Author: Jay Krishnan, VP Marketing, Automile
As a fleet leader, you were born to multi-task. One minute you’re busy juggling the needs of your vehicles and drivers, and the next you’re strategizing overall operational needs for the business. What does it take to make the most of your resources—checking off all of the items on your to-do list while staying productive, driving business value and catching the occasional breather? In case you’d like to know what other successful professionals in your position are doing, here are 10 suggestions based on the latest industry trends.
1. Stay Ahead of the Curve – Keep Learning
The industry is always changing in ways that can make a big impact on your fleet and your ability to manage it effectively. New technologies, environmental issues, and ever-present budgetary concerns are just a few of the factors driving innovation. Taking a proactive approach—reading blogs, attending seminars, and networking with other fleet management professionals—keeps you on top of the trends.
2. Leverage Technology
Your ticket to higher productivity on and off the road is technology. Do you need to streamline administrative workflow or automate vehicle mileage? When teching-up your practices and processes, identify what problems you’re trying to solve so you know where to look: from mobile apps and crash avoidance cameras to SaaS functionalities like geofencing, there are tech-infused solutions around every corner.
3. Tap Into the Power of Analytics
Use of data is becoming essential to fleet strategy. Consider how the right information about driver location and behavior, not to mention vehicle fuel consumption and performance can help you better manage your fleet’s productivity and even optimize your workflow. The improved connectivity of vehicle and driver devices and office technology—thanks largely to the capabilities of today’s SaaS solutions—gives fleet managers access to actionable data they can use to measure KPIs and make decisions that impact everything from costs to driver safety.
4. Nurture Your Business Relationships
Your vendors, your company’s leadership team, and your vehicle drivers are all partners in your success. Each relationship influences your ability to manage your people and assets—and knowing what each party brings to the table will help you create win-wins in every situation. Shoot for collaboration, not just transaction, and bring a sense of teamwork to your business dealings.
5. Demonstrate Your Organizational Value
When it comes to your role in helping your company meet its goals, it’s good practice to champion your efforts. You are managing vehicular assets and a sizable budget, giving you the potential to be considered a strategic partner within your organization. Increase your profile by showing how fleet management supports company initiatives: share monthly or quarterly spend data, explain any trends, and connect the dots to the bottom line.
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6. Set Clear Expectations for Drivers
People management is a big part of your job. And it’s so important that your drivers have a solid knowledge of the policies and procedures for performing their daily work. In addition to keeping them in-the-know with training and education, use technology services on your end to help you maintain due diligence. Real-time tools like GPS tracking ensure you’ll always know where your vehicles—and drivers—are, throughout the workday.
7. Be Proactive about Safety
An article in Automotive-Fleet.com cites the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic that 835 fleet drivers were killed on the job in 2014, the highest number in six years. Making sure your drivers always wear a seat belt and don’t play with their smartphone while driving might not be enough. Technology will help you mitigate potential risks. Today’s vehicle tracking tools provide you with detailed insights into driving behavior that can help reduce unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicles, and they can even be programmed to send you a safety alert if one of your vehicles has likely been in a car accident, enabling a quick response.
8. Embrace Sustainability and Go Green
The globe is experiencing record high—and climbing—CO2 levels, and it’s big news in the transportation industry. The EPA reports that in the U.S. in 2013, the combustion from fossil fuels used in transportation accounted for about 31% of total CO2 emissions and 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions. You can educate drivers on how they can increase fuel efficiencies: obeying the speed limit, avoiding excess idling and needless revving, anticipate slowing down when heading into high traffic situations, and even keeping the tires inflated correctly.
9. Simplify Administration
Anything you can do to streamline your fleet management tasks is going to give you time to work smarter, not harder. Today’s SaaS fleet management solutions make it easy for you to keep your eye on vehicles and drivers while amassing the data you need to boost fleet productivity, maximize budget spend, and communicate your value to company leaders. It’s critical to choosing a solution that’s intuitive, offering a simple yet attractive user interface, with a wide range of features and plug-and-play capabilities.
10. Partner with Experts—And Focus on what You Do Best
You’re in good company when your solution providers are as dedicated to your success as you are. Ensure you have the ability to test a solution at no cost and the setup should be a breeze so you don’t spend time installing it. Partner with a team that is committed to connecting fleet leaders and vehicle drivers with vehicle data—and a wealth of tools to manage it in the most simplistic way possible.
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