When growing your business, scaling up solutions is perhaps the most important thing to consider. If you want to grow a company, it means taking on more customers and that in turn means requiring more from your business. You need to expand your system to be able to process more orders, you need to add new vehicles if you’re a transport company, and you need more seating space if you own a restaurant.
Scaling up your solutions can be tricky if you’re not well-versed with business as a whole, and there are many intricate subjects that you need to think about if you want to successfully grow your company and build better solutions to cope with that growth. To help you out, we’re going to talk about one of the biggest tasks when it comes to growing your company; fleet management.
What is fleet management and why should I care?
Fleet management is something that needs to be considered if you have any vehicles in your business. This could mean company vehicles for your senior management, running a private transport company or even having logistics vehicles such as trucks and vans. There are plenty of reasons to care about fleet management and it usually comes down to a few points:
Reducing wasted capital
Keeping track of your vehicles
Preventing fraud and theft
Making better use of your investment
Ensuring you have qualified drivers
Improving the customer experience
There are many concerns when operating a fleet, but we’ll help you ease those worries with these fleet management tips that all growing businesses should take on board to help them manage such a complicated task.
1. Choosing the right vehicle for your needs
You’re obviously going to want a large vehicle for transporting goods and you want to avoid expensive cars for employees that won’t be using them very often. Make smart decisions with your fleet management by focusing on choosing the right vehicle for your needs.
Buying a car is not cheap and even if you purchase it with company capital, it can be a huge investment that will make a large dent in your funds. Make sure that, if you do purchase a vehicle for your company, that it fits its intended purpose. The last thing you want is to buy the wrong vehicle and have to replace or sell it, and you also don’t want vehicles that are difficult to maintain if they’re going to be in constant use because it can cause widespread delays.
2. Ensuring you hire the right drivers
It’s important that any driver you hire is qualified for the job. There’s a huge difference between hiring “a driver” and hiring a driver that is actually competent in their work and understands the role they play in your business. Fleet managers typically have to screen all potential drivers to ensure that they’re honest, hard-working and won’t use their vehicles for unauthorized reasons.
Hiring fleet drivers can often be done through a trusted agency, but if you’d prefer to handle it by yourself, then it’s worth speaking with your human resources department to see how you can approach it. Remember that background checks are important, and testing the driver’s ability can be time-consuming but reveals a lot about how they drive.
3. Combating theft
Theft, especially fuel theft, is actually a major concern when it comes to fleet management. Because your company is paying for the fuel, some fleet drivers will take advantage of you and use your company to pay to fuel their own vehicles. In addition, some people might even siphon fuel from your larger vehicles such as trucks.
The first line of defense is to get gas cards for small fleets. These can be used at the majority of gas stations in the country, provide security features and you can even control how much is purchased with them. For even more security to combat theft, you can also keep track of fuel logs and look for discrepancies such as large volumes of fuel “suddenly” disappearing or fuel usage not matching up with the distance that was supposed to be covered by the driver. In short, you’ll have to analyze a lot of different things in order to combat theft in your fleet.
4. Improving service with the use of GPS
Depending on what your fleet’s use is, you might want to think about GPS. For instance, if your fleet is being used to deliver products to end customers, then adding a GPS tracker can be a great way to give your customers visibility on where their order is. This can help to improve the customer experience and gives them a way to keep track of their delivery.
This also helps you because it gives you a visual map of where your entire fleet is. This can help you reduce fraud, it can help you keep track of where your vehicles are going and it can also provide you with up-to-date information on your fleet. This control helps you find inefficiencies and gives you data to work with when it comes to optimizing your business.
5. Saving money on repairing your fleet
Repairing vehicles is an important part of fleet management and it takes a lot of work to be able to identify, diagnose and finally repair those issues while keeping your business running. If you have a relatively large fleet, then it’s not unheard of to actually hire a fleet mechanic into your company to work exclusively on your fleet. You’ll also want to purchase more vehicles than you actually need, keeping one or two vehicles spare in the event that one of your vehicles breaks down.
If you don’t have a large enough fleet to warrant hiring a mechanic, then it’s a good idea to partner with a local mechanic or garage to help you get work done as soon as possible. Teaching your drivers how to diagnose their vehicles and report on problems can also help prevent issues from appearing in the first place and extend the life of your fleet.