The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fleet Managers

Posted by Reza Tavassoli on 6-Jun-2019 7:37:00 AM
Reza Tavassoli

The business world was rocked when Stephen R. Covey, the author of the best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change,” said, “ineffective people live day after day with unused potential.” Industry leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs everywhere quickly realized he wasn’t only talking about people, he was also describing the primary factors limiting a company’s growth.

For fleet managers overseeing complex fleet operations daily, this is even more the case, especially when one considers their potential includes all their company's assets as well as their own abilities. The unused potential to manage your fleet more effectively while growing your bottom line is massive and with the help of our customers, Coencorp has identified a number of habits that are practiced by highly effective fleet managers. These best practices, when applied diligently, can help you optimize your workforce productivity and improve your bottom line. Taking lessons from leading fleet management system (FMS) customers around the world and notable fleet professionals, we have compiled a list of straightforward principles that will not only improve your fleet operations, but will also make your fleet manager a lot more effective in the process.

Act Don't React - Plan Ahead on Your Driver's Safety

With so many distractions and safety hazards forConference Room Strategy-AdobeStock_104691994 your drivers, it is always a good idea to get ahead of any potential problems. Make sure your Preventive Maintenance (PM) program is integrated into your FMS, so you can prevent as many incidents as possible. If you neglect your PM and wait for an accident or near miss, then your company and employees may face greater costs in shut downs, overtime repairs, medical expenses, as well as legal and insurance expenses. Consider this before deciding that the cost of hands-free devices, driver behaviour monitoring equipment, or a vehicle data unit (VDU) seems unnecessary, because the alternative is always going to be more expensive. Be proactive by understanding what your drivers are doing with a fully integrated FMS system and peripherals that allow you to get a clear picture of what’s going on. 

Managing Vehicle Maintenance Should Be Easy and Accessible

People inheMechanic Working On Bus-AdobeStock_120254294-SMALLrently look for the easy road. If you want your drivers to maintain routine vehicle service and maintenance, you need to make the scheduling and reporting of Preventive Maintenance (PM) as effortless as possible. We’ve seen all forms of office boards and lots of paper trails used to keep fleets on schedule, but the times are changing. Cloud-based fleet management software with mobile accessibility and automated features such as engine warnings and service reminders are now the key to a successful vehicle maintenance program. Simplify your fleet management by making it mobile, automated and accessible to those who need it on your team. 

Set Your Criteria for Optimal Vehicle Purchasing and Disposal

Trackable criteria is key. Without clearly defined guidelines, varying departments and locations may buy vehicles subjectively and keep them for as long as they see fit. Without volume purchasing and insight into the right time/mileage for selling vehicles, your company could be leaving money on the table. Take the time to spec out vehicle options to meet the requirements of your fleet and put a purchasing plan in place. These specs may change over time as more efficient vehicles become available, but having easy access to the usage models in your FMS will make the plan more efficient and help you optimize vehicle replacement. old truck

INVOLVE YOUR DRIVERS IN OPTIMIZING THEIR PERFORMANCE BY SETTING GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS. 

Some of our customers regularly share detailed data collected in the FMS with their drivers to incentivize them for doing a good job. The drivers see what the fleet manager sees and are empowered to change their habits to achieve higher fuel efficiency, perform regular PM on time, or improve driving performance. This may not work for everyone. However, holding your drivers to a clearly demonstrated performance standard will make your fleet more efficient. Fuel savings from better driving habits and properly running vehicles really add up across an entire fleet. With driver behaviour monitoring, it’s even easier to promote safe driving habits and implement targeted training cost effectively. Create actionable goals for your drivers to inspire safer, more responsible driving habits.

Collect Accurate data on Everything that Matters

Executive Managing Fleet-AdobeStock_209992926

Metrics are important and can help monitor progress, but they can slow down your decision-making if they aren’t measuring exactly what you need. To be on top of your fleet operations, you need to define what you need, measure it accurately, and have it displayed clearly for easy access during reporting. Moreover, you can’t effectively improve upon operations when you don’t have a clear picture of what’s wrong or right. In other words, monitor and measure specific data that directly impacts your fleet. The most common metrics according to our customers are the ones that give solid insight into vehicle performance and fleet performance overall. They include fuel costs, mileage, load weights, fluid usage, and idle times.

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING DIGITALLY AND AUTOMATICALLY

Instant, 24/7 access to your files and operations history is easy and safe with a cloud-based FMS. There are no excuses for not knowing where your fleet information is stored. Move your fleet documents to the cloud and find your fleet information instantly. Invoices, work orders, receipts, accident reports, photos, vehicle records, and more can be kept in one central digital location, accessed from any mobile device, and reviewed on a user-friendly dashboard. Welcome to the modern era of fleet management.

STAY INFORMED OF INDUSTRY ADVANCES AND PLAN FOR ADOPTION

Fleets are constantly evolving. It’s imperative to keep up! Join industry associations, read trade publications, follow blogs (like this one), and consider plugging to more professional-oriented social media feeds like LinkedIn to stay on top of what is happening in fleet technology.

As You Read Up on New Technology, Don't Be Afraid to Ask About It

Our team has enjoyed seeing SM2 users grow their operations with the integration of new technologies and best practices. Alternative fuels are a reality that may be cost-effective for your current fleet, but the possibilities don’t stop there. With electric vehicles and the possibility of automated fleets, the time to understand what behaviours a fleet exhiPeople Feedback-AdobeStock_193622020bit is now more important than ever. The same goes for data collection technology where if you have accurate data for your vehicles, you can make educated decisions about return on investments. In this age of business intelligence (BI), everything you need to be a fleet management expert is right at your fingertips, especially if you have taken advantage of the availability of an adaptable, automated, and fully integrated FMS.  

What are your keys to success in fleet management? Leave a comment on this post.

Topics: fleet fuel management, fleet maintenance, preventative maintenance, fleet management, driver behaviour, vehicle tracking, real-time data