Did you know that more than 70% of the freight moving across the U.S. is carried by trucks? With so much cargo moving on a daily basis, it takes nearly 38 million trucks to make this a possibility.
Countless trucking operations are in place to manage these trucks. But it’s the individual fleet management teams that ultimately keep the logistics industry moving forward at all times.
Fleet vehicle management is not an easy job. There are countless factors to consider when planning routes and sending drivers, along with many unfortunate surprises to be ready for at any given moment.
Need some help running a business with a commercial fleet? Keep reading below to discover six of the most important fleet management tips you can implement today.
1. Understand the Benefits of Fleet Vehicle Management
Before you can effectively revamp your fleet, you need to understand why it’s so important to learn and implement new practices with your team.
There are countless benefits when it comes to effective fleet management.
For one, properly managing a fleet of vehicles reduces safety hazards. Trucking accidents are common. If your drivers are overworked, they become a massive liability to you, your company, and the general public.
Better routes, better trucks, and properly trained drivers help eliminate the risks.
Effective fleet management also boosts the productivity of your fleet, helping you get more done in less time. On top of that, you can find ways to streamline expenses and save money.
Every positive action you can take as a fleet manager can add up to a big boost in the company’s bottom line. That’s why the best fleet managers aren’t simply trying to manage, they seek to improve on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis.
2. Preventative Maintenance
One of the biggest responsibilities of a fleet manager is to ensure all vehicles within that fleet are in safe, working condition. To keep drivers safe, and routes on time, you need to know your trucks aren’t going to break down.
To do this, you need to create aggressive maintenance schedules and stick to them. Trucks need to be repaired, and parts replaced before they run their course.
In the past, maintenance was hard to track for dozens, if not hundreds of vehicles. But if you’re using modern fleet management software. scheduling maintenance for an infinite number of vehicles is easier than ever.
With a proactive maintenance schedule, you’ll experience fewer breakdowns out on the open road, helping to save time and money, and prevent negative customer experiences by ensuring deliveries are made on time.
3. Diesel Delivery
You could leave it up to your drivers to refuel their trucks each day as they start their route. But sending out dozens of drivers to the fuel station at the same time is a terrible idea.
This is how you start wasting money. For one, they need to use fuel to get to the station. And each driver that is waiting in line for fuel is costing you money.
If you have dozens of trucks like this, a better option is diesel delivery. With a local delivery company, you can have your trucks refueled on site before drivers start their shifts.
This saves money and time and provides your fleet with a big boost in daily productivity. Also, having a relationship with a fuel delivery company is key for times when drivers run out of gas on the open road.
Vehicle fuel delivery services can meet them in any location, at any time, to get them back on track.
4. Regular Driver Training
When you hire a new driver, you’ll put them through a training program to ensure they are safe on the road and know how to operate their vehicle and handle deliveries.
But the training shouldn’t stop there. The best fleets are those that invest in regular training for their drivers.
This includes safety training and helping them stay safe on the road while driving a massive vehicle. But it also includes personal health and wellness training.
What your drivers eat and drink, how they sleep at night, how they manage their stress levels, and how they stretch and get exercise will greatly impact their performance on the job.
Not only that, but those who manage their health well will be less likely to fall asleep at the wheel, keeping everyone safe.
A good fleet manager will plan a minimum of one training session per month, if not more.
5. Communication Is Key
Truck drivers spend most of their workdays alone. They are hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away from their operational headquarters.
To ensure your fleet is running smoothly, and everyone is doing their job, constant communication is critical. You can’t send a driver out and then not communicate with them for six hours.
You need to be communicating with individual drivers at regular intervals, to ensure they are where they need to be. Doing this can also ensure they are awake and well.
Communication shouldn’t only happen between you and drivers, but with customers as well. Providing delivery updates is important so that customers are prepared when a truck arrives.
You want to ensure the loading bay is ready to receive a truck so that there isn’t any idle time for your drivers.
6. Fleet Tracking Software
There are countless types of software you can use to help maintain and manage your fleet. But one of the most important is fleet tracking software.
Every vehicle in your fleet should be equipped with a tracking device. And your software should provide you with live updates of your fleet.
This lets you know where drivers are at any given moment, so you can see who is ahead of schedule, and who is behind, and helps you anticipate problems before they occur.
On top of efficiency, fleet tracking software is important for safety. If a truck is stolen and starts to head outside of its intended route, you can find out immediately and take the appropriate actions.
Manage a Fleet the Right Way
Fleet vehicle management is no easy task. But with the right training, the right tools, and the right mindset, you can effectively manage a fleet of dozens or hundreds of vehicles without feeling overwhelmed.
Looking for more tips on increasing productivity? Head to our blog now to find other helpful articles.