What is Fleet Management?
Fleet trucks traverse from the coastal interstates in San Francisco, to the rural highways in Iowa, to the bustling freeways in New York all to fulfil our essential operations. Fleets bring us our Amazon “all edges brownie baking sheet” (link here if you’re interested) and edible “relationship savors”, but also our food, our water, and very relevant today, our medicine. Through the power of fleets, we can globally connect the world and solve problems that seem impossible to solve.
Take the COVID-19 vaccine. Each different vaccine required a different incubation temperature, had a different shelf life, were all vitally important, and required unrealistic urgency. However, logistics companies and fleets around the country tackled this problem and have successfully distributed vaccines across the nation. Fleets are crucial to our existence as an interconnected society and are the well-oiled machine in fulfillment.
Fleet managers exist to take on the labyrinth of fleet operations and create a system that meets all deadlines and fits within compliance. Fleet Managers oversee things such as vehicle maintenance, fuel consumption, driver management, vehicle acquisition and disposition, and more.
Fleet Management Roles
The first role and responsibility in fleet management is developing a strategy for the fleet. Managers set specific goals and priorities for the fleet, and each fleet will have a different strategy as they serve different functions and have different organizational structures. Generally, fleet strategy centers around safety and efficiency for their drivers, as well as cost optimization for their operations.
Fleet Acquisition & Services
The next role of fleet management acts on the fleet strategy: acquiring the fleet vehicles. In this, managers must consider the benefits and losses of purchasing used or new vehicles, the make and model of the vehicle (and class of vehicle their drivers are eligible to drive), and the branding for these vehicles. Acquiring the vehicles is crucial because every vehicle acquired is now a representation of the company.
Logistically speaking, fleet managers must also properly forecast how many vehicles to acquire. With that, properly predicting the vehicle’s lifespan and load capabilities are essential to having successful fleet acquisition, and ultimately optimizing the cost of inventory.
Fleet services include registration and renewal of the vehicles, as well as monitoring and adjusting overall fleet structure. To have successful fleet management, constant revision and improvements to strategy are imperative. This can mean rebalancing the fleet, relocating certain vehicles, and constantly being proactive to prepare for the future.
Vehicle & Driver Management
Maintenance of fleet vehicles helps extend the vehicle life, which saves money long term. Good fleet management not only repairs and fixes problems in vehicles swiftly but takes preventative maintenance measures to avoid long repairs. This can range from proper driving practices to routine checkups and constant monitoring. This is similar to preserving your own vehicle’s lifetime.
Energy management, like maintenance management, can save or lose companies huge sums of money. An integral responsibility of fleet management is to monitor fuel usage and look for ways to save fuel wherever possible. Some fleets travel immense amounts of miles every day, leading to massive expenses on fuel. When fleet managers can identify ways to save fuel (optimized routes, sustainable energy sources, etc.) it can vastly help their bottom line. On top of that, today there are more incentives to make fleets more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Safety & Driver
Safety is another integral responsibility and challenge of the fleet manager. Safety of every driver can be very difficult when drivers are hundreds of miles away. However, it is still extremely important to keep drivers safe. Technology like EZ Fleet’s EZ750 and VS 800 Video Solution can heavily help with fleet safety and will be described more in the next section. Other practices such as driver policies, education, and testing also help prepare and ensure a safe fleet. Another effective practice includes rewarding safe drivers and incentivizing safe driving practices.
Driver management extends beyond just driver safety. The truck driver life is a unique experience, and fleet managers find ways to keep their drivers motivated and excited about their work. Driver retention is very important in the fleet world today. Especially because there is a truck driver shortage nationwide.
Technology allows for fleet managers to execute and optimize things normally deemed impossible. Devices like EZ Fleet Tracking’s EZ750 and VS800 Video Solution allow fleet managers to monitor driver location, behavior, and even allow for better fuel optimization. Fleet managers may be hundreds of miles away from their respective drivers, but with technology they can sit in the passenger seat with all of them.
The final responsibility of the fleet manager is disposing (reselling in most cases) of vehicles. This requires managers knowing the right time and place to sell their vehicles. Fleet managers maximize the resale value of their vehicles to help acquire a new replacement vehicle. Properly executing this function allows for a seamless transition of vehicles with minimal down time.
Fleet management is a very crucial role for a very crucial function. Fleet efficiency and consistency is vital to the functioning of our country and economy, and fleet managers ensure both. While a daunting task, technology such as the EZ750 and VS800 Video Solution assists with fleet management and allows for fleet managers to make confident decisions and keep their drivers as safe, motivated, and productive.