11 Challenges Faced By Fleet Managers And How To Overcome Them

fleet managers guide

Fleet management is a challenging industry to work within, as obstacles may present themselves in many forms. Moreover, each fleet has unique operational demands and requirements, where specific issues may arise. As a result, it is the fleet manager’s job to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Fleet managers must take care of a safe, efficient, and productive fleet, which may involve managing maintenance, fuel consumption, along with other fleet expenses. Therefore, to keep pace with a constantly evolving business sector, it is crucial that fleet managers stay prepared by using the best resources. Below you will find some of the most common challenges faced by fleet managers on a daily basis and their solutions.

Driver Shortages

One of the most pressing concerns for fleet managers in the past decade has been the shortage of drivers. There has been an increase in demands for freight transport, while the number of driver applications has declined. As a result, many drivers are often loaded with more hours, deliveries, and stress, which leads not only to mistakes being made but also to high turnover. Consequently, this can only make the problem worse. If you are having trouble finding new drivers, it is best to uncover hidden inefficiencies and identify more productive and efficient routes for your current drivers.

Outdated and Old Processes

When it comes to fleet management, the processes and solutions you choose to deploy will dictate success. Instead of relying on paper forms, invoices, and complex spreadsheets for your tachograph analysis, it may be beneficial to implement a tachograph analysis software, such as FleetGO. This is the best tachograph analysis software in the UK, which is designed to manage, control, and check your business’s tachograph files. You will be in full control of your tachograph archive thanks to easy-to-use dashboards, reports, and alerts. In addition, tachograph analysis software can help you ensure legal compliance and produce driver infringement reports.

Fluctuating Fuel Costs

Fluctuating fuel costs can make it difficult to predict how much fuel will cost at any given time. Also, even when prices are low, fuel is still a considerable expense for fleet managers. One of the best ways to future-proof your fuel costs is to make sure you stay on top of fuel discrepancies within your fleet. This means that you may need to consider your fleet’s average fuel consumption on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. As a result, you will quickly identify any discrepancies and forecast fuel costs for the future more accurately.

Vehicle Maintenance

The expense of managing a large fleet is often costly, and this means that many fleet managers may end up spending more than necessary. However, service and maintenance are crucial elements of a successful fleet management business. Therefore, vehicles need to be maintained to a high standard to stay efficient and safe. It is important to keep track of the maintenance schedule for your entire fleet. However, this can take time, so you may want to automate some of these key tasks. It may be useful to automate preventive maintenance schedules and set up alerts to let you know when vehicles need unexpected maintenance.

Poor Communication

When your drivers are on the road, it can be difficult to contact them, as you can’t call, text, or email them. This means that you may have to spend hours trying to reach them, which can affect your fleet’s productivity. Miscommunication is a common challenge and it can often lead to problems with schedules and decreased efficiency for managers and drivers alike. Therefore, it is essential to create a detailed communication plan, which sets out where, when, and how people will communicate with each other. Ensure that your entire team is aware of the processes and procedures, as well as how information is communicated.

Environmental Controls

Extreme climatic events have resulted in greater awareness of climate change, which has led to new clean air standards. As environmental legislation is being tightened, fleet managers need to be aware of any changes that may be introduced. This means that fleet managers must familiarise themselves with current issues and formulate their own strategies. It is also crucial to find ways to minimise the environmental impact of your fleet. You will need to abide by clear air zones, where action is taken to improve air quality.

Driver Behaviour

An important concern is driver behaviour, because excessive idling and aggressive driver behaviour can lead to many issues, such as disruptions and lost productivity. Therefore, once you have hired and trained a driver, you will need to invest in their development. It is important to ensure that drivers are educated on good driving habits, such as following road rules and traffic regulations. Engaging drivers in training will allow them to learn more about the consequences of fatigued, distracted, and impaired driving. You can also introduce a driver system that offers incentives for good driver performance.

Drivers must understand their function in the company and be held accountable for their behavior. However, you have no control over what your driver consumes. Suppose an accident occurs, and the driver is accused of driving under the influence of intoxicants. In that case, it is essential to call a DWI attorney who can assist with legal problems and manage the issue. A qualified lawyer can help them safeguard their driving rights and guarantee that they receive a fair penalty. As a result, it will be beneficial to your company's reputation as well.

Road Infrastructure And Heavy Congestion

Lack of road infrastructure and increased congestion are perpetual problems for many fleet managers, drivers, and customers. Although funding helps to improve roads, the process often seems a step behind the requirements and growing population of drivers. As a result, it is crucial to optimise the most commonly used routes by your vehicles. For example, it may be useful to compare journeys from different days to different times so that you can find out what works and what doesn’t. This way, you can avoid bad congestion at peak times. It is also best to send drivers that are closest to customer appointments in order to decrease time spent in traffic.

Adhering To Budgets

Regardless of the industry, as a fleet manager, you must adhere to budgets. It is crucial to take control of your finances so that you can make cost-effective decisions. Managing your budget and expenses can be difficult, as there are so many variables to consider. To address this challenge, it is best to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO). A vehicle’s TCO consists of both fixed costs and also variable costs. For example, fixed costs may include taxes, fees, permits, loan payments, and insurance, while variable costs can include fuel, maintenance, and labour. An accurate calculation can help you determine when to replace fleet vehicles.

Compliance With Regulations

In an industry, such as fleet management, fleet managers must stay up-to-date with the latest regulations affecting the industry. This is especially important when it comes to safe driving practices, such as driving the likes of HGVs. Safety and risk management are key to avoiding fines, reducing accidents, and higher insurance costs. Also, any employee that operates a vehicle must be both certified and determined to be in good health. They must have a valid licence and relevant driver training for the vehicle they are going to operate.

Driver Safety

As a fleet manager, you will also need to be upfront with your expectations and transparent with all updates to ensure the safety of drivers and other road users. It is important to have policies in place, that your team can follow. All safety protocols must be actively displayed so that drivers can easily view it. You will need to find reliable strategies to prevent excessive speeding and sudden braking. These practices are not only hard on fleet vehicles, but they can also be hazardous to other drivers. In addition, you should carry out inspections on a regular basis, such as ensuring tires have the correct pressure and brakes are functioning properly.

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