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Nov 4 2015

Managing a fleet, big or small, is not an easy task. There are several items to account for and challenges to overcome in order to run a successful fleet. Some of these include saving money on fuel, ensuring the safety and job satisfaction of your drivers, keeping up with vehicle maintenance and repairs, and etc. 

There are quite a few fleet management software providers that have worked hard to help solve these challenges and simplify the tasks at hand. In addition, many of these fleet management companies offer a wealth of resources with helpful tips on how to better manage fleets.

In this post, I've compiled a list of eight "how to" tips sourced from nine different fleet management software provider's blogs to help you get started.  

1. How to recruit fleet drivers

Finding and retaining qualified drivers can be a challenge for many fleet managers. Element Fleet recently posted a blog (view here) that links to a free tip sheet download, "Top 7 tips for recruiting and retaining CDL drivers." They included a couple teasers in the actual post as follows:

  • Recruiting: Step up your online presence and digital advertising
  • Retaining: Make driver satisfaction a priority

2. How to combat fuel theft concerns

In a recent blog post by Fleetio, "Combatting Top Fuel Management Concerns," one concern they provide tips on combatting is fuel theft within your fleet. Fleetio stresses the need for an automated solution to help identify discrepancies in reported fuel costs compared to an estimation of what fuel should cost.

A fleet software provider will often help make an accurate estimation by pulling in make/model, truck-load, and driving distance, among other variables. They will also utilize GPS tracking to monitor driver behavior.     

3. How to reduce employer risk and liability with fleet technologies

With managing fleet comes risk and liability. Ari Fleet wrote a great article hosted on fieldtechnologiesonline.com explaining 6 ways that fleet technologies can reduce this risk and liability.

One of the tips I found most interesting was the use of powerful telematics to monitor driver behavior, including speeding, hard braking, or rapid acceleration. Telematics can also be used to assure drivers are complying with seat belt usage and off-hours driving. You can view the other five tips here.

4. How to save money on fleet vehicle repairs

Repairing your vehicles can be an expensive part of managing a fleet. Not only can the repair be costly, but having fewer vehicles on the road = less income.

Teletrac shared a great example of how one of their customers was able to save money on repairs by utilizing Teletrac's vehicle diagnostics feature to keep up with their fleet of truck's maintenance needs. This is the type of solution that every fleet manager should look into implementing. At the very least, it's essential to stay on top of vehicle maintenance to avoid greater problems in the future. 

5. How to improve customer service with GPS tracking

If your fleet is in the business of delivery, it's important that you keep your customers happy with timely deliveries and accurate updates for deliveries in transit. In a Networkfleet article, they discuss how GPS tracking will help speed up delivery times and provide better service. "When you know where your vehicles are and what they’re doing, you can provide customers with up-to-date information on expected delivery and service times."

6. How to choose the right vehicle for your fleet

If your company is choosing to purchase new vehicles to replace or add to your existing fleet, it’s important that you make the right choice based on efficiency and long term goals, rather than flash and brand. Chevin Fleet Solutions have produced a helpful article which suggests five things to consider when purchasing new vehicles for your fleet. “The best strategy involves doing your research and assessing all of the factors that could impact budget, capital expenditure decisions, leasing options and cost of ownership.”

7. How to promote a better working environment with tracking technology

Studies show that recruiting and retaining fleet drivers has become a greater challenge now that fleet managers are keeping closer tabs on their drivers with tracking technology. A recent Telogis article provides great tips on how to "tread the fine line" of using tracking technology to benefit companies without micromanaging their drivers. Here are the primary points they address:

  • Share the data with your drivers so they can self-correct
  • Put the data in context to provide more insight on your drivers
  • Use the technology to make your driver's job easier

8. How to diagnose vehicle issues before visiting a mechanic

As you know, with managing a fleet of vehicles comes a significant amount of maintenance and repairs. Putting your vehicles in the shop often means losing revenue due to fewer drivers on the road at a time. Is it necessary to take your vehicles off the road as soon as a check engine light appears?

Geotab wrote an article (view here) about how their fleet management solutions are able to identify certain check engine fault codes through the OBDII, the same way a repair shop would identify check engine fault codes. Fleet managers and drivers are able to find these fault codes right in the Geotab tool and perform minimal research to identify the meaning of the code. Many other fleet management tools have similar functionality. With this feature, less urgent fleet vehicle maintenance and repairs don't have to inconvenience your daily operations.

9. How to utilize geofencing technology

Geofencing is popular technology in the fleet industry. Geofences are essentially virtual geographic boundaries, invisible fences around specific regions. In this article, Telogis highlights five ways that fleets are utilizing geofencing technology to improve their processes. Some of these include timesheet verification, tracking of arrival and departures, and asset security. With geofencing, fleet managers are able to accurately track when their employees are on the job site and for how long, or if their assets have left their permitted boundaries. 

Final Thoughts

Given the never-ending tasks and challenges involved with fleet management, it's important that your company utilizes the solutions available to help work more efficiently. If you haven't implemented a fleet management software yet and aren't sure where to begin, make sure that the software you pick is advanced enough to put these above tips into practice. For those managing a larger fleet, it's also important that the software you choose provides a quick way to identify your vehicles and their specs, as well as account for recently added vehicles.


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