Fleet management is often a duty that falls by the wayside in small businesses because workers are busy simply trying to get the job done. Maybe one driver finds himself fulfilling managerial duties alongside his other tasks, or maybe the business owner has been running the fleet as part of running the company. Sometimes, one person is the business owner and fleet manager in addition to being a driver.
However, as your business grows, so will your fleet, and businesses often find that as they add more drivers and more vehicles, the task of managing the fleet becomes much greater. So, should your resources be spent on hiring a full-time fleet manager? Here are 3 ways having someone in this position can help your company:
1. You may save more money in the long run by hiring a full-time fleet manager.
The main reason to oppose investing in a fleet manager is the belief that those resources could be better spent elsewhere. However, there are likely many ways that your fleet is wasting resources, and without a full-time manager, no one person is in charge of the information that is needed to address these problems. A full-time fleet manager is the number one person for drivers to report to regarding the status of their work and their vehicles. Therefore, knowledge about the fleet isn’t spread throughout the company, and drivers can bring issues directly to the fleet manager. The fleet manager then has a comprehensive view of drivers’ schedules, routes, fuel spending, and anything else relevant to the fleet.
2. You’ll have a dedicated person to focus on the task of training new employees.
Training of new employees is sometimes neglected in small businesses. The logic is that there’s work to be done, and drivers therefore should get on the job right away and learn as they go. However, this is not always the best approach, as often time is wasted while employees are learning. If drivers are educated on the intricacies of their jobs beforehand, they save a lot of time otherwise spent on figuring things out.
Training of drivers involves reviewing in-depth their routes, common trends, and quirks of the company vehicles. For instance, current drivers may know about alternate routes to locations that have less traffic than the routes suggested by the GPS on their phones. If the company uses GPS tracking software or an electronic system for logging hours, the fleet manager can train new employees on how to use the system. All of this information should be aggregated in one place and then presented to new employees during training so they know what to expect and what is expected of them. Individual drivers may not always have the time on their schedules to devote to this, but a fleet manager can ensure that it always gets done.
3. A fleet manager can work with drivers and analyze allocation of resources up close.
Someone who has extensive knowledge of the fleet’s operations is best suited to address the fleet’s financial expenditure and the allocation of resources. As a business owner, you may look at costs and see areas where you’d like to save money. However, a full-time fleet manager would be intimately acquainted with the fleet and have a better understanding of where costs can be cut and where spending is necessary in order for the fleet to run effectively. Then, the fleet manager can discuss these concerns with the financial decision-maker, and they can work together to find a solution. The fleet manager would also handle the procurement of new vehicles based on the company’s needs and should therefore be knowledgeable about the vehicle market.
The ideal fleet manager not only understands the mechanical and logistical concerns of the fleet but also how to manage people and communicate effectively with employees. If your fleet still only consists of a few vehicles and you simply don’t have the ability to bring on a full-time fleet manager, you may not be ready yet. However, if your business is growing, the fact that you may one day need a devoted fleet manager is something to keep in mind.
Looking for ways to improve your fleet’s performance as your business grows? Check out our E-Guide, Using Vehicle Data to Improve Driver Performance.