Fleet manager and his responsibilities
Fleet manager obvious responsibility is everything which is required to keep a fleet of vehicles running effectively. Fleet management does not mean that a fleet manager has to undertake all actions required to keep each and every vehicle on the road, part of the art of management is delegation, but that at the end of the day, they take personal responsibility for the fleet.
Knowing what is there
The first duty of any fleet manager is to know what is actually in their fleet at any given time. This not only means that the fleet manager should have a record of all vehicles but also, ideally, that they should have a record of all the serial numbers of the various key parts which relate to each of their vehicles. This will help to stop any fraudulent tampering with them. It will also help to organize an appropriate maintenance schedule. Of course, it would be perfect for a fleet manager to collect these information automatically and store it online.
Keeping track of vehicles
In the sense of fleet management, keeping track of a vehicle has two meanings. The first meaning is keeping full and accurate records of everything which concerns that vehicle, from fuel stops to any maintenance, whether it’s a driver fitting a new fan belt on the road in an emergency or a full service. This is essential so that anomalies can be identified and queried.
The second meaning is quite simply knowing where vehicles are. This responsibility has been made much easier since the invention of GPS and releasing it for public use. Part of the skill of successful fleet management is integrating GPS readings with other key information. For example, GPS Trackers may tell you that two vehicles traveled equal distance over similar terrain and fuel logs may indicate that they used a similar amount of fuel. Nothing may seem unusual about this unless you combine this information with information from the warehouse which shows that one vehicle was carrying significantly more weight than the other, in which case the question of fuel usage immediately becomes obvious.
Using data efficiently
The above example is just one instance of the importance of managing a fleet instead of just running it. Gathering data is relatively straightforward, the skill is in using it effectively.
For example by knowing the specific components of your vehicles you as a fleet manager can make an informed judgement about their likely life span. You will also have records of your scheduled service plans. Putting the two together means that you can arrange for components to be replaced towards the end of their lifespan during a scheduled service rather than having to pull the vehicle off the road again at a later date.
Similarly, it is possible to over-maintain a vehicle. If your records are showing that vehicles are regularly going in for scheduled maintenance and nothing significant is being done, consider extending the running period.
Managing users and suppliers
Being fleet manager is less about managing vehicles as it is about managing people. There is little point in having policies approved by management of any description if they are either not implemented or badly implemented due to either lack of enthusiasm, lack of understanding or lack of practicality.
If active fleet management is being introduced into an environment which was essentially run without much attention, it is entirely possible that it will ruffle some feathers, purely because change usually does, but active or passive resistance from either users (such as drivers) or suppliers needs to be analysed and addressed. In a nutshell, if people are simply unwilling to make a change for the benefit of the company because it deprives them of privileges they have learned to expect, then enforcement action may be required. If on the other hand, resistance is based on a legitimate concern that a change will have a negative impact on work, then this will have to be addressed and the policy potentially reworked. All of this involved fleet managers engaging with those affected by their decisions, which is one of the most important aspects of any sort of management.
Greening the business
Modern consumers are increasingly demanding that the companies with which they do business act in an environmentally-responsible fashion. Fortunately in terms of fleet management, this is also often very cost-efficient. In particular, lowering emissions is connected to lowering fuel consumption and one of the most effective ways of achieving lower fuel consumption is through fuel-efficient driving. This is essentially smooth driving with the minimum of sudden starts and stops or sharp turns. It is also a very safe way to drive as well as being gentle on the vehicle, thereby reducing accidents, extending lifespan, lowering maintenance requirements and finally about drivers safety. Motivating drivers to moderate their habits behind the wheel, drive smoothly and more fuel efficiently influence also their safety. So, we can say that this little change may prevent accidents or even employees absence at work. As you can see fleet manager cares about vehicles and the people.
Implementing an environmental strategy links to educating drives, which again comes back to forming good relationships with drivers. It also involves analyzing data to ensure that good intentions are being effectively translated into good actions.
When you decide to take care of company fleet or you are already a fleet manager then you probably realized those responsibilities above and how absorbing this work might be. Gathering data, dealing with drivers, servicing, car deals, accidents handling and you probably work 24/7. A Typical fleet manager gets up early before other drivers come to work, checks vehicles and writes down specifications, then repeats the same but with employees, organize work, motivates them and after that, rewrites the information collected in the morning — sad but true. During all the day he is at the phone, making calls, dealing with suppliers, managing alerts, all the changes and business trips. Fleet manager does it all and has to constantly keep an eye on vehicle’s performance checking service dates, fuel costs and how employees drive. It seems reasonable that it would be much easier with an assistant — either human or software. Unfortunately both may not meet the fleet manager standards or needs. At the end of the day, the work is being doing twice. Primarily by the assistant and then secondarily, by the fleet manager. What is the point?
The only solution that could work in this case is an assistant that perfectly meet the standards and do the part of work, which is a main pain for every single fleet manager in his daily routine. Yes, we do have something in mind, first we could invest in genetics and clone you. So your “mini-me” could improve the fleet management process with Cloud Your Car.
Humanizing fleet management tools
Fleet management tools used in companies — either large or small, are basically quite similar. Whatever the solution is and despite the size of the company, it is very rare that fleet managers in really consume every available feature. Why is that?
Obviously, it’s not because they do not want to. And it is not because the fleet management software is too difficult to use. It is because the feature-set do not fit their needs. The basic features like GPS-location, fuel consumption monitoring or fleet utilization charts are simple and communicated by fleet managers to developers. But some needs are hidden, not on purpose. Those needs become an unsolved problem when the fleet managers face with a particular system. The way developers think and create their systems not always collaborates with how professional fleet managers actually think and solve problems.
Sometimes it seems to be too logical and designed to put every features in some engineering order and that is really great! But, fleet managers may need different order than this. Another mistake that occurs in the software for fleet managers is too much features. Yes, we all appreciate that developers work hard to make it as much professional and unique as it can be but. They love to spend time on programming and expressing their artist nature but this may only leads to more and more complex configuration. So we have to go back, to the very beginning of the NO-NO list. Summarizing, existing solutions seems to be perfect for a fleet manager, because of wide range of functionality they offer. But that makes the systems to complicated and time absorbing for fleet manager. Often less is more!
We all believe that Cloud Your Car is a perfect balance between the automation, logic and working process of every fleet manager. Cloud Your Car app was tested by wide range of beta testers, early adopters and fleet managers from the very beginning and when only basic feature were available. This leads our developers to design product that work like a perfect fleet manager assistant. Exactly, assistant! Good fleet manager with his competences doesn’t need any replacement, what existing solutions are close to do. Fleet manager need a good assistance that brings his potential to life and gives it the right meaning.