Mark Schedler - Sr. DOT Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
October 04 , 2019
Quality fleet management ensures the right combination of processes and systems are in place. A lack of qualified workers, as well as ineffective cost control and risk management processes, can have a significant impact on your fleet's viability.
Effective fleet management includes knowing how to:
Let’s take a look at each of these elements more closely to understand how fleet management helps drive the discipline of following or exceeding applicable regulations while balancing risk and productivity to drive profitability.
Despite the apparent driver shortage, your team must uphold company standards and consistently follow driver qualification and supervisory policies and procedures. Below are some fleet management best practices to ensure that your workforce is qualified and high-performing:
Read more about driver qualification best practices here.
Once you hire drivers and they are operating vehicles, your job of assessing performance and risk to your operation starts. You cannot eliminate all risk. However, good fleet management practices support risk mitigation efforts through auditing for compliance as well as finding, correcting, and preventing unsafe behavior on an ongoing basis.
Proactive driver behavior management based on telematics and hours-of-service records, such as data available from dash-cams, ELDs, and other vehicle safety systems, is a best practice. The goal is to use the data these systems generate to improve compliance, minimize potential liability, and to keep insurance claims as low as possible. Not reviewing the data and merely responding to accidents and reacting to roadside inspection violations is not acceptable. Juries punish negligent carriers with “nuclear” verdicts for failing to prevent detectable unsafe behavior.
Read more about using driver data to mitigate risk here.
Exceptional fleet management helps you pinpoint opportunities to improve efficiency from high-leverage items such as:
Developing an effective driver performance management process provides leverage to do more with the team you have. Coaching drivers based on actionable information in exception reports, generated from your landslide of data, can improve operational efficiency as well as produce more revenue and profit with the same number of drivers.
Recognition and reward programs, combined with a robust performance management process, can aid in minimizing unintended turnover of your safest, most dependable and productive drivers. Also, when you coach to improve an individual’s performance, he or she is more likely to stay, be more productive, and operate safely.
Read more about implementing effective performance management here.
Good fleet management includes understanding that your preventive maintenance program and equipment replacement lifecycle are critical to cost control and fleet productivity, as well as compliance and optimizing resale value.
Major vehicle maintenance-related costs can fall into several categories:
Several factors can affect decisions to minimize vehicle maintenance costs, such as:
An equipment lifecycle cost analysis should be performed to find the best age at which to replace vehicles of a specific make and model. The impact of downtime on driver productivity, maximizing resale value, and replacement cost is also a primary consideration.
Read more about automating your preventive maintenance program here.
Finally, fleet management ensures that all employees, not just drivers, understand their role, the accompanying responsibilities, and the policies and procedures used in supporting your business.
All employees want to know what is expected of them, what is acceptable and what is not, and what will either keep them employed or end their employment.
One tool of fleet management is an employee handbook that outlines company policies and procedures on at least these ten topics:
Read more about communicating company policies and procedures here.
A top tier fleet operation is created by hiring qualified people, and more importantly, people that share company values. Setting and keeping your hiring standards is easy to say, but harder to do when qualified potential employees are scarce. However, the quality of the people you choose to join and stay on your team determines the quality of your organization.
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