If you’ve already taken the plunge and started your own business: congratulations. That first step is vital tostart making your dreams reality.
But now what?
If you’ve started a business you probably dream of turning it into a market leader in your industry. But with a growing business comes many more risks. We want to help you manage one area of your business so you can avoid problems and taste success even sooner than you thought possible: managing your fleet.
Why Can’t You Ignore Fleet Management Any Longer?
Does your business need a few vehicles for sales representatives or a large number of trucks for your delivery business? In all scenarios, fleet management will impact your finances and how quickly you can scale your business. Your vehicles make up a large part of your business’ assets that you need to protect and let’s not forget running costs that daily affect your cashflow.
Can you see why your fleet determines how your business grows? Now, let’s help you get it right.
4 Tips to Get Fleet Management Right
Investing in Accessories
When you look at everything that’s necessary to keep your fleet operational, you’re probably wondering where you can cut corners. Adding one new vehicle to your fleet doesn’t require the vehicle’s cost only; you have to budget for accessories, from signage to safety equipment.
Our tip to you: DON’T take the chance of not investing in the necessary equipment such as tie down straps for delivery trucks or electric winches for construction site vehicles. It’s a huge expense to accessorise your fleet, but it’s an investment rather than an expense, because:
- On the day you need a winch, it will cost much more to hire someone else’s.
- Not using the appropriate safety gear could lead to legal problems or your insurance may not pay out a claim.
- Your workers’ safety and work conditions depend on how you accessorise your fleet.
Where CAN You Cut Costs?
Expanding your fleet brings along more expenses, so of course you need to keep cost management at the top of your priority list—but not by cutting the wrong corners.
So, what CAN you do?
Savings may be a little at a time, but you’ll save a lot in the long run if you pursue the following:
- Cut back on fuel costs by analysing routes and picking the best, shortest ones.
- Keep maintenance up to date so your vehicles perform optimally and don’t use unnecessary amounts of fuel & oil.
- Your insurance costs may come down if pick certain routes.
- Don’t overload a vehicle, because it will affect fuel consumption.
Do You Have the Right Team and How do You Manage Them?
Now, it’s also important to discuss managing your team that will use your vehicles. They are the ones who will help you save costs.
It’s important to pick a team that will look after your vehicles—your assets—as well as you would do it yourself. You won’t always be present, so you must be able to trust your team. Employ drivers and fleet managers that have reputations of looking after vehicles entrusted to them.
Then, workers’ happiness affects job performance. You can’t control their personal decisions, but you play a role in how satisfied they feel with their careers. Try and create a partnership with drivers, where everyone works together in delivering the best results:
- On time deliveries
- Excellent fuel consumption
- Low maintenance costs and repair expenses
Often, business owners install devices that measure aspects like fuel consumption. When the data shows that one or some of the drivers’ driving results in high costs, you may be tempted to exercise disciplinary procedures. But the driver may not be aware of the full extent of his or her driving habits.
Rather, share the results with everyone, talk about how to curb costs and let team members advise each other. Also provide relevant training. Now it becomes a team project, rather than one driver feeling ousted.
This approach builds respect between all the role players; and respect is often more effective than using fear to manage your team.
Using Technology and Software to Your Advantage
Reading through the tips you may think growing your fleet results in a lot of extra work. It does, but a lot of these tasks are simplified with the help of modern technology:
- Set reminders for when services are due
- Run diagnostics to pick up on problems before a vehicle breaks down, so you prevent unnecessary expenses
- Install cameras to monitor driver activity, so you know how to help them improve
Ready to Grow?
You may be coping by doing things your way, but if your methods are outdated you’ll never be able to outshine your big competitors. Apply some of these fleet management tips to your business plan for 2020; it may just turn out to be THE year your business enjoys the growth you’ve hoped for since you took the first few steps as a business owner.
And if you have any insight to share with other small business owners, please share with the community in the comments section.