The corporation you started a while ago is now highly profitable and growing. You started off with two vehicles and now the company operates more than 6 vehicles at a time. You might not realize the difference as the change has occurred gradually but the company is now operating a particular fleet. For example if you are a company offers corporate and private transportation in Europe you will have unique challenges.
And when it comes to managing fleet vehicles, you have to look at things from a different perspective now. There are some general things which every fleet manager should take care of to prolong the life of the cars.
What is Vehicle Fleet Management?
In simplest terms, Vehicle Fleet Management relates to managing a particular set of cars in a way that they run smoothly without causing disruptions to the company’s operations or creating any unexpected expenditures. Fleets may vary between 5 to 50 cars depending upon the size of your company.
However, the term fleet management is broader than the simplistic definition which we just mentioned. A fleet manager’s responsibilities include vehicle purchase and registration, insurance of cars, scheduled maintenance, accident and crisis management, asset management, fuel costs assessment, route planning, and vehicle disposal.
Why is Vehicle Fleet Management Important?
Many had the question as to why should they manage their vehicle in the form of a fleet when they can easily do so otherwise. However, many studies and practical experiences of vehicle fleet management showed that there has been 17 to 22% additional savings on the expenses being borne by the company.
Vehicle fleet management also ensures that a firm is using the maximum route efficiency for its cars. There are certain types of software for fleet management that can help in devising specific routes for a company given certain parameters. The cost difference otherwise is substantial. Some studies also showed that businesses which have proper fleet management have fewer accidents than others due to effective training of their drivers.
Such a high margin is likely to be influencing the profitability of the company. Saving on these costs is what every business would want. Many people who are not up for vehicle fleet management must think that they are saving on their costs by not having certain criteria. However, with purposeful delaying, they end up with more grounded, unmaintained, and non-usable cars.
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Types of Fleet Vehicles
Big Fleet Vehicles
One of the most commonly used vehicles for work purposes includes trucks. The trucks are a common fleet vehicle for businesses that have to transport bigger goods. However, even the trucks have subcategories depending upon which type of product you want to transport. For example, box trucks are used for bigger home appliances such as full-sized counters.
Box Trucks are the most common way of transporting goods. They are used by most businesses because they can be used to transport different small items ranging from the size of a pillow to the size of multiple ovens etc. One of the examples of a Box Truck is what is used by Amazon.com for the delivery of products to the customers. Most companies start their fleet with Box trucks.
Other types of trucks include trailers which can be used for transporting other vehicles such as cars or motorbikes. These are 18 wheeler long trucks which have the capability to carry vehicles on the base floor as well as the top floor. The 18-wheeler long trucks can also be used to transport bigger parts such as the wings of an airplane or a boiler from one part of the country to another. They can be in your fleet only if you have the biggest products for transport.
Tank Trucks can be considered among the big fleet vehicles. For companies that have to transport liquid products such as chemicals, oil, petrol, or any other liquids, they usually use the Tank Trucks which come equipped with large tanks that can hold up to 10,000 gallons at one time.
There are also refrigerator trucks. Don’t worry! This does not mean that they are used to carry refrigerators rather these trucks have a controlled temperature mechanism inside them which allows you to transport goods that are temperature sensitive. Common examples include Ice-cream, yogurt, and other products which can damage if overexposed or underexposed to a certain temperature.
Small Fleet Vehicles
Large-scale industries usually require bigger trucks for transporting cargo. However, for businesses that do not have a large scale of operations, they use small fleet vehicles for transporting their goods. The small fleet vehicles are also used for the transport of people.
One of the examples is pickup trucks. These pickup trucks are used to transport smaller items. Pickup trucks are also used by companies that are in the packing and logistics management business. Courier companies use these trucks to transport the shipments from their franchises to headquarters and further use them for the deliveries to the customers. Pickups have also been a common fleet vehicle for carrying anything in drums.
Secondly, minivans are also small fleet vehicles. You might have seen the ice-cream truck around the block. This guy is using a minivan as his vehicle. On-the-go burger joints, coffee points, and other small-scale businesses use the minivans and convert them in their desired manner. The minivans are quite a useful vehicle because they save a lot on costs, fuel expenses, and are easy to maintain as well.
Another small fleet vehicle is a transport vehicle. This could include a sedan, hatchback, a minivan, or even an 11 seater minibus. Companies that offer transport facilities to their workers are using one or a few of these. The 11-seater minibus is among the common ones because it can be used for transporting more workers which reduces the cost of transport per worker. The 11-seater minibusses are often used by factories that have workers coming in from the city side.
There can be other small vehicle types as well. For example, Taxis are used by a company whose business operations are directly related to the fleet.
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How to Manage your Fleet Effectively?
Once you realize you are managing a fleet, there are certain steps that you can take to manage your fleet precisely which would assist in improving the efficiency of the business.
Hiring Fleet Manager
Hire a fleet manager and assign him all the responsibilities rather than doing this task yourself. You might be thinking about how this would save costs. Hiring a particular fleet manager will reduce the burden on yourself and you can focus on other important aspects of the business rather than sticking yourself to only one.
Hiring a fleet manager will be quite helpful since he will manage everything in a dedicated manner. He will take over those responsibilities solely making it more efficient for him to perform a specialized task. The fleet manager will ensure that the fleet goes on smoothly and there are no disturbances. Without a fleet manager, a business might miss on the crucial maintenance or disposal deadlines which will bring unbearable costs to the company.
Training of Drivers
If you are managing a fleet, it is important to have the training provided to the workers else you might see a whole lot of problems. You might have seen different types of car carriers that have wrecked on their way while bringing the cars. It costs the company a big amount to have the cars repaired or disposed of as well as taking care of the grounded carrier.
Trained drivers will tend to have fewer accidents and will be more vigilant while driving. It is important that during fleet management, you should be training the driver for all kinds of extreme situations such as changing routes, failed car mechanisms, or any other problems so that he has the ability to choose the best course of action. Some companies hire drivers based on their past experience but it is always beneficial to conduct certain tests and train further if required.
Use a Fleet Management System
One of the most crucial elements of effectively managing your fleet is that you use a certain fleet management system. These are certain softwares which provide different types of calculated outcomes based on the input data. For example, based on a car model and mileage, it might give you the expected date at which the car should be disposed of along with a price that has accounted for the depreciation of the vehicle.
There are different types of fleet management systems such as Samsara which can be trusted and relied upon. They provide a range of diagnostics and facilities to the users which help in managing the fleet most appropriately while planning out routes that cost the least to the company. They help you stay compliant as well as streamline your fleet operations in the best manner. They also ensure that your vehicles are secure with a state-of-the-art GPS installed in the cars.
If you are a growing business, it would be vital for you to manage your vehicles in the form of a fleet. Assess the requirements of your business and then come to the conclusion of which types of fleet vehicles should you be choosing. Remember that managing the fleet is not the job of the person who is managing the business so do hire a fleet manager as well as get a fleet management system so that you are able to save on maximum costs and gain higher profits when operating your fleet. Best of luck!