Tips for novice fleet managers
If you have found yourself thrown in at the deep end managing your company’s fleet, you may initially feel somewhat overwhelmed. Fleet management is an intricate and nuanced role, with a range of jobs that need to be carried out on vehicles at different points in the year to keep track of in addition to general maintenance and procurement tasks.
We have put together some hints and tips to help novice fleet managers find their feet with this role. This is by no means exhaustive, and different companies will have their own policies to follow, but the basic principles will remain the same for most fleet manager roles.
What is a company fleet?
A company fleet comprises vehicles that are either owned or leased by the company for use by its employees on a day to day basis. Some companies use a company car scheme to help recruit talented employees, making them an important recruitment and retention tool.
Safeguard your drivers’ health
Driving all day can be an exhausting job, especially in the midst of the global pandemic. In addition to the drivers’ physical health being at risk, their mental health should be in the mind of the fleet manager. Ensure you are both monitoring data from the vehicle usage and talking to your team to help everyone stay healthy, doing what you can to help them keep a healthy work-life balance.
Consider ways to save on fuel
In addition to encouraging drivers to drive economically, keeping the engines and tyres in great condition to keep fuel costs low, consider enrolling on a fuel cards scheme. Fuel cards are a great way to keep a close eye on your company’s fuel spend, with most fuel cards offering a fairly decent discount on pump prices.
Looking after the environment
Are your vehicles environmentally friendly, or could they be changed over to hybrid or electric models when the fleet next needs to be upgraded? Moving to a green fleet can boost your company’s eco-credentials whilst providing a good news story. Newly-elected US president Joe Biden has pledged to replace the entire US government fleet with electric vehicles, so you would be in great company!
Managing the vehicles on a day to day basis
Scheduling maintenance on a daily basis is great, giving drivers advance notice when their vehicle will be off the road; however, as any driver will know, cars can break down at the most inconvenient times. Breakdowns, accidents and punctures can take place at any given moment, so try to build space for contingency into your maintenance plan. In this way, you will have the capacity to deal with unexpected repairs alongside planned jobs and keep everything running smoothly.
Whilst it is impossible to explain the entire fleet manager’s role in such a short space, these tips should help to get you started, giving you food for thought as you find your feet in this interesting and challenging role.