If your small business fleet depends on one or more vehicles, strategic management decisions are imperative to ensuring a smooth operation. Essentially, fleet management is very similar to supervising a team of people. Just as your employee may report sick, mechanical or electrical failure to one of your delivery trucks is a potential spanner in the works.
Handling unplanned events like employee sick leave or vehicle breakdowns is always disruptive. That is because we take it for granted that everything is going to run like clockwork, with no sudden surprises from the fleet or the staff. No problem when it comes to an event such as staff time off or vehicle maintenance, because it is an expected event and we plan around it.
7 Tips for Fleet Management and Smooth Operating
1. Record Keeping
Perhaps your business is fortunate enough to have effective vehicle management software in place, in which case, keep it updated and accurate. If not, any decent spreadsheet application will help you track essentials such as servicing, cost of parts and repairs, and fuel consumption.
2. Driver Communication
Each driver should know their vehicle better than anybody should, because they use it every day. Encourage them to report problems when they return to base, or by phoning in if some things looks serious or suspicious on the road. When this happens, assure them that they will still receive their pay while the vehicle is in for repairs.
3. Keep your Fleet Properly Insured
It may prove a grudge payment, but covering your fleet for all eventualities will make good sense when a problem crops up. General business insurance may not cover fleet and commercial vehicles, but there are a variety of options and plans available. Talk directly to your commercial insurance broker to work out the best plan for your small business fleet.
4. Develop Sound Relationships with Your Service Providers
Since the team at your preferred service provider is likely to prove your fleet’s best friend, it is important to have an open and honest relationship in place. Communication is a two way street, so open the hailing channel and enjoy a sound working relationship.
5. Regular Tire Checks Count
Fleet vehicles are workhorses and tire wear will take its toll. This is a justified business expense and one that needs factoring into your costing. Regular checks are important and you can delegate this to each driver. Make them proud, and keep them safe. Include proper inflation checks as part of the daily ritual. Good tires mean safer handling and lower running costs over time.
6. Regular Service Intervals
Using a rotating schedule allows you to keep each fleet vehicle in tip-top running condition with minimum disruption to your business. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations regarding maintenance intervals and service types. Skipping an important oil change may have costly consequences for that vehicle and your pocket.
7. Rotate Maintenance
Depending on the size of your fleet, you may be able to schedule all vehicles to the workshop and get them serviced in one day. Larger fleets are different, requiring a rotating schedule to keep as many vehicles productive as possible. Sell the idea of career training and/or administrative duties while their truck is out of commission.
Hotwire Insurance Services, a full-service independent agency, works for you and not insurance companies and does not charge a broker’s fee. Hotwire Insurance Services local agents can answer all your insurance requests.