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  • 7 Mistakes fleet managers should avoid

    7 mistake fleet managers should avoid

    There are many things to think about as a fleet manager, from choosing your fleet vehicles, whether you should be leasing or buying, maintenance, fuel, insurance, tax, duty of care and safety, to training and the driving behaviour of your employees.  

    The challenges of cost and productivity are everyday concerns for fleet managers, and as a result there can be some common mistakes that are made that we felt we should share with you.

    1.    Biggest isn’t always best

    By over-compensating with a larger vehicle than you need for your business you can actually be costing your business more. You cannot be blamed for thinking that a larger vehicle will ensure that you can meet delivery needs as well as future expansion possibilities. However, for example, HGV vehicles require more extensive training, use more fuel and have stricter operating and environmental regulations. Plus, if you are not utilising the full available loading capacity you aren’t being cost effective. To be cost effective you need to right-size your fleet to your needs.

    In fact, over the past few years many fleets have been turning towards vans due to their cheaper initial running costs, broad range of models to suit different business needs, and availability of trained drivers in this area. We would suggest that as a fleet it is wiser to start small and expand only when you’re ready.

    2.    But overloading can be worse

    Whilst under-utilising payload is not economical, overloading is also extremely risky, so you need to find the happy medium. By overloading vehicles, you can come into serious problems with the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, not to mention putting your driver’s and other road users at risk.

    3.    Poor route planning

    Inefficient routing will cause delays and increase costs as well as having a knock-on effect to your daily schedule. Common mistakes include using outdated route planners or not utilising software or GPS systems to identify the best real-time route which considers changes in traffic levels, accidents and re-routing for changes in delivery requirements. Effective route planning and tracking means that you will know exactly where your fleet is at any time and will be able to efficiently manage their schedule with flexibility.

    4.    Allowing wear and tear on your fleet

    By implementing preventative maintenance and efficient replacement cycles you can avoid costly wear and tear on your fleet. Regular maintenance and routine check-ups will help to avoid unplanned downtime and often bigger, more costly problems down the line. Equally by implementing the optimum replacement cycle for your fleet you can ensure that you get the most out of your vehicles before they start to cost you more.

    5.    Implementing regular driver training

    It is important to remember that one in every three accidents on the road involve a company vehicle, and whilst it is easy to assume your drivers know all they need to or are up-to-date with current road legislation. Regular training and top-up courses are important to keep your drivers on top of the game and to keep safety at the top of their priorities. Not only will good driving behaviour increase safety and reduce the number of potential incidents, it also helps to reduce costs in the form of reductions in fuel usage and insurance policy claims costs as well as employee turnover.

    6.    Not leveraging telematics reports

    Telematics technology can be utilised to accumulate extensive amounts of useful information which can be used for future decision making. If this data is not analysed it can be a massive missed opportunity for the business. Information on the likes of geographical location, time to location, driving speed, overall patterns, idling, fuel usage and vehicle performance can all be monitored and measured and continuous improvements in procedures continuously made.

    7.    Embracing change and keeping up with new advancements

    Fleet technologies, policies and legalities are constantly changing, and it is important for fleet managers to keep on top of these changes and be one step ahead of the competition. Adaptability and flexibility are key characteristics that need to be present in any fleet manager.

    This flexibility should also be reflected throughout the strategies that are implemented, for example, having a back-up plan such as the ability to utilise flexible vehicle hire during busy periods will ensure that your business can meet demand without adding an under-utilised vehicle to your fleet schedule.

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