On the surface, the transport and logistics industry may appear to be quite a straightforward case of making sure that items get delivered on time. However, while this is certainly one aspect of the sector, there are numerous complexities attached which must be resolved in order to keep things running smoothly. As such, there is a vast amount of work involved with fulfilling a business’s or company’s transportation objectives. Importantly, it is the figure of the fleet manager which attends to all the inherent details.
A fleet manager is defined as an individual who has been employed by an organisation to undertake the responsibility of managing their commercial vehicle fleet while overseeing the operations it carries out. The role embodies a diverse range of tasks, and each fleet comes with its own set of unique challenges which these managers must address.
To give you a more specific view on the matter, we’ve put together this guide which comprehensively covers everything related to the role of the fleet manager.
What does a Fleet Manager do?
Fundamentally, all fleet managers share the core aim of optimising their fleet so as to maximise its fuel efficiency and thereby reduce the associated cost and environmental impact, increase its health and safety standards to ensure the wellbeing of their drivers and other road users, as well as reduce its overall operational costs to improve the financial performance of the fleet as a whole. Having said this, the daily tasks of each fleet manager will vary from organisation to organisation.
What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Fleet Manager?
Achieving the above implies the completion of many duties and responsibilities, including:
Fleet vehicle tracking
Fleet vehicle tracking is essential because it gives fleet managers an overview of their fleet’s on-road performance. Fleet managers use GPS technology and other hardware to monitor the real-time location, status, and condition of their vehicles in addition to their drivers’ behaviour.
Fleet reporting and analysis
On the back of vehicle tracking, fleet managers must then turn the metrics generated into reports. Such reports contain the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a fleet, as well as highlight those points where it falls short. This might refer to information concerning idling, asset utilisation, and fuel consumption. A fleet manager can then use these actionable insights for more optimised route planning.
Maintaining fleet compliance
A fleet manager is required to maintain compliance so that their fleet doesn’t actively breach any legal regulations. Failing to uphold fleet compliance inevitably leads to costly fines, penalties, and reputational damage. Therefore, it’s vital that fleet managers understand their obligations and stay up-to-date with changes in legislation. This means, for instance, carrying out routine vehicle checks and regulating cargo temperature if it is part of a cold chain.
Creating fleet safety policies and programmes
It’s of paramount significance that fleet managers ensure the safety of their drivers, given that on-road incidents can be fatal and - not to mention - detrimental to an organisation’s integrity. Followingly, it’s crucial for a fleet manager to create clear safety policies, implement driver training programmes which foster safe driving behaviours, and be able to promptly respond if an event does occur.
Designing fleet maintenance programmes
Given that vehicles are the foundation of a fleet, fleet managers must guarantee the functionality of each. The principal way to do this is by having a preventative vehicle maintenance programme in place which attends to faults and defects even before they appear to avoid large repair costs. Albeit, some fleet managers find ad hoc approaches to maintenance also suitable.
Fleet vehicle acquisition and remarketing
Alongside maintaining the condition of their existing vehicles, fleet managers are also responsible for acquiring new ones and selling the old ones off. A shrewd vehicle acquisition and remarketing strategy has the potential to save a fleet thousands. In essence, a fleet manager must negotiate cost-effective purchasing plans and leasing deals at competitive rates while determining the most lucrative timing for vehicle replacement.
What Skills and Qualifications do you need to become a Fleet Manager?
Owing to the eclectic nature of the fleet manager position, you’re generally required to possess a varied skill set in addition to a certain level of education and experience.
Fleet manager education and training requirements
To become a fleet manager, many employers require a candidate to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as supply chain management, logistics and transport management, or business administration. Although, it should be said that a degree isn’t an absolute requirement in order to become a fleet manager.
Moreover, it’s beneficial for a candidate to have professional qualifications like those which are offered by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) in the UK. The profession can also be entered through an apprenticeship.
Fleet manager experience requirements
Fleet managers often have at least two years of experience in a similar role. Beyond starting off as a fleet manager apprentice or trainee, this can constitute a background in other supervisory or managerial positions too. In effect, a candidate wanting to be a fleet manager must exhibit that they are capable of managing staff, compiling reports and analysing data, as well as maintaining safety and compliance during operations.
Fleet manager general competency requirements
- Organisational skills to keep on top of concurrent duties
- Interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with personnel and upper management
- Leadership skills to guide and instruct a team of drivers
- Analytical skills to accurately assess fleet data
- Problem-solving skills in order to adapt to a changing environment.
- Writing proficiency to produce reports and documentation
- Technical proficiency to make use of applicable industry software and hardware
- Knowledge of regulations and safety laws to ensure compliance
- Financial literacy to manage a fleet’s budget and control costs
What is another title for a Fleet Manager?
Depending on the industry, business, company, or the particular responsibilities they handle, fleet managers can be referred to by other titles including fleet supervisor, fleet administrator, fleet director, fleet operations manager, or fleet services manager.
How much does a Fleet Manager make?
As of 2023, the average base salary for a fleet manager in the UK is £36,339 (source). However, earning figures differ greatly and ultimately depend upon a fleet manager’s location, experience, level of qualifications, and employer.
What are the Challenges Faced by Fleet Managers?
Taking all we’ve said into account, it’s evident that the role of the fleet manager is singularly multifaceted. And so, naturally, this means that fleet managers face multiple challenges on a day-to-day basis.
This is especially true in today’s environmental context, where the transportation sector is collectively striving towards meeting fleet sustainability goals. Of course, this is a matter of great urgence, but nevertheless fleet managers have the burdensome task of finding the opportune moment and funding necessary to transition to a green fleet. Likewise, they must promote eco-driving and explore alternative fuels all while keeping up their productivity margins.
Even despite the directly present issues, fleet managers have always needed to strike a delicate balance between reducing costs, minimising fuel wastage, improving driver safety, maintaining compliance, scheduling vehicle servicing and maintenance, as well as grasping the vast array of data generated by their fleet, almost all at once. Consequently, the primary challenge faced by fleet managers today is preventing themselves from becoming overwhelmed by the demands of their role.
Fleet Management Solutions to Overcome the Challenges
It wouldn’t be feasible for fleet managers to accomplish all of the above without the aid of modern technology. Indeed, advancements in fleet management software and hardware have facilitated the role of the fleet manager to a considerable degree in recent years.
It’s for this reason why we have designed solutions which integrate leading fleet management hardware and software. Yet, we distinguish ourselves from others in our providing of a cutting-edge consultative service. We understand first-hand the challenges which fleet managers are required to overcome, and so we do more than simply provide fleet managers with tools, we offer guidance so as to distribute the intrinsic weight.
We at MICHELIN Connected Fleet believe in a more productive, safe, compliant, and sustainable transportation industry. This is realised in our fleet management solutions which streamline the road to fleet optimisation, in turn, bringing an innumerable host of benefits.