Truck fleet management is a critical task for a business. By using the right strategy, it can help to lower costs, improve efficiencies, mitigate risks, and offer higher profit margins.
The process is highly complex, in part, due to the variety of tasks it entails. Far from just focusing on the maintenance of a fleet or only handling the Human Resources (HR) side of hiring drivers, truck fleet management encompasses every single aspect of a fleet’s operation.
For the fleet manager looking to improve their strategy, the following must-know tips will help you hone in on the methods that offer the greatest benefit to your business.
Whether you manage a small fleet of five vehicles or a much larger operation with 100s of trucks, trailers, and more, these tips will provide real-life applications and a focus on overall strategy improvements.
1. A Good Strategy Involves Impeccable Recordkeeping
Recordkeeping is a central component in truck fleet management. Without quality recordkeeping, it is impossible to track and act on the data gathered. Recordkeeping includes all of the following integral components:
- A detailed record of all maintenance performed on every fleet vehicle
- Proper paperwork for any driver hired, including proof of a valid driver’s license with the appropriate class requirements, pre-employment proof of drug and alcohol screening, and a DOT medical card
- A record of driving routes, idling times, driver down-times, and current vehicle locations
- Driver hour logs
- All data pertaining to safety and any recorded safety incidents
- Recordkeeping is about more than simply compliance with the law. When quality records are kept, it is much easier to access data, analyze it, and act on it.
2. Find a Trusted Partner for Acquisition
While truck fleet management has a strong focus on maintenance, recordkeeping, and other ongoing tasks, it all begins with the acquisition of the right fleet vehicles. An improved acquisition process will lead to greater efficiencies throughout the entire truck fleet management life cycle.
- Find a trusted partner that will offer all of the following:
- High-quality inventory of trucks backed by trusted manufacturers
- A company that offers fleet vehicle and parts maintenance options
- A partner that provides in-house financing with the flexibility to opt for purchase or lease depending on your business’ needs
- A team focused on superior customer service
Fleet maintenance becomes less complex when you start with the right vehicles. Outfitting your fleet with high-quality trucks backed by trusted manufacturers and a reliable sales team will help cut down on the cost of repairs and vehicle replacement. This improves your team’s efficiencies while also contributing to higher profitability for your company.
3. Risk Management Is a Critical Task
Protecting your fleet is made possible through proper risk management. Without a risk management strategy in place, you will only ever be reactive to issues that arise.
A proactive risk management strategy should include all of the following key points highlighted below:
- Ongoing safety training — drivers should always have access to the right safety training to lower their risk on the road. This includes everything from driver safety to training on the utilization of emergency equipment.
- Clear cut written policies — take the time to ensure that your truck fleet management strategy includes a detailed approach to building out safety policies. These policies should be easy to access, understood by all employees, and constantly circulated amongst staff.
- Vehicle safety management — while driver safety is critical to risk management, fleet managers should also focus on the safety of each vehicle in their fleet. This includes planned maintenance, scheduled inspections, and proper documentation.
4. Cost-Savings Needs to Involve an Integrated Approach
It can seem better to focus on one aspect of truck fleet management as the key to lowering costs, however, cost savings involves an integrated approach. For this reason, building out a robust strategy that touches on every aspect of truck fleet management is critical to successfully lowering costs.
A few key areas to focus strategically on include the following points:
- Lowered acquisition costs by choosing the ideal vehicles for your fleet
- Improved fuel efficiency
- Proactive maintenance to prevent costly downtime
- Vehicle tracking aimed at improving driver routes
5. The Right Technology Can Make Tracking and recordkeeping Easier
The good news for today’s fleet managers is that technology is helping to ease the common pain points in tracking and recordkeeping. Gone are the days of manually recording each data point.
One major recordkeeping task that has benefited from technology- keeping a log of Hours of Service (HOS). After a mandate that went into effect in December 2017, HOS can be logged electronically through a compliant Electronic Logging Device (ELD). Not only does this streamline recordkeeping, but it also contributes to better risk management as it lowers the instances of dangerous driving caused by exhausted drivers.
GPS tracking also improves numerous aspects of recordkeeping including all of the following:
- Real-time tracking of each vehicle in the fleet
- Proof points for on-time deliveries
- The ability to send ETAs to customers without interrupting drivers
Technology is constantly evolving to provide better insights into truck fleet management. For this reason, it is important to consider where technology can improve the management process. From keeping track of maintenance records to tracking drivers in real-time, technology can help to improve efficiencies in the management process.
A key when assessing technology options is to focus on what manual tasks can become automated. Not only does this save time, but automation of data tracking can help to reduce human error, leading to more accurate results.
Improving Truck Fleet Management Starts with Your Partners
Truck fleet management relies heavily upon the partnerships built. From the acquisition process to ongoing fleet maintenance, choosing the right team to work with is critical to enacting a quality strategy. Transwest is proud to be a chosen partner in fleet management.
From choosing the right trucks for your fleet to ensuring maintenance tasks are handled promptly, our team is committed to quality customer service and in assisting you with your truck fleet management tasks. We have locations all across the United States and Canada.