A fleet is a group of motor vehicles owned by a business. Typically, the vehicles in question are trucks, cabs, cars, and busses.
They are used to deliver goods or provide services to customers. Most companies have a department whose main objective is to manage all the fleet vehicles. Since fleet vehicles are expensive, it is important to make sure they are being put to the best use. This ensures that maximum benefit is derived from the purchase and use of these vehicles. There are 7 tips that can help improve the fleet operational efficiency of your company.
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1. Use Technology
Technology has truly revolutionized the management of these vehicles. Since its inception, GPS technology has been an essential tool in fleet monitoring. By implementing a truck driver tracking system, you can prevent distracted driving, and exonerate your employees in the case of an accident. It works by giving you live access to the driver’s cabin, showing you the location of the vehicle, and some even have the option of distraction detection.
However, it’s important to note that not all tracking systems are made the same so make sure to do your research before you make a choice. Ask for recommendations from your peers, or seek out online reviews about the different options available in the market. The same goes for the other equipment your fleet may use.
2. Accurate Vehicle Maintenance
Another key to keeping costs under control is effective vehicle maintenance. This means that you need to ensure that the parts and services billed for are necessary and accurate, as well as having a good plan for how often vehicles should be serviced, which will vary from vehicle to vehicle. A poor maintenance plan can lead to a fleet that is unreliable, which will seriously impact your business. You can start by creating a maintenance schedule that is flexible and easy to follow.
Having a good business relationship with a service center will go a long way in helping you keep your fleet operational. It is important that the service center that you partner with gives your company priority treatment, or at least meets deadlines when servicing your fleet. Knowing exactly who to turn to in case of an emergency is definitely a good thing. It also helps if someone from your business is physically present at the service center. This way, they can personally check on their progress and ensure that they are following your schedule, and all the parts and services ordered are necessary.
3. Utilizing Spare Parts Wisely
When it comes to putting together a reliable fleet, one of the most important things is having a good inventory system in place. Having accurate records of the number of spare parts you have ordered is helpful. This way, if some are damaged or lost, you know exactly how many more to order, and when. There are some service centers that offer inventory management services. You can also hire a warehouse company to help you with this task. While you should never skimp on the quality of your spare parts, it is also a good idea to order in bulk. This helps you avoid running out at any time, and it can reduce costs as well because you are ordering directly from the supplier.
4. Communication Between Drivers and Dispatch
Another area to look at when it comes to improving the operational efficiencies of your company is how communication is handled between the drivers and dispatch. It’s important that your drivers know where they are going, how to get there, what to do once they arrive, and when they need to be somewhere else. Having easy communication options in case of emergencies can save a lot of time and effort. Make sure that your fleet is equipped with the right technology to ensure this kind of communication between dispatch and driver is possible, such as mobile phones.
Of course, it’s important to make sure that whatever communication device your drivers are equipped with, they are using them responsibly. Encourage them to pull over in case of an emergency, and make sure they understand the importance of safety.
5. Safe Driving Training
All employees who drive fleet vehicles should be given extensive training on safety measures such as defensive driving. It is also important that you train them in how to avoid collisions. While it’s important that every driver is time-efficient, whether they’re driving a taxi or a delivery van, it is also important that they are safe at all times. Communicate to them that safety is of the utmost importance and that it’s a much bigger issue if they are driving while tired than if they are taking a bit longer than usual to get from point A to point B.
6. Accurate Fuel Tracking
Another major cost for fleets is fuel, so it’s important to take great care when monitoring its usage. As a company owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that employees are efficient when driving fleet vehicles. If not, then this will eventually lead to higher fuel costs which will directly affect your bottom line. Make sure that employees are aware that they will be held accountable for poor fuel efficiency. You can do this by sharing the tracking data with them, which should show how often they refuel and the route taken to get from point A to point B, all of which can help them become more efficient drivers.
Speeding does increase fuel consumption, so you should also stress to your drivers the importance of being mindful of speed limits. Drivers should know when to push it and when to slow down, especially in emergency situations.
7. Hiring the Right People
One last tip for improving fleet operational efficiencies is by making sure that you hire the right people for the job. Don’t hire just anyone to drive your fleet vehicles, as this will only increase the likelihood of accidents. You should hire those who have had experience in driving such vehicles before and who are licensed and educated enough to do so safely. Doing background checks on potential employees is a good way to make sure you’re hiring reliable professionals.
Remember, that your drivers are the main point of contact with your customers in a lot of cases, so the way they handle themselves will directly affect your business. Apart from that, having a professional driver with at least three years’ experience can lead to better efficiency since they are more experienced in making the best use of time.
The more you invest in your fleet vehicles, the higher your chances of improving operational efficiencies will be. Any operation consists of different components, and by breaking it down to those components, and taking a close look at each one, you can determine where to increase efficiency and reduce costs. By employing these 7 tips, you’ll be able to manage your fleet operations more efficiently, which in turn will improve the way your company operates.