Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff Fleet management is an evolving field. The biggest challenge managers often face with a fleet management program is securing funding for replacement and proper maintenance of vehicles, says Paul Lauria, president of Mercury Associates, a fleet-management consulting firm in Gaithersburg, Md.
He adds that avoiding investments in the fleet infrastructure might save money immediately but usually results in higher costs later. Managers also face a challenge in finding properly trained and experienced equipment mechanics, says Mark Teegen, fleet manager of Acres Enterprises in Wauconda, Ill. Louis handles repair issues by closely tracking equipment warranty periods. Several off-the-shelf software packages can flag repairs an existing warranty might cover, which is an excellent way for managers to help departments recover some maintenance expenses.
If a vehicle has problems and is under warranty, it goes back to the dealer for repairs. Their staffs have varying expertise, too. Technicians also have digital test meters and thermometers.
Analog pressure gauges are connected to the system being checked, and they register the pressure produced by the system or component. Computer technology has changed the way many managers operate, and a growing number use off-the-shelf software to aid in preparing effective reports. Managers also can use presentation software for training sessions, and a database can record all vehicle information.
Some specialized fleet-management software also incorporates global positioning technology that helps managers track the usage time and location of vehicles. Other modules help managers schedule routes, coordinate repairs, monitor parts inventories, track fuel and tires, and enable detailed analysis of productivity. Some software also will assist with scheduling and tracking grounds care functions.
With the use of the Internet and e-commerce, managers can efficiently research vehicles, buy parts and dispose of used equipment. With the amount of information available on the Internet, it is easy to compare vehicle features, dealer prices, parts availability and delivery schedules. All of this information can lead to increased efficiency and cost-effective purchasing.
Finally, organizations sometimes consider outsourcing their fleet management services as a way to combat rising costs, labor shortfalls and technological sophistication of vehicle management. They now become fleet contact administrators.We take a holistic approach to fleet management based on best practice asset management principles that considers not only whole-of-life costs but other important aspects such as strategic alignment, policy, demand analysis, operational performance, life cycle planning, risk management and management review.
Sound fleet management provides a robust foundation for planning investment, supporting capital and operational funding bids, ensuring efficient and effective life cycle management and guiding appropriate disposal. In short, good asset management reduces risk, improves efficiency and supports effective business outcomes.
By managing the fleet properly significant improvements can be made to operational effectiveness and the bottom line. The model is based on years of practical fleet management experience and best practice asset management principles. Each of the ten aspects considers in detail specific characteristics of effective and efficient fleet management.
For example, the Governance and Management aspect is broken down into characteristics relating to structures, authorities and responsibilities. Similarly, the Life Cycle Management aspect looks at characteristic such as procurement, maintenance, operating costs and disposal. Each of the ten aspects is assessed and evaluated in detail and an overall capability score provided.
This approach provides many benefits. Firstly the detail contained within the Ten Aspects of Fleet Management provides a comprehensive and quantifiable assessment of your fleet operation that is presented in a detailed report. Secondly, the process identifies opportunities for improvement that can be prioritised and implemented over time.
Thirdly the score provides a reference point against which improvement is measured and monitored over time, demonstrating to stakeholders, using a simple bar graph, a quantifiable and proactive approach to management and continuous improvement. Financial and operational pressures are forever present and seem to be increasing year on year. Fleet Managers must be able to justify the investment required to operate their fleet and to demonstrate that every dollar spent is for the right reason.
Having the answers is not enough, they need to be documented to ensure clarity, provide a common vision and direction for the team, identify opportunities for improvement and importantly to demonstrate sound governance and management to stakeholders. Featured Services. Fleet Consulting Fleet review and improvement Fleet management strategy development Fleet asset plans Financial analysis Lease v own, useful lives, whole of life cost Policy and procedure development and review Optimised replacement planning Safety and environmental improvements Benchmarking Utilisation analysis Information management requirements definition Specification preparation Fit for purpose fleet selection.
Our Methods. Download the 10 Aspects of Fleet Management. Fleet Management Asset Plan Financial and operational pressures are forever present and seem to be increasing year on year. Download the Fleet Management Asset Plan.Our team brings their deep financial, technological and business consulting expertise to every facet of your fleet program.
Our fleet management consultants work closely with you to identify opportunities for fleet optimization. Whether your objectives are driven by cost savingsdriver safetyor reduced environmental impact, our fleet management consulting services can help you achieve your goals. We are the market leader in helping customers mine their fleet data for meaningful, actionable insights. Our team of fleet management consultants will benchmark every aspect of the vehicle lifecycle, including acquisition and operating costs, vehicle efficiency, driver safety and liability, and more.
Every fleet is unique, and so is our approach. See More. We're here to help. Whether you're a fleet manager, driver or supplier, our fleet management experts have the answers. Connect with us today. Investor relations. Leveraging big data to drive impressive results. Benchmark Analysis Customized fleet benchmarking Quarterly business reviews Optimal replacement analysis Optimal amortization analysis Personal use charge analysis Idle asset analysis Alternative fuel analysis.
Recent Documents. Exceptional service. Fleet solutions tailored to your needs. Never miss an update Subscribe to Element Fleet news and thought leadership today. Have a question?In elementary school, I was an average to a below-average writer. I had a good foundation because I read a lot and liked writing.
However, I wrote without planning and often had disorganized content. What changed my writing style? One of my high school English teachers inspired me to start using writing outlines.
Strategic Fleet Management Focuses on Management by Objective
Then, I transformed from an average writer to an above average writer. Because I started creating outlines, I planned content before writing and focused on wordsmithing while writing! As a result, my work became well-organized. Similarly, fleet management plans help fleets identify priorities and plan projects. It then allows the fleet to create key performance indicators to monitor yearly goals.
I want to thank the team at the City of Edmonton who produced an excellent business plan and allowed us to reshare their plan. The City of Edmonton has a great introduction. The introduction is short yet informative, and even better, has a personal message from the Director! There are a few ways to do this. For example, some plans include a SWOT analysis. A SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and is an excellent way to paint a picture of the current situation. This is a great framework because the plan pinpoints the most critical business areas.
For instance, Occupational Health and Safety is marked as a likely and serious risk. As a result, Edmonton prioritized safety projects in its plan. Here is the meaty part of the business plan! Fleet plans should outline measurable objectives and outline ideas or projects that support meeting these targets.
Humans need plans to stay on target. A great example is my writing style. Edmonton The City of Edmonton has a great introduction. Measuring Success Finally, the business plan should indicate how to measure success.
Start Trial Now!Source: FleetAnswers Fleet managers spend much of their time planning for the next stage of their fleet.
From the purchase of new vehicles to the maintenance schedule good planning requires prioritizing the needs of the company and the fleet. When considering planning strategies, fleet managers must consider four key priorities.
Strategies for Developing a Fleet Management Program
The vehicles in your fleet are one of your top priorities. Your planning strategy needs to include plans for the types of vehicles you will own, the number you need and the way you will maintain them. When selecting vehicles, you must consider several factors, including the size and carrying capacity, the type of fuel, fuel efficiency and emissions.
Also, the type of work performed by the fleet must be considered. The vehicle that works best for a city fleet with all in-town miles will not be the same vehicle chosen by a service provider that serves multiple municipalities. Managers must also consider the intended lifespan of a vehicle, and the plan for replacement. Whether or not that plan will include electric vehicles must also be put into consideration, as the cost of fuel continues to increase.
Your fleet needs a stated plan for when vehicles will be replaced, and that plan should be outlined and adjusted every time you bring a new vehicle into the fleet. The replacement schedule needs to balance your costs of replacement with the costs of maintaining an older or outdated vehicle.
Before the recession, many fleets had a standard rule of thumb of replacing vehicles every three years and 60, miles, but tightened budgets have forced some changes. Averages are closer to 4 to 5 years now, with mileage less of a marker. Your fleet's replacement policies may vary depending on your needs and budgets, but you need to have a plan.
Failing to plan will leave you in a situation where you will not have money when a vehicle is not longer usable. Efficiency is becoming increasingly important for fleets as companies have a greater desire to "go green" and fuel costs continue to be problematic for tight budgets. Planning strategies need to include clear cut guidelines as to how to best improve the efficiency of the fleet, with a long-term goal of lowering emissions and improving fuel economy across the fleet. Efficiency strategies may include:.
As fuel efficiency grows as a priority for today's fleets, some are turning to alternative work arrangements. Instead of giving workers company vehicles and paying for mileage, companies are opting to let some work from home and avoid the costs of a company car.
While this will not work for every role, and some companies will need to continue to rely on fleets to deliver products or services, it is an option for some. For a fleet to run as effectively as possible, it has to work in conjunction with other departments in the company. The fleet manager needs to be able to collaborate with human resources, marketing, management and the finance department to make effective decisions that support the business as a whole.
Collaboration ensures that the funds are available for maintenance and replacement when they are needed. Your planning strategy needs to include clear-cut guidelines for this collaboration to ensure that the fleet manager retains the control needed over the fleet while also establishing a culture of communication with other departments. When creating a planning strategy for your fleet, you must consider both your current needs and priorities as well as those of the future.
Keeping these four planning priorities in mind will help you create a plan that is sustainable and effective. Have different fleet strategies and priorities that you would like to add to this list?
Please feel free to email them to me or write in the comments section below. Skip to main content. Search form Search. Error message User error : Failed to connect to memcache server: The vehicles The vehicles in your fleet are one of your top priorities. Replacement schedule Your fleet needs a stated plan for when vehicles will be replaced, and that plan should be outlined and adjusted every time you bring a new vehicle into the fleet.
Energy efficiency Efficiency is becoming increasingly important for fleets as companies have a greater desire to "go green" and fuel costs continue to be problematic for tight budgets.The greatest challenge facing the future of fleet management is how we see ourselves as a profession. Are we administrators of a fleet or are we managers? Do we manage our fleet from a tactical level — putting out the day-to-day fires — or from a strategic level focusing on achieving specific long-term objectives?
Do we practice strategic fleet management, which stresses the importance of achieving objectives and the use of metrics to benchmark progress?
In the future, you will need a strategic management focus to succeed in fleet management; otherwise, you run the risk of fading into irrelevancy. Many companies embrace strategic fleet management. These companies recognize the strategic aspect to fleet management and view vehicle acquisition, replacement planning, funding alternatives, and sourcing alliances with manufacturers and suppliers as high-level strategic corporate decisions.
The strategic objectives by which you manage your fleet will be shaped by these emerging trends. For instance:. These are the types of questions you need answered to practice strategic fleet management. All of these questions will be addressed at the AFLA conference.
How to Develop and Write a Fleet Management Business Plan
A more detailed description of the conference agenda is at www. A strategic fleet manager focuses on fleet policy development, safety programs initiatives, vehicle selector creation based on exhaustive lifecycle cost analyses, implementation of a corporate sustainability program, and the establishment of metrics to manage fleet suppliers.
Fleet managers who attend AFLA strive to rise above the level of simply managing day-to-day work. They are proactive and anticipate changes in their corporate environment. These fleet managers implement fleet programs that contribute to the achievement of overall company goals. For instance, some companies focus on cash flow, while others zero-in on employee retention, hiring, productivity, and satisfaction.
Each corporate objective dictates different policies and fleet programs. These managers manage the fleet to support these objectives. This type of fleet manager will always be needed, and his or her role is strengthened when a proactive management style is implemented to run the corporate fleet.
AFLA believes a professional fleet manager validates his or her importance day-in and day-out by cost-effectively managing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of corporate assets and controlling the expenses associated with operating these assets. It takes years of hard work to develop this level of fleet management expertise.Everyone understands how planning relates to success, and this is certainly true for fleet managers.
However, how much effort do fleets typically devote to planning? How many fleets have taken the time to develop a formal master planning document? What are the consequences of failing this? And, more importantly, what are the opportunities? For those with only general directions such as reducing costs and improving services, a plan probably seems superfluous and without added value. What more could a fleet need? Limited success is certainly possible without a formal plan, but excellence will elude these fleets.
And, with this is the constant struggle and frustration of trying to meet increasing customer expectations. Just like other endeavors, excellence requires more than just typical efforts. For those wanting more, a comprehensive plan offers a multitude of opportunities.
The planning process begins with identifying and formalizing goals. For some leaders, this may prompt a further review of customer service fundamentals so as to ensure effective goals.
This leads to identifying the multitude of required fleet management tools, capabilities, and related performance measures. Some of these may be new; adding to requirements simply not previously existing. And, while identifying some of these necessities can be simple, others can entail long-term efforts to finalize. The second role of a plan is to ensure continuity.
With the time involved and inevitable personnel changes, a required direction and focus must be maintained throughout. Without a formal planning document, this focus can be lost. The third essential key of creating a master plan comes from the process of developing it. With the review and associated study of all of the planning components and requirements, fleets can learn during the process. This further enhances the plan and their understanding of customer service.
There are many reasons why this practice is not common among fleets, one such being that all fleet leaders can relate to the day-to-day demands which often dominate the management focus. Another related issue involves the overriding role of technology, change, and the requisite constant focus, which is also inherent to all fleets.
With limited resources, both of these distract from other background requirements typically associated with providing customer service. Turning to accepted best practices, seeking other professional advice, and historic evidence for guidance works, but it overlooks many of the new opportunities available, and thus, it can substantially limit success.
Fleets seeking to excel must simply reach out beyond their comfort zone, and do things differently.
4 Key Components of Fleet Planning Strategies
Creating a fleet master plan can avoid, or at least mitigate, many of these issues. With the learning and development involved in a comprehensive plan, typical fleets will find opportunities to improve their services, support, and success. What are the opportunities? What are the goals? How are they going to be achieved? Even if the leader knows the answers to these; does everyone else in the fleet know or share them?
And, what happens if the leaders leave?