For many companies, smooth functioning of the fleet is paramount to business growth, efficiency, and prosperity. In a wake of a serious problem, some businesses would even get their operations paralysed and reputation tarnished.
To prevent any mishaps and hiccups, there must be a game plan and everyone needs to pull their weight. In other words, businesses are required to grasp the big management picture but also keep a close eye on the maintenance specifics.
All hands on deck
Professional fleet management is the only way to go. This practice pays dividends in the long run, by lowering costs and maximizing returns. To reap these benefits, one has to carry out proper and regular maintenance of every single vehicle, both in the cabin and under the hood.
Of course, not all vehicles are created equal and consequently, they have different maintenance requirements. Nevertheless, the core of fleet management is the process of overseeing, organizing, and recording everything related to the vehicles.
Reliability is the bedrock of productivity, while aesthetics often take a back seat. For instance, unless you feature sales vehicles, they do not have to be absolutely spotless. It’s not a great thing, but service vehicles are usually not perfectly clean.
All systems go
Note that it all starts with a comprehensive policy in place. Its prime purpose is to define clear responsibilities of staff members that handle general cleanness and technical maintenance. And to fully implement it, most companies rely on checklists that outline specific responsibilities.
Among them, we usually come across oil changes, preventive maintenance checks, title transfers, repairs, and registration renewals. Additionally, you can find a reliable car key locksmith that can come to your location if any of the keys are lost, stolen, or broken, for instance.
To make sense of it all and streamline the management planning and execution, note that there are two basic categories of fleet management: administrative and management. The former encompasses the paper flow, communication, driver training, data capture and access. Its main goal is to define how things are done. As for the management side of things, it focuses on what exactly is to be done. Namely, it sets the repair schedule, shapes the recruitment policy, identifies money-saving practices, etc.
Highways and byways of practice
Simply creating policies and thinking everybody will uphold them is not an overly likely scenario. There are, however, certain things you can do to facilitate their implementation. One great way to entice drivers to maintain the vehicles with the utmost care is to give them a chance to purchase the vehicles eventually, for a discount price. This kind of extra motivation tends to increase the longevity of cars and minimize negligent care.
Furthermore, managers should always get a monthly feedback from the drivers to figure out if maintenance personnel need to go an extra mile to fix the issues. It is also a good idea to educate those who spend time behind the wheel on the value of good maintenance. Naturally, it goes without saying that new drivers need to go through training, while seasoned veterans can use a periodical refreshment course.
Cover all the bases
Finally, we come to the vital task of keeping track and evaluating the quality of conducted maintenance. Know that there are several ways to monitor the policies in action. Producing reports upon maintenance is perhaps the most straightforward tactic. What is more, telematics and digital fleet technologies also help a great deal and enable individual appraisal of drivers. So, constantly record and keep accurate data.
In case you lack the manpower or other resources to tackle the matrix of complex tasks yourself, do not fret. Consider outsourcing some of them to fleet management companies that are popping up across the globe. On the other hand, bear in mind that any task that involves the allocation of the company’s resources should not be outsourced.
Set the wheels in motion
Fleets come in many shapes and sizes, but they all demand proper management and maintenance. There are multifarious responsibilities and specific details to factor in. Start by creating a policy and determining the steps to implement it. Plan ahead of time and make informed decisions. Encourage the drivers and maintenance staff to perform their duties with flying colours.
Nobody can afford to be asleep at the wheel if you are to keep the fleet in top condition.