date04 March 2020

Habits of effective fleet managers

Whether a fleet manager has been in the position for two years or two decades, there’s always more to learn. The role of the fleet manager has changed dramatically over the years, away from a sole focus on scheduling to a remit that covers everything from fleet expenses and data analysis, to sustainability and compliance.

In smaller businesses, a fleet manager may also have to take on the additional responsibilities of office and/or service management, so there’s plenty to keep on top of. Developing particular working practices can make the changeable nature of fleet management easier to navigate. So, besides maintaining relevant industry knowledge and experience, what are the habits fleet managers should adopt? 

Clear and constant communication

A fleet manager acts as a font of knowledge for virtually every stakeholder in a logistics business, from the drivers to the clients, the business owners to the financial team. As such, it’s important that they have the agility and insight to communicate effectively with each of these parties, verbally and in writing, taking into account their varying interests and priorities. They must be as comfortable reviewing planned routes with drivers as they are proposing a cost reduction strategy to a board of directors.

Each party will require different data and operational information, but it’s down to the fleet manager to extract and send whatever they need from a central repository, such as that which supports an Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) system, often remotely and in real time.

Using data to affect change

In today’s cost-centric world, a large chunk of any fleet manager’s time will be spent looking for ways to save money. Of course, a logistical operation comes with unavoidable overheads, but a savvy fleet manager will seek not only the big cost savings, such as procuring the most cost-effective vehicles, but also the smaller tweaks that can stretch a budget incrementally over time.  

This kind of iterative cost-cutting is made possible by digging into operational data and using it to prove a business case for change. For example, through an EPOD solution and integrated telematics technology, a fleet manager could monitor idling time across their fleet, to see whether incentivising drivers to turn off their engines after 30 seconds stationary could reduce fuel consumption and engine wear and tear.

When you consider that idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting an engine, it becomes clear that being able to track the amount of idling happening across a fleet and rewarding better driving behaviours could be a significant money saver.

Getting ahead of compliance requirements

While much of a fleet manager’s responsibilities means looking inward at the operational performance of their business, they also need to keep an eye on what’s going on in the wider logistics industry. It’s vital to be aware of legislative changes that will impact the sector, such as the prospect of the first fuel duty hike in a decade as part of this month’s Budget, and anticipate what this could mean in practical terms.

It’s also crucial that fleet managers stay up to date with industry standards of compliance, and that they can prove this compliance in the event of an audit. Conformity with government regulations, such as driver’s hours of service requirements enforced by the DVSA, is far easier to demonstrate with an EPOD system in place, which stores electronic timesheets and reminders for vehicle safety checks.

Simplify fleet management best practice with EPOD

The most effective fleet managers know that the secret to operational efficiency is to rely on the support and digital infrastructure of an EPOD solution. There are plenty of plates to keep spinning, but a specially designed logistics management system like PODStar can take the strain out of fleet management. Get in touch with us today to find out more.