Fleet managers across many companies have some unique roles they seem to have a few that are very similar to others so are shared across the industry. Some are big and are on a global size.
But some of the challenges Fleet Managers face are:
1. Driver Safety
Fleet managers are under pressure to save money and get better results. But they should still put the safety of their drivers first. Which is right, it is a huge responsibility. Recent years has seen a large focus on trying to reduce and eliminate preventable accidents. One way of doing this is Driver training programs, that look at driver behaviour and improving the driving whilst out on the roads. But managers need the tools to track and enforce safer behaviour.
The use of technology will improve on this, knowing how to use it takes time. A survey has found that a quarter of all UK commercial drivers are breaching guidelines around rest and fatigue. It also showed that only two thirds of fleet managers have the correct systems in place to monitor and ensure they take rest breaks. Other fleet managers leave it to the drivers to sort out. As trainers we would seriously advise this third of fleet managers to invest in the technology, tracking systems are not there to be a hindering factor in your job, they help you and keep drivers safe.
As I say many resist the technology but in cab cameras and tracking systems can reduce accidents by up to 60%. Plus reduce your insurance costs and the risk of false claims against your company.
2. Driver productivity
As a fleet manager your biggest asset and cost is your drivers and their time. You need to minimise wasted and down time and get your drivers more productive.
There is technology out there that can assist this, making it easier to do things like refilling, report writing and routing. Removing the need for manual data entry and form filling, things like this can also make your own role much easier.
A survey showed that more than three hours a week nearly 21 working days a year are spent on chasing driver’s tachograph mistakes. How could you spend that time more wisely?
Are you sure you do not want to invest in technology to look at making this wasted time disappear and get yourself and drivers more productive?
3. Fleet Cost Reduction
Do you hear this saying from the people in management? “You can do more, with less” I am sure every person in the workplace hears this not just the Fleet Manager. Think quantity not quality I read in one work place a sign. How is this meant to motivate working staff? I would say think quality over quantity is more what should be done. But sometimes that is just not possible or feasible when told otherwise.
To do your job the to the best you can is not cutting corners, we see this in driver training, you teach someone a quick way later they change and interpret what you gave them to do in a way that is below standard and not as it should be. Take Chinese whispers do you always get the correct original message? No. Fleet managers are doing this by using pool cars, but how can you monitor who is doing correct vehicle checks, who causes damage, who has the better driver behaviour?
Can you make cost reductions and have good standards and more productive driver’s. The knock-on effect is not being able to track and monitor, costing much more in the long run.
4. Fuel price
Fuel costs is one of the most challenging things a Fleet Manager must keep a hand on. Prices are up and down within the blink of an eye so making it difficult to forecast.
Companies with large fleets fuel costs can be up to 35% of their costs, prices moving in the wrong direction have large impacts on companies, get fuel estimates wrong and you may have to make cuts elsewhere to cover it, so if fuel price goes up what is cut to cover the cost?
Fleet managers will try and estimate and forecast fuel price, they can even try and reduce overall consumption, so the less fuel you use the less of a % of overall costs. But with correct training of their drivers and the correct monitoring of the drivers, then having the drivers implement the training then fuel efficiency will be shown through driving eco-friendly. This comes with work and cooperation with the drivers carrying out what they were trained to do. Some investment in the drivers can show in improved driving and driver behaviour.
5. Eliminating fuel waste
What is fuel waste? This come from drivers not driving properly, for example speeding, harsh cornering and other ineffective driving, idling for long periods, spillage, and things like fraud and theft of fuel.
With good monitoring and looking at your fuel miles per gallon. This needs a fuel management system, such as tracking mileage of each vehicle and the amount of fuel the vehicle is given compared to what the journey should use. This takes time and effort you can be doing other things with. Having such a management system in place can do all this.
6. Focus and Emissions regulations.
All if not most Fleet Managers will know of (CAZs) The Clean Air Zones, these are part of a government framework to improve air quality in the more polluted urban areas.
Five cities are going to make CAZs by 2020 these are- Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Southampton and Nottingham. Where as in London it has created its own ultra low emission zone.
This is of a big concern for fleet managers because, every taxi, Bus, HGV entering will be subject to checks based in their Euro Emission Standard, if they do not meet the standard there will be charges into the zones. What are the chances one day in the future this applies to sales reps, and other fleet or grey fleet although harder to police these vehicles being driven in.
The cost in London is £12.50/day for most vehicles and £100/day for HGV’s below a Euro 6 Diesel engine standard. This could mean for some hauliers or smaller companies who can not invest in new vehicles being closed putting how many out of work? So regulations and environmental effects are going to become more strict as times goes on for fleet managers. Forward thinking and good fleet managers need to and should be planning early, looking ahead to the future of what their business can be doing.
7. General Uncertainty
Surveys shown that there is much uncertainty with Brexit, but 55% of fleet managers are feeling positive. But we do not know what is to come.
So much is changing we looked at environmental regulations. But have you considered others?
What will the future of fleet manager look like?
What will fleets look like in a few decades?
Will we still have drivers with the introduction of driverless vehicles?
41% of fleet managers are thinking or expecting autonomous vehicles to be making part of their fleet in 10 years.
But who knows for sure. It may take longer it may be about the right guess mark.
So with the world evolving and regulations changing to improve the environment, there are challenges out there for all of us. But do not underestimate to power of small things done well can have a big impact.
Keep working hard, work smart, but work right. Safety training of your drivers, have good technology in place and avoid the false economies when cost cutting.
Keep monitoring your fuel prices and forecasts, track fuel consumption and reduce waste, keep accurate accounts with technology and management systems.
We can look at your entire framework if you have uncertainty, a workload you can not cope with, asked to put in cost cutting the best way to improve is to invest and get results from investing with.
We can check your health and safety policies to ensure you have the correct process and it is being followed, we can train your drivers in eco driving and look at driver behaviour and we can monitor everything with telematics then when all this is done you will be rewarded with insurance prices not going up, fuel savings, less driver absences, better driver behaviour, better vehicle presence on the roads for a better company image.
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