Fleet management is a process, often backed up by a system of technologies and procedures designed to make fleet management easier, of managing a collection of commercial vehicles. In an ideal scenario, the process of fleet management and individuals tasked with conducting it will run at optimum efficiency.
With businesses now facing higher demand than ever before from customers alongside other industry challenges, effective fleet management is now crucial for the long-term growth and success of any business, big or small, that operates a fleet.
Whether you have two fleet vehicles or 200 is irrelevant; a fleet is still a fleet and all of them must be efficiently managed.
Why Fleet Management is Important
Businesses are now adopting technology on a wider scale than ever before in a bid to differentiate themselves and remain competitive and, fleet management is one area where major savings in time and cost can be made. With the right fleet management technology, tools, and solutions, businesses that are dependent on their fleets can majorly optimise their operations in order to extract maximum benefit.
Unfortunately, fleet management is an area that many business operators find problematic and confusing — but it doesn’t have to be.
Although it is true that companies are now having to handle growing demand alongside industry challenges such as rising fuel prices, stringent regulations, and driver-related problems such as inefficiencies and shortages, a well-managed fleet can help to alleviate these and many other pressures.
This is why fleet management matters to you as a business operator. Being able to manage a fleet in its entirety, from the typical day-to-day tasks to the big picture matters, is core to keeping today’s businesses running efficiently and profitably while simultaneously saving your business money and creating a safer working environment for your drivers.
What Fleet Management Involves
Fleet management incorporates many different things, all of which are typically overseen by a single fleet manager or a team of fleet management specialists. Here are five key areas where fleet managers are involved as part of their day-to-day.
1. Fleet Tracking and Monitoring
To help improve driver safety, fleet managers must know where their vehicles are at all times. Although this may seem quite big brother-esque, being able to pinpoint vehicle locations can help make sure drivers avoid dangerous routes, are on suitable routes designed for their vehicles, and locate them in case of an emergency. Fleet tracking can be challenging, however, and fleet managers often rely on technology such as GPS and online dashboards which work together to map vehicle locations in real-time.
2. Driver Safety
Keeping drivers safe is a big challenge for fleet managers. We’re not just talking about knowing where drivers are in case of an emergency, either. Good fleet management will help identify bad driving habits so that they can be rectified, avoiding accidents and helping keep vehicles in pristine condition which in itself is a safety bonus. Again, technology comes into play here — GPS can track drivers in real-time and telematics systems paint a picture of drivers’ habits, both good and bad.
3. Fuel Procurement
After the initial capital expense of buying vehicles themselves, fuel is the biggest ongoing fleet expense by far. Naturally, therefore, fuel procurement plays a big role in fleet management. Fleet managers are often tasked with keeping their fleet vehicles running by ensuring fuel is readily available to drivers at the lowest possible cost to the company. Fleet managers rely on solutions like fuel cards for procurement and telematics systems to monitor and improve fuel efficiency.
4. Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
Ill-maintained vehicles are bad news for fleets. They run less efficiently, cost you more money to operate, burn through fuel more quickly (thus making your business less “green”), and can present a hazard for your drivers, to whom you owe a duty of care. Another big role for fleet managers, therefore, is ensuring that all fleet vehicles are well-maintained to prevent these issues from occurring.
5. Reducing Total Costs
Operational, administrative, fuel, and maintenance fleet costs quickly add up to eye-wateringly high figures. So, whether it is maintaining fleet vehicles to make them more fuel efficient or finding the best fuel cars for direct fuel cost savings, the fleet manager’s biggest and most important role is finding out where operational costs can be reduced.
Using Technology and Tools to Achieve Peak Fleet Performance
Modern fleet management processes are completely tech-orientated, largely based on the Internet of Things (IoT) that connect a multitude of physical devices, embedded electronics, sensors, platforms, and software solutions that collect, exchange, interpret, and present data.
This data can be used to provide fleet managers with a top-down, insightful views of their fleets so that problems, inefficiencies, and shortfalls can be identified and plans of action put in place for their rectification.
The best fleet management technology gives fleet managers full visibility into performance, efficiency, and resource activity and presents everything in a unified platform — a fleet management ‘platform’ or ‘dashboard’.
In the world of fleet management, there are two tools that dominate: fuel cards and telematics.
You may already be aware of what a fuel card is. In short, they are credit card-like cards that are used to purchase fuel at designated fuelling stations.
There are many different fuel cards available in the UK and beyond, and they are used by businesses worldwide to enable fleet drivers to easily refill their vehicles and fleet managers to easily manage fuel expenses. They also provide lots of fringe benefits such as discount pump pricing, bulk purchase discounts, inherent security enhancements, and more.
Read more about the fuel card options available to you.