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It takes more than a certificate, a smart suit, and a clipboard to manage a fleet. After reading this article, you will be equipped with all the tools and knowledge you need to become a great fleet manager.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to moving a product from your warehouse to the vehicle transporting it, and finally to its end destination. To ensure that this entire process runs smoothly, a successful fleet manager needs to keep a close eye on every detail all day, every week, with fleet management technology.
Discover the nine skills every fleet manager needs for success
Understand the responsibilities and duties of a fleet manager
Unpack five ways fleet managers reduce fuel consumption and save money
Learn how Cartrack's fleet management solutions and features can help you manage your fleet
What is a fleet manager’s job description?
A fleet or transportation manager is a person in charge of a company's fleets. They are responsible for overseeing fleet asset management operations inside the organisation and oversee every step, from hiring to maintaining fleet productivity and everything in between with fleet technology.
Fleet managers are the right-hand men of the business, they assist with navigating various tasks and difficulties that their fleet might face while on the road or on-site. They also develop regulations based on organisational requirements to handle car utilisation, driver behaviour, and driver schedules.
All this and more, to ensure that a business operates effectively, safely, and legally.
Ways to become a good fleet manager
Time is one thing a fleet manager doesn't have much of, so let's jump right in. Here is all the information you need to become a good fleet manager:
Becoming a transpiration manager usually requires a degree in a relevant field like business administration or logistics, but even with a degree in place, you can still get more information with further education courses. In South Africa, Transport management is offered at UNISA and UCT has Supply Chain Management available. In the U.S., NAFA offers Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM) and Certified Automotive Fleet Specialist (CAFS) programs. These can be found in most higher education facilities around the world.
If you’re not the academic type but still want to become a fleet manager, then an apprenticeship is the way to go. This practical way of doing things gives you the chance to learn fast on the job while also earning a salary for your hard work. Seeking a mentor will also guide and help you gain free experience and the essential expertise needed to use a fleet management system. Joining an organisation for a few months gives you valuable insight into the industry you want to work in.
Another excellent way to improve your knowledge and abilities is by attending conferences or workshops and networking. Learning and building your skills to suit this job is a good start, but networking with people will bring you a few more opportunities you might not have had access to before. Attend national fleet management meetings, participate in fleet industry associations, and network with peers and suppliers to maximise networking opportunities.
9 easy tips you need to become a successful fleet manager
1. Good leadership
Just because you have the title to manage drivers doesn’t mean they will follow your orders or even listen. A good leader inspires confidence in their drivers to follow their managers lead and trust that the decisions made will improve their work ethic.
2. Communicate like a pro
There are many different communication types, and you must choose the right one for your fleet. Ensure that your message is clear and that your team understands you. Finding this sweet spot in communication with your whole fleet is a skill that not many managers get a hang of, and many others are still trying to perfect.
3. Digital know-how
A little digital assistance is always needed, especially if you’re managing a large fleet and have to keep up with assets daily and gathered information. Tracking systems and telematics can help account for all your vehicles and provide complete vehicle diagnostics for each one. While fleet management platforms assist with financing, vehicle utilisation, vehicle reports, employee management and more. This improves processing time and frees up time for other tasks.
Being able to think on your feet means having the ability to multitask and keep track of all your responsibilities, like scheduling vehicle downtime, checking driver availability, sorting speeding tickets, managing fleet logistics, etc. Being in this fast-paced, demanding role means being able to quickly adapt, control and keep up with the business and its growth.
5. Budget management
Fleet managers are required to create budgets every now and then, this means you have to be able to run an efficient fleet and provide top-rate service with minimum financing. You have to have a deep understanding of the business, the industry and current economic conditions to make financial decisions that will benefit the business. Factor in the working rates of your workers and the hours they've worked on a weekly/monthly basis, as no matter how thin finances are stretched, paying drivers wages on time should be a priority.
As a fleet manager, you’re in the know about fleet management decision-making, from your drivers to your vehicles. This change of pace requires a sharp mind and fast thinking. You need to adapt to managing multiple drivers and vehicles while keeping up with legislation and vehicle management software. If something goes wrong with a delivery, like an accident, managers have to act fast, communicate with the client, ensure their driver is safe and send another vehicle to complete the delivery if possible.
7. Business management
Good communication and building trusting relationships don't just extend to your fleet. Knowing company and driver policies, keeping up-to-date with regulatory requirements, and maintaining collaborative relationships with both internal and external stakeholders will help your business avoid fines and ensure maximum safety. Depending on the industry you operate in, knowing specific laws and legislation regarding transporting certain products, such as meat, or pharmaceuticals, is important to avoid damage or spoiling of goods.
8. Make safety a priority
Growing a safety culture within the fleet can reduce company liability and enhance safety measures on worksites. Managers can increase security with features such as driver scorecards that show how safely employees drive by monitoring high-risk behaviours like harsh acceleration, cornering and braking. Additionally, live AI-powered cams equipped with in-cabin real-time alerts can ensure drivers are focused, not fatigued or distracted to help prevent accidents and increase accountability.
9. Up performance standards and become metric-driven
Reaching business goals means keeping track of fleet metrics and the progress of your fleet. Managers are always looking at the numbers through GPS fleet tracking technology to keep an eye on vehicle performance, review fleet diagnostic reports, or monitor asset usage to make cost-effective decisions and see if key elements in the fleet can be improved.
Fleet manager's tasks and responsibilities
The overall job of fleet operations is to keep costs low, minimise fuel consumption and maximise productivity, all while successfully overseeing a fleet.
In addition, fleet managers ensure all legal aspects are taken care of, they must be informed about every legal issue regarding their fleet the moment they occur. This includes speeding tickets, expired licence discs, or accidents. If these legal problems fall through the cracks or are not communicated, operations and deliveries could come to a screeching halt, or at the very least, slow down because of costly vehicle downtime.
Here are five simple ways fleet managers can reduce costs and keep everything within budget:
Track driver behaviour
The way drivers operate vehicles and trucks has a huge influence on fuel economy and vehicle longevity. Fleet management software makes tracking driver behaviour easy by recording various risky events such as harsh braking, cornering, and speeding, as well as monitoring driver behaviour behind the wheel through installed cameras. This helps with driver awareness, decreasing idling and other fuel-burning behaviours.
In a fleet, as vehicles get older, the cost of maintenance increases. To combat frequent garage visits and constant replacing of parts, fleet managers have to keep up with each vehicle’s service and maintenance plans or choose to replace their vehicles every few years as new vehicles are more affordable in the long run and will help ensure production runs without problems occuring.
Right-sizing This is letting go of unused or unfit vehicles in your fleet. With the reduced number of vehicles, managers can focus on optimising vehicle usage, conserving fuel, reducing emissions, and ultimately saving money on fuel and vehicle maintenance.
Route optimisation software
This software is a feature that takes information like travel time and distance into account and provides multiple route options that are shorter to take and burn less fuel. This feature is mostly used when delivering to multiple locations in the same area. It makes the delivery process more efficient by avoiding deviations and helping drivers cut time on the road and deliver packages according to the scheduled time or even sooner.
Utilise electronic vehicles in your fleet Operating a fleet in countries that often have power outages, such as South Africa, might make using electric vehicles a disadvantage, but in truth, the cost of electric vehicles is much cheaper to afford than vehicles that rely on fuel, especially regarding maintenance costs and services. Recharging these vehicles is more affordable in the long run than paying for fuel, especially with ever-increasing fuel prices.
Behind every well-run fleet is an effective fleet manager and a decent fleet management system. Cartrack helps successful managers effectively oversee a fleet of any size with fleet management solutions through trusted Cartrack features and in their tracking system.
For Fleet Managers - One Fleet Management Solution To Do It All
You’re a few clicks away from being equipped with cost-effective, industry-leading fleet management services. Get a free quote and visit Cartrack for more information and tips.
Discover essential fleet management tips to become a successful fleet manager. Learn how to effectively manage drivers and vehicles for business success.