Fleet managers fulfil a remarkably crucial role within the transport & logistics industry. They are responsible for every single vehicle that comprises a fleet, alongside the inherent administrative duties, and must maintain a consistently high degree of efficiency, productivity, and safety throughout each operation.
Naturally, this level of complexity can lead to issues very easily, not to mention the adverse contextual factors that influence the sector, of which there have been many in recent years. And, although each fleet is unique, there are a set of fundamental obstacles that are inevitably met universally. It’s for this reason why we’ve compiled the top 5 challenges which are faced by fleet managers today, including how you can overcome them in order to keep your fleet running optimally & successfully.
Proper fuel management is one of the core facets underpinning the position of a fleet manager. This is easy to understand, when it’s taken into account that over a ¼ of a fleet’s entire expenditure is allocated to fuel. And so, the more fuel you waste, the more money is wasted, thereby equating to a negative financial impact to businesses. Followingly, if you are to maximise the utilisation of this ever-important resource, cutting down on fuel wastage is the most direct & effective course of action you can take.
However, there are intrinsic difficulties regarding the optimisation of fuel usage. Foremostly, the fact that fuel’s market price constantly fluctuates. This has been especially the case over the past few years, where we’ve seen fuel costs skyrocket. In essence, making a cost-effective approach to fleet management singularly vital, but likewise equally challenging without the help of a purpose-built solution. This is even despite those external factors which are typically out of a fleet manager’s hands, such as idling caused by disruptive traffic & weather situations, as well as driver’s over-accelerating & taking inefficient detours.
On top of this, we are in the midst of a climate crisis, of which transport is the biggest contributor. Therefore, highlighting the need for businesses to reduce fleet CO2 emissions so that their day-to-day on-road operations are more environmentally sustainable. This latter point, in particular, has brought about the widespread adoption of fleets containing only electrical vehicles (EVs).
Fairly evidently, vehicles are at the heart of any fleet. But, this matter does not just concern the vehicles collectively, it also considers the prospective value of each individual vehicle, their suitability & purpose for the fleet, and the deal attached to their acquisition. For instance, certain vehicles come with exorbitant tax & insurance costs, are only able to be operated by specialised members of staff, consume a relatively high amount of fuel, and depreciate in value quite quickly.
If these above elements of vehicle acquisition are overlooked in the selection process, then fleet managers set their fleet up for both substantial short-term & long-term financial losses. The crux is to secure a competitive deal which entails good interest rates, all while ensuring that each purchase is shrewdly made. Of course, this requires meticulous thought, yet savings in budget allocation alongside better returns on future vehicle resales are the rewarding outcome.
3.Health & Safety
Health & safety is an important part within all working environments; employees expect to be protected and, in turn, are expected to keep others out of harm’s way. This ideal is paramount when speaking of fleets. Namely, because being on the road always implies that one is open to potentially serious risks like collisions. Given that fleet managers are wholly responsible for the fleet under their care, this means that they are culpable for any negative on-road occurrences. Further meaning, that satisfactory driver safety is an essential condition when jobs are being carried out.
Preventative measures come in the form of making sure that your drivers are exhibiting appropriate on-road behaviour i.e., not braking too harshly or accelerating dangerously, while guaranteeing that each vehicle meets acceptable standards for use. In the unfortunate event that an accident does happen, then fleet managers are obligated to undertake necessary procedures. These consist of addressing reports which offer assurance that health & safety guidelines were adequately followed, as well as those for the driver’s insurance so that claims may be handled expeditiously. It is integral that all fleet managers implement such a policy, and act upon it when the time comes. The penalties for not doing so are severe, and the intricacies of it are what make this area tricky to navigate.
Hand-in-hand with the health & safety of a fleet is regulatory compliance. That is, a fleet’s adherence to the on-road regulations that are in place. Again, this is another aspect of fleet management that, if not realised, leads to detrimental effects. The overriding typification of regulatory compliance is routine inspection. This chiefly manifests as vehicle roadworthiness checks, subsequent vehicle maintenance, driver checks, insurance upkeep, and vehicle legislation awareness.
Complying with regulations accordingly is, in itself, imperative. Although, every feature that goes into its being attained must also be documented by the fleet manager, in full. This a definitive precursor to organisational efficiency because such information being readily available is particularly useful when vehicle auditing is needed, and in scenarios where there is an accident investigation.
5.Administration & Data Handling
Each component of fleet management which we’ve discussed so far involves administrative tasks and the handling of varying quantities of data. Formatting and filing information relating to fleet operations is perhaps the most time-consuming, yet mandatory, part of a fleet manager’s role.
Even on a daily basis, fleets generate tremendous amounts of - both relevant & irrelevant - data, making it plain to see how this can be incredibly overwhelming. Consequently, if administration & data handling is done manually, then oversights become a commonality and this can upset the fundamentals of a fleet, including its monetary processes.
At a glance, these challenges provide a formidable illustration of what is expected of a fleet manager. However, knowing about the top difficulties which are faced today is exactly what has allowed us to develop solutions that tackle them effectively. Our advanced fleet management services work to comprehensively mitigate any problems you might encounter. We are dedicated to increasing the efficiency, productivity, and safety of fleets everywhere in order to make the industry more sustainable. If you share our vision, then be sure to make an enquiry today.
Written by The MICHELIN Connected Fleet team
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