How to Avoid the Worst Fleet Management Mistakes

Posted by Reza Tavassoli on May 30, 2019, 7:28:00 a.m.
Reza Tavassoli

Being a fleet manager has its unique challenges.

There is a multitude of interconnected considerations for them to juggle, from fuel consumption to vehicle maintenance, and from new technology implementation to driver performance. Most importantly, industries that are reliant on mobile assets are always evolving with the regular appearance of new practices, legislation, and technologies. While there is a host of strategies and methods used by fleet managers and decision makers, only the successful ones consistently avoid making these fleet management mistakes…

"Can You Hear Me Now?"

It may be near-impossible to think of a role or industry in which poor communication isn’t a problem. However, it’s fundamentally fatal in fleet management. Because there are so many interrelated practices and targets to coordinate for the profitable and efficient operations of any fleet, it’s crucial that managers clearly, quickly, and consistently communicate with their operators and drivers. It’s not only their task to provide detailed instructions and to explain procedures, but also to provide their teams with the means for communicating within the company. It must go beyond keeping a journal and be centralized in a user-friendly dashboard.Cans with Broken Strfing-AdobeStock_58590728

Are your instructions concise and are you giving your staff the means to raise pertinent questions and/or make effective suggestions? Having accurate information provides the ability to address specific challenges and open focused dialogues toward faster solutions. Having the right tool to hold all these details is crucial for this to succeed. A fully integrated fleet management system, or SM2 FMS, becomes the key to this success.

The Times they are a changin'

All industries change over time, and the fleet manager’s job seems to be in a constant state of rapid evolution. Because of how widely diverse the operational conditions can be, there’s always something changing and/or in development, such as labour and consumables costs, legislation concerning driver and equipment safety, or integration of automated and mobile technologies. A great fleet manager always keeps on top of these changes and plans his future strategy proactively. An upcoming example of this is the UK government’s desire to phase out diesel and gas vehicles by 2040.Typewriter to LAptop-AdobeStock_107564662

Even if you’re years away from deploying electric vehicles, you should know what to do when you are left with no option but to use them. A strong FMS will provide you with the needed components for an efficient preventive maintenance program. It will help you extend the life of your vehicles and allow you to determine the right time for their optimal resale value. An adaptable FMS will have already incorporated the possibility of tracking alternate fuels, including electricity. You’ll be ahead of the game and that is the competitive advantage that distinguishes business success from business extinction.

“I Didn’t know"

There can be various causes leading to employee under-performance, and drivers or asset operators are equally susceptible to them. If they’re not following current standards, the first priority would be to provide the specific training to address this knowledge gap. A great fleet manager builds good drivers and performers in their staff, but not by imposing penalties for poor performance when additional training can offer opportunity for growth and advancement instead. They operate with the mindset that every employee is an investment and the fleet (and business as a whole) will get out what it puts into them.Mechanic Training-AdobeStock_210180105
 
Training can raise morale, incentivize performance, and offer opportunities for growth and self-improvement, but how does the fleet manager recognize where there is need for it? The preventive maintenance module of a fully integrated FMS can give them notifications from the manufactures on equipment recalls and upgrades, but what about the driver with poor driving habits? Peripheral devices that are often part of a good FMS can offer real-time feedback on how the vehicle and driver are performing. This not only allows the fleet manager to plan effective training where needed, but also to relay immediate corrections to the driver that also acts as on-the-spot training.

Neglecting Maintenance 

This is possibly the riskiest mistake a fleet manager can make, but is it a sign of incompetence or an indication that they don’t have the right tool for the job?Truck Breakdown-AdobeStock_116547459

In the case of ignoring maintenance, it’s usually a short-term attempt to save money or downtime, but it usually ends up spending more of both in emergency overtime labour and expensive insurance or legal issues. Poorly maintained vehicles break down, endanger drivers and members of the public and cause anxiety and frustration among all involved. Fleet vehicles must be regularly serviced and inspected to ensure optimal performance. In the case where neglect isn’t by choice, then the solution is simple and should already be fully integrated in the FMS they are using, within the preventive maintenance module. This can show notifications of when to get regularly recommended maintenance done, and with certain mobile peripherals the fleet manager can also get real-time data on the functionality of the equipment.

There’s Always a Solution

SM2 services over 500,000 vehicles worldwide, across a range of industries. Coencorp’s professional and eager support team is always ready to answer your questions and find solutions to your fleet management needs. SM2 is a fully integrated and adaptable fleet management system, built to address your unique challenges and geared to helping you grow your business. Contact us with any questions and for more information. 

Topics: fleet fuel management, fleet maintenance, fleet management, driver behaviour, vehicle tracking