Having a well-organized, productive fleet is every fleet manager’s dream. But, as it is with all dreams, it can be quite hard to make them into reality. More often than not, fleet managers struggle to handle their vehicles and drivers, not knowing how to organize and prepare them for the journeys ahead. So, to help you out, we will cover the top ways to optimize fleet productivity.
Why is it essential to maintain fleet productivity?
If you are new to fleet management, you might be wondering why it is necessary to handle fleet productivity. Surely you can rely on your driver’s experience to be as time and cost-effective as possible, right? Well, not quite. Having a productive fleet is a multilayered, continual project that you need to tackle with due care. If you manage to do so properly, you will:
- Lower fuel costs.
- Increase work performance.
- Lower vehicle malfunctions.
- Lower maintenance and repair costs.
- Increase compliance and safety.
- Streamline project management.
- Lower the stress that your workers experience.
So, all in all, tackling fleet productivity is well worth your time, especially if you are tackling something as serious as shipping between Arizona and Saudi Arabia. There, you really need to be ready to learn and open yourself up to new ideas.
How to optimize fleet productivity?
So, with this in mind, how should you go about optimizing fleet productivity? Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that this is a complex project. Certain solutions can yield surprising benefits. But, more often than not, you will have to apply a couple of changes if you are to see any significant increase in productivity. The important thing is to monitor these changes and your fleet to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Unfortunately, there is no “one for all” solution when it comes to fleet management. This is why every fleet manager needs to understand their fleet and the demands laid upon them if they are to optimize productivity.
Delegate fleet management
One of the common mistakes that fleet managers make is that they try to handle everything, from receiving requests to organizing them and setting up vehicles and drivers. This usually leads to poor performance, as there is only so much a person can attend to, even if they are quite capable. Trying to do everything on your own only leads to confusion and poor performance.
So, the first way you can improve fleet productivity is to delegate the fleet manager’s obligations. At the least, you need to have a person handling logistics and a person for monitoring vehicle health. The more people you can find to help you manage your fleet, the easier it will be to both run and optimize it.
Another thing that fleet managers often fail to do is regularly maintain vehicles. Due to being overworked, they simply put vehicle maintenance on the backburner. “Once something happens, I will deal with it” is the usual motto of most overworked fleet managers. Well, this moto is not only costly but can also be dangerous.
Let us get one thing straight: You need to keep your vehicles in order. If your drivers and logistic managers are going to do their jobs properly, they need to trust their vehicles. Keep in mind that shipping heavy items over long distances will take a toll on them, so do everyone a favor and perform regular checkups and maintenance. Doing so is not only safer but is also much more cost-effective than fixing them once issues come up. You can even install software that will monitor your vehicles’ overall health and notify you when it’s due for a checkup.
Use advanced communication software
And while we are on the subject of software, let us mention that as a fleet manager, you need to have open communication with your team. The only way your team can even be remotely productive is when they can easily communicate with each other. This goes beyond simple voice communication, as your managers might need to send map details, transportation paperwork and permits, or messages from clients. So, your job is to ensure that your workers have a stable network between them and reliable devices that will support that network. Here, again, you will find that technology has come a long way since walkie talkies.
Work with your drivers
Too many fleet managers focus on making their drivers productive instead of helping them be so. In order to have a well-functioning fleet, you need to ensure that you and your drivers are on the same page. More often than not, they can give you valuable advice on how to increase productivity and optimize shipments. Furthermore, the better you can communicate with them, the less stressed out they will be. You should always reward good performance in drivers to incentivize hard work. This approach is usually much better than criticizing your drivers and keeping them under constant surveillance.
Monitor your fleet’s performance
The final tip we have for optimizing fleet productivity is to monitor your performance. You can rely on merely feeling it out and getting feedback from your drivers and managers whether your changes are working. But, if you are serious about optimization, you need to find a way to track your performance objectively. Things like fuel cost, shipment efficiency, vehicle maintenance costs, customer feedback, etc. All of these are indicators of how productive your fleet is. So, the more closely and thoroughly you can follow them, the easier it will be to find new ways to improve.