There’s no successful product-focused company that doesn’t have an efficient vehicle fleet at its disposal. While the spotlight of the contemporary global economy is occupied by huge overseas shipments and innovations like drone delivery; at the end of the day, drivers going from one warehouse to another and reaching the doorsteps of customers are still the backbone of the economy. With that in mind, as a responsible manager, you want to do everything in your power to make sure your fleet is working at its maximum productivity levels.
Naturally, you’re not alone here; meaning that many logistics and economics experts have found ways to improve efficiency in this field. There are all kinds of standardizations for maintenance procedures, innovative technologies for movement tracking, as well as timely upgrades to be made. If you want to learn about all of this – read on!
Best Practices to Manage Fleet Productivity
If there’s a single concept that we recommend for getting your fleet to its optimal fleet productivity levels – that would be telematics. In essence, this is a combination of technology and information. It starts by equipping all of your vehicles with devices that transmit specific data back to the home office. That way, you will know the location of each of the drivers and trucks, and what they’re doing. Furthermore, such tech can also be utilized as a neat theft deterrent.
Combining GPS systems and telematics tech to monitor vehicles and drivers will also deter the latter from slacking on the job. Plus, if you spot any troublesome traffic spots that your drivers keep getting bogged down in, you can change their route in accordance with that. And that’s not where the usefulness of telematics ends; you can also use this tech to monitor fuel levels and speeds of all the different vehicles in your fleet. At the end of the day, these types of data will save you money and time, so that you can streamline the performance of your fleet.
Once you implement such systems, you should expect some grumbling from the driver staff. After all, they might take it personally; chances are that they could feel like they’re being watched too much, or micromanaged. But you should take all the necessary steps to encourage them, and help them realize that the only reason for the GPS’s existence is to provide more efficiency. In the long run, as the company nets bigger profits, this will be good for them as well.
If we’re talking about improving fleet efficiency, doing proper maintenance is crucial. As we’ll talk about below, it’s perfectly reasonable to replace a vehicle when it stops being up to the standards you require. On the other hand, however; that doesn’t mean you should neglect the current vehicles in your fleet.
It’s crucial that your vehicles are in working order all of the time. If they are running at their fullest capacity, you won’t find adverse effects on your company’s bottom line or customer relations. Don’t worry – telematics can be of use here as well. Once you have detailed data on your vehicle’s state and “behavior” on the road, you’ll be able to more-or-less precisely predict when you’ll need to perform some maintenance.
Using such information, it will be easier to budget and plan for repairs before they become an utter necessity. And as you probably know yourself, maintaining any kind of part is cheaper than completely replacing it once it breaks down. With this in mind, the telematics data will help you reduce costs in the long run. Plus, if you do maintenance regularly and before the vehicles are out of order, you won’t have out-of-service trucks when they’re needed the most.
Despite your doing everything you can to keep your fleet in order, there’s one simple question you need to keep asking yourself – are the vehicles in your fleet fully meeting expectations? Even if you do everything right, the reality of the matter is that you’ll need to replace your vehicles at some point or another. Now that you know this, you don’t want this replacement to be a sudden unplanned expense. Instead, constantly check your vehicles to see if:
- Your vehicles are as safe as possible, instead of breaking down all the time?
- The maintenance expenses for a particular model are getting out of control?
- You’re spending more finances on the upkeep of an old vehicle than it would cost you to buy a new one?
- A new vehicle would be more efficient than the one you currently operate with?
When you do decide to buy a new vehicle, you need to pause and think about whether it’s better to buy a used vehicle or a new one. There are pros and cons to both. For instance, buying used ones will usually mean a lower asking price from the seller; but then you might end up spending the same money on upkeep and repairs that the company did on its current vehicles. On the other hand, buying a newer vehicle will mean a bigger investment upfront, but lower maintenance costs for a long while.
Plus, there could be refunds or other investments waiting for you if you opt for a fleet that’s more environmentally friendly. Lastly, decide on when is the best moment for this purchase – New Year’s time, Memorial Day, Independence Day, those are all good moments for finding nice deals. Also, refer prices on these sites Edmunds, FindTheBestCarPrice, KBB, and other huge sites that have a lot of info on cars – used and/or new.
For finding the best auto loan deal, though, there are three things you need to know…
- The lowest possible interest rates that participating lenders have recently offered
- Your interest rate estimates
- How much you could afford
Sure, there’s no change bigger than getting rid of old vehicles and buying new ones when it comes to fleet productivity management. But remember – if you do everything you can to make sure your vehicles are up to snuff, this investment in money and effort will pay off. Regardless of the business niche that we’re talking about, the competition is bigger than ever before with the advent of a global market.
Thus, companies need to do everything they can to make sure they’re ahead of the curve. And that’s as true for huge, sweeping ideas as it is for smart logistics tweaks; the latter being more important than people give it credit.