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Fleet Management Best Practices for Successful Fleet Managers

by Titan GPS

Regardless of the size of your fleet and the types of vehicles used, fleet management best practices are essential for several reasons. They help improve safety, increase productivity, aid in compliance, and boost profitability, to name a few. So when you put it all together, you’re able to run your fleet like a well-oiled machine. 

This post shares the most important fleet management best practices to ensure you cover all your bases and optimize every aspect of operations.

Fleet Management Metrics and KPIs Every Fleet Manager Should Track

Perhaps the best starting point is to identify which specific metrics and KPIs to track. This gives you an overarching view of fleet performance, so you know how your fleet stacks up and what your strengths and weaknesses are. 

While choosing metrics and KPIs will vary somewhat from company to company, here are some of the most crucial across the board:

  • Fuel usage and costs
  • Total cost per mile
  • Maintenance costs
  • Driver speed 
  • Number of safety violations
  • Number of vehicle accidents
  • Number of driver incidents (such as speeding, aggressive driving, and failure to use a seatbelt) 
  • Overall driver compliance
  • Number of service violations
  • Vehicle idle time
  • Total vehicle breakdowns
  • Average maintenance downtime

Calculate Your Fleet’s Total Cost of Ownership

Another metric that’s vitally important is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which is defined as “the total cost of owning a vehicle from the time of purchase by the owner, through its operation and maintenance to the time it leaves the possession of the owner.” 

This metric combines several different costs, including:

  • How much you initially spend on a fleet vehicle
  • Total fuel costs
  • Total amount spent on maintenance and repairs
  • Insurance costs
  • Miscellaneous fees, such as taxes, licenses, and storage

Figuring out TCO is crucial for long-term decision-making and will help you better select future fleet vehicles and vendors, choose between leasing or buying, and overall budgeting. So it’s important to be diligent about keeping close tabs on TCO.  


 

Follow Preventative Maintenance Schedule

There are two ways to go about your vehicle fleet management strategy. One is to take a reactive approach to maintenance where you wait for a breakdown to happen, often getting hit with costly repairs and extended periods of downtime as a result. The other is to take a preventative approach where you schedule maintenance on vehicles at planned intervals based on mileage, engine hours, or the number of liters used.

Vehicles will be inspected, tested, and serviced during preventative maintenance, where parts that need replacing are switched out. Nearly all experts agree, following a preventive maintenance schedule like this is always the better option because it dramatically reduces the need for costly emergency repairs that put a vehicle out of action for an extended time.  

Bob Zimmer, supply chain fleet technology senior manager at PepsiCo, has 35 years of fleet experience and sums it up with this quote: “If you are waiting until assets break before you fix them, it creates a never-ending circle. With a reactive focus, emergency repairs consume a fleet’s labor resources, and this circle leads to negative impacts on your business.”

If you’ve been using reactive maintenance until now, you’ll want to make the switch to following a preventive maintenance schedule, as this can significantly improve your profitability over time and prevent needless logistics headaches. 


 

Go Paperless: Invest in Fleet Management Software

Fleet managers spend, on average, a staggering 40% of their workweek on administrative tasks. Without an efficient system in place, it’s easy to become bogged down in paperwork, which is problematic because it inhibits a fleet manager’s ability to lead their team. Fortunately, cutting-edge technology like fleet management software allows you to significantly cut down on paperwork while at the same time centralizing documents and optimizing field operations.

Titan GPS FieldDocs, for example, has everything you need in a single operations management app that’s simple and user-friendly. You can use these digital forms to streamline vehicle and equipment inspections where drivers can conveniently choose any asset in your fleet, pinpoint issues, make comments, and take a picture to document the situation. In-field digital forms let you track the condition of a vehicle or equipment and easily schedule maintenance and repairs. 

 

FieldDocs also supports the option to create custom forms from various templates, set mandatory fields, send notifications to the appropriate parties, and digitally share them from anywhere. This, in turn, dramatically reduces paperwork and reduces your overall administrative burden.


 

Integrate Telematics Into Your Fleet Management Software

Another key part of fleet management best practices is using sophisticated telematics to continually gather information and maximize your fleet’s visibility. Telematics, for instance, can show you driver location, behavior, and whether or not they’re following safety protocol. That way, you always know what’s happening in real-time and can instantly respond to any issues.  

This technology also enables you to monitor the health of your fleet vehicles so you can respond to minor problems before they escalate into something major. As we mentioned earlier, preventive maintenance is crucial for lowering overall costs and downtime, and telematics plays a considerable role in this. Also, note that using an integrated telematics solution converts raw data into detailed reports with easy-to-digest visuals. That way, you can turn your data into actionable insights and put it to use right away to fully optimize your fleet. 


 

Improve Safety and Accountability with AI

As technology has advanced, adding AI has become part of a sound vehicle fleet management strategy. Two particular areas it can assist in are driver safety and accountability, with studies finding AI reduced accidents by 15%, improved driving behavior scores by 14%, and increased accountability by 20%. 

By using AI and similar technologies like machine learning, fleet managers can efficiently process data in a way that would otherwise be impossible in the past. As a result, you can contextualize data points for a clear picture of safety and accountability to identify specific areas for improvement or reward drivers for positive behavior. 


 

Stay Compliant

We don’t need to tell you how important compliance is. The cost of a civil penalty with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $11,000 USD, which can add up in a hurry when you’re talking about a large fleet. 

An integral part of staying compliant is accurately recording Hours of Service (HOS), such as driving hours, on-duty hours, and rest time. In the past, drivers could record that information with paper logbooks. In June 2022, there will be a major change: paper logs will no longer be acceptable. Instead, both Canadian and U.S. companies must record HOS using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).  

Therefore, you’ll want to use a reliable ELD and HOS Compliance Solution to meet the federal mandate. With it, hours are immediately tracked when a driver logs in to the platform and starts driving while supporting either Canadian or U.S. rules. 


 

Helping Your Company Win with Fleet Management Best Practices 

From safety and compliance to productivity and profitability, these fleet management ideas should help you gain more visibility and control of your fleet. That way, you can curb inefficiencies and continually optimize operations to put your company in a position to thrive. It boils down to defining your priorities and knowing which fleet management best practices to focus on. 

 Talk to an expert and discover the potential of implementing tailored fleet management technology into your daily operations.

 

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