fuel consumption, you may use this data to find areas where your drivers are wasting fuel and time.
Rising Fuel Costs
Anyone who has a fleet knows that fuel can quickly add up. Many business owners feel that they spend more on fuel than necessary. The good news is that you can manage expenses relatively easily. Start by tracking your usage and find trends where you can reduce the amount you burn with each trip. For example, do your drivers use too much on each trip? Try to track the drivers' behavior, so you can determine where they may be wasting gas or diesel.
It is a great idea to eliminate idle time where possible. You might be surprised at how much gas or diesel one of your vehicles wastes by idling. When you add up the amount across all the vehicles in your organization, you might just be paying a lot more than you expect. And the price of oil is constantly fluctuating, meaning this is a very high cost that is often difficult to predict. If you have a fleet of even just 50 vehicles, you will find that idling leads to quite a bit of wasted money.
Reducing vehicle idling will help you conserve fuel, and it also reduces wear and tears on the engine. By keeping the engine in better condition, you can also reduce maintenance costs in the future. When you use the right digital software, you can then analyze your drivers' behavior and gain insights into the instances they are idle and how well the drivers are performing.
You'll also want to consider ways that you can encourage others to reduce their use of fuel. By doing so, you can often reduce the operating budget by a significant amount. If you create a fuel cost reduction program, you can check how much you are using and work to reduce that amount. Of course, you will need to implement it correctly in order for it to work. The best starting point is to create a written policy. It will define what your expectations are for your drivers, creating parameters about the right practices. You will want to ensure current and incoming drivers both understand it – you might consider going over it with them once a year. And you might also add tips for reducing the usage of fuel to driver training.
Higher Maintenance Costs
It is essential to maintain your vehicles well since they need to run smoothly to avoid breakdowns. Those can be expensive, and even something relatively minor, such as tire issues, can result in higher costs. The expenses could become overwhelming if you are trying to stay on top of things. One way to make things more manageable is to stay on top of the maintenance schedule. If you do not know when it is time to do routine maintenance, you could end up spending more than necessary. Instead, consider automating the process with a system that automatically sends you reminders. Those are often based on the vehicle's age, mileage, or other factors.
Meeting Delivery Deadlines
Field teams are not always able to follow schedules, causing a negative impact on customer relations. When delivery times are inaccurate, the company's reputation will suffer. Today's customers do not want rough guesses since they want to have a much more accurate time window when their items will arrive. By adapting to these expectations, you can stay ahead of the competition, and you'll be offering better customer service. It is critical to do so to ensure your business survives for many years to come. Instead of spending so many hours keeping your customers informed, you'll want to try to automate the process. That way, it will be more efficient.