| Jan. 2023 |.
Once the recorded vehicle data is understood and there is a general idea of what improvements need to be made, fleet managers - because they wear multiple hats - must get approval from multiple departments. This can be time-consuming and makes it difficult to balance immediate needs (driver safety, fuel expenses) with plans for the future (vehicle purchases, technology updates).
We list below the key challenges a fleet manager faces today:
The first thing your fleet manager must address is evaluating changes in vehicle legislation. Determining the purpose and suitability of vehicles and negotiating deals with vehicle manufacturers all sit with the fleet manager. Fuel consumption, tax and insurance costs, in addition to employee expectations, must also be considered when selecting the right fleet vehicles.
Add to that a consideration for the end-of-life and resale value of the vehicle and it quickly becomes clear why the role of fleet manager can be such a challenge. They will also need to ensure that budget allocations are met and that savings are always in place.
In our opinion, ever-rising fuel costs are probably one of the biggest cost-saving challenges for a fleet manager. Fluctuations in market price and the external factors that influence prices are beyond a fleet manager's control, but there are options to help reduce fuel consumption and costs.
We all know that the popularity of diesel vehicles is declining as a result of the Volkswagen emissions scandal and much-publicized negativity about harmful NOx emissions. The government's response to add a surcharge to the tax has understandably had an impact on sales.
Nevertheless, a fleet manager should evaluate the options to see if they still provide the greatest cost savings. Gasoline remains the market leader but the margin is declining due to the growing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Fleet managers can conduct a cost-benefit analysis of fuel options to determine which is most appropriate for the vehicles in their care. However, we recommend considering all available data. For example, is the higher purchase price of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles offset by their lower running costs and performance?
Another area to consider is the choice of fuel card - this is paramount for any fleet by selecting the deal with the best price to meet your needs. We would additionally use telematics to remotely observe driving behavior and the effect on fuel management, in addition to the ability to track vehicles and determine the most cost-effective routes.
Here you have two choices, depending on the size of your business. Larger companies may choose to perform maintenance and repair work in their own workshop, while smaller companies may choose to outsource it to specialists.
No matter what cue you make, it is the responsibility of your fleet manager to ensure that vehicle inspections are carried out to comply with legislation. This includes daily driver checks, pre-purchase vehicle inspections, regular maintenance checks and to ensure that reported defects have been corrected.
If the worst happens and one of your employees is involved in a traffic accident, the company's responsibility is to comply with health and safety guidelines. You must ensure that robust reporting procedures are in place so that drivers can handle an accident by correctly following insurance reporting procedures, and thus claims can be handled quickly and efficiently.
Needless to say, your fleet manager is responsible for both developing and implementing health and safety policies, in addition to ensuring that driver training records are up-to-date to minimize the risk of accidents within the fleet.
Daily checks, inspection forms, driver checks, reporting defects, engineering checks, insurance ... the list goes on and on. Compliance and fleet risk management is an essential part of the role and all aspects must not only be performed, but also documented. This ensures that a full trail of information is available for each vehicle for both audit purposes and in the event of an accident, should a claim or investigation need to be filed.
Vehicle legislation is changing rapidly, and it is imperative that your fleet manager is aware of and stays abreast of changes in legislation that can have a direct impact on your business.
It may be somewhat obvious, but controlling and reducing costs is always a priority for any business, and fleet management is no exception. Fleet managers are required to analyze relevant information about their fleets and identify items that can be improved. Consider reducing vehicle acquisition costs, monitoring fuel consumption and analyzing your drivers' driving habits - achieving more for less.
Your fleet will generate a lot of interesting vehicle data, but we know from experience that not everything will be useful. Searching through such huge amounts of information is time-consuming and runs the risk of missing important, relevant information. Updating such information also has administrative time and money implications.
This is why fleet management software is so important: It can help sift through unnecessary information and generate reports on only the items you need.
We believe this role will grow over time technology and its integration into your fleet management will expand your fleet manager's role to include mobility management, asset management and input for measuring and controlling the company's environmental impact. We recommend integrating fleet management software as soon as possible, as this will be vital to properly fulfilling this expanded role.
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