Tips For Successful Fleet Operators, Save Time and Money
Effectively managing a fleet, regardless of its size and composition, is no easy feat. There are a vast array of considerations and challenges to contend with, especially in the midst of new legislation and financial pressures. Anything from the safety of your drivers, fuel economy and choosing the right vehicles can cause headaches. However, there are a number of accessible ways all operators can streamline processes and therefore save both time and money. Here are a number of tips, courtesy of Autoserve Fleet, that should make your operations easier…
Driver Safety: Keeping your drivers safe should always be your number one priority. Not only is it your duty and responsibility, it’s fundamentally in the company’s best interests. In promoting driver safety, there are a number of tired-and-tested methods to consider. You should prioritise ensuring that your drivers are aware of the company’s safety standards from the earliest opportunity; typically when they start their employment. However, sometimes a more official and codified method works best.
Consider something centred around your teams as a whole which encourages participation and engagement. A simple safety guide will probably be cast aside and forgotten about; an interactive presentation, however, will provoke an interest in the subject matter; get your staff in on the conversation.
There’s also evidence that offering incentives for safe driving deliver better results; and safer driving leads to fewer accidents and a better fuel economy. Consider launching a competition for your drivers, either individually or as a part of teams. Increased holiday and pay, vouchers or public recognition are usually more than sufficient motivators. Choose clear and comprehensible metrics (make sure they’re inline with your long-term objectives). Things like braking time, time spend idle and fuel consumption are good places to start.
Data and Telematics: A fleet operator is only as good as the information he or she is regularly receiving. Whilst installing vehicles with data-recording technology can be expensive, it’s almost certain to save you money in the long-term. You need to be able to determine which drivers are abiding by your policies and which ones aren’t.
You also need a constant flow of data concerning fuel usage and idle time. With the right data, you can clamp down on fuel theft, make travel routes shorter and more efficient and improve the quality of life of your drivers; this is especially important given the increasing turnover of fleet drivers themselves.
Ultimately, you need to measure everything that matters to your business, whether it’s expenditure, employee satisfaction and the implementation of policy. Without analytics and data, you’re making decisions in the dark.
Vehicle Selection: Predicate your selection of vehicles on suitability for your commercial activities and the long-term costs associated with it. These costs might include the rate of depreciation, miles per gallon, finance options and average service and repair rates/expenses. For fleet operators, knowing the long-term value and cost of a given vehicle is imperative; it’s the hidden numbers that can make or break a fleet.
It never hurts to ask for driver-input, too; after all, they’ll be driving them. What do they think of the model, of the control and comforts/lack thereof? You should also consider the appearance of the vehicles, do they give off the correct impression for your business? Think of your fleet vehicles as being just as much ambassadors for the company as the drivers themselves.
Work Towards Continuous Improvement: It’s impossible to plan, prepare and launch a fleet based on reason and planning alone. Only after the ball gets rolling, and the data starts coming in, will you have a real, experience-based understanding of what challenges you face. It’s at this stage that you’re presented with the opportunity for on-going improvement and optimisation; it’s the most rewarding aspect of the trade.
There will always be costs that can be eliminated, difficulties faced by drivers that can be overcome and greener, more sophisticated car models to invest in. A willingness to consistently collect and honestly interpret data is the hallmark of a successful fleet operator and a successful fleet.
Autoserve’s Fleet Card costs just £10 a vehicle per month. With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, we can keep your fleet moving and operational. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.