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The job of fleet manager can be extremely demanding. It requires you to be dialed in and focused around the clock; and ready to put out whatever fires have ignited throughout the week.
But it can also be extremely rewarding. Fleet management can provide a fast track toward even bigger and better opportunities within an organization that’s growing.
To be the best you can be — and maximize ROI for your organization — it’s imperative not to just wait for things to come to you. You ought to be as proactive as you can possibly be.
The Importance of Being Proactive
Fleet management routinely entails some fairly sizable challenges that must be tackled head-on. These issues can vary, depending on such factors as the size and type of fleet, the industry in which it operates, and specific company objectives.
Some challenges are fairly universal, however. They include:
- Maintenance Costs: Maintenance will constitute a significant portion of any fleet’s operating budget. Unanticipated repairs can be especially costly. This is due not just to the expense of the repairs themselves, but the resulting vehicle downtime as well. As you know, when a vehicle is out of commission, this causes other delays and an almost inevitable negative impact on revenue.
- Fuel Efficiency: Fuel costs are another major expense for any fleet. Maximizing fuel efficiency can lead to significant cost savings. The more proactive you can be in this area, the greater the chances your company can reduce costs.
- Safety: Guaranteeing the safety of drivers should be a top priority for fleet managers. Collisions can result in costly insurance claims, legal snarls, and potential damage to the company’s reputation. Another concern is the potential for cyber attacks and other types of digital crime.
The problem with the traditional approach to fleet management is that too many managers wait for problems in these areas to surface before they act. But by the time you react to an issue, the situation will probably have snowballed into an unpleasant mess that (sometimes) can’t be reversed.
That’s why we recommend being proactive. Bold and dynamic management that takes the initiative can significantly improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and longevity of your fleet.
It also makes you look like a more competent manager who is capable of being trusted with additional responsibilities and management tasks.
Four Ways to be Proactive
Being proactive is clearly a good move, but where do you start? Here are some specific ideas that might get the wheels in your brain turning.
1. Invest in Fleet Management Software
A good fleet management and fleet maintenance software solution will do a lot for you. It can automate so many of the time-consuming facets of managing a fleet and avoids delays that so often occur when tasks are handed off.
2. Develop a Cybersecurity Strategy
Cybersecurity has become quite the buzzword in the past few years, but don’t let its pervasive presence in today’s business talk remove any of its importance. That’s the case even among fleet teams.
“In an era of data leaks, there’s never been a better moment to understand how to secure your personal, organizational, and customer data,” Cetaris explains. “While there is no silver bullet to avoid becoming the target of a cyber attack, there are many best practices to reduce your risk or lessen the impact of attacks that might occur.”
It’s crucial for the smart manager to spend time studying cybersecurity and/or bringing in an expert to help you tighten up your practices. As a general rule, you should have your team set stronger passwords, keep software up to date, back up all data like clockwork, set tight restrictions on accounts, and don’t share or use devices outside of work tasks.
3. Conduct Regular Fleet Maintenance
This should go without saying, but preventive maintenance is another must. Know your vehicles, communicate with your drivers, and set up automated maintenance schedules that address problem parts before they break down and cause more expensive repairs. If you can conduct regular preventive maintenance in-house, you’re likely to save some major money and generate greater profitability.
4. Implement Green Fleet Initiatives
More and more firms are recognizing the importance of sustainability. Adopting green practices in fleet management can not only reduce your fleet’s impact on the environment but can also result in cost savings over time. This might include the acquisition of electric or hybrid vehicles, reducing vehicle idling times, optimizing routes to reduce mileage, and even investing in carbon offset programs.
Adding it All Up
There is no easy, magic button that you can press to make all your fleet management problems disappear. But we hope this article has shown you there are several proactive steps your company may take to mitigate problems and neutralize key challenges that so often hold other firms back from experiencing the kind of ROI they need or desire.