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Common Mistakes When Managing Your Fleet

Managing a fleet is no small task. From choosing the right vehicles to driver safety and scheduling, a lot could go wrong. To save you the headache, we’ve broken down some of the most common mistakes people make when managing their fleet and how to avoid them.

1. Not having a vehicle maintenance schedule

Unlike residential vehicles, fleet vehicles are on the road most of the time, meaning that it is even more important that there is a regular maintenance schedule. While it’s easy to put fleet maintenance off or regard it as non-essential, regular maintenance helps prevent greater repair costs in the future. 

Driver safety, fuel costs, and vehicle safety are all impacted by vehicle maintenance, so by not having a regular vehicle maintenance schedule, you’re not only risking high repair costs, you’re increasing your day-to-day costs.

2. Using the wrong type of vehicle

Choosing the wrong vehicles for your fleet can result in higher maintenance costs, fuel costs, and inefficient vehicle use. If you use your fleet for deliveries or moving inventory, then a van or small truck makes sense, but if your fleet is used for workers to commute to job sites or meetings, then a van would not be a good choice for your fleet.

On a more granular level, the vehicle model can impact fleet efficiency. When choosing fleet vehicles, consider the transport load required, the number of passengers, and where the vehicle will go. All these factors impact the engine type, size, and fuel efficiency you require for your fleet.

3. Not considering fuel consumption and efficiency

Fuel is an unavoidable cost for a fleet. While you can’t remove fuel from your ongoing costs completely, you can implement more fuel-efficient practices for your fleet. 

A major fuel waster is vehicles sitting idle. Over the course of a year, a truck that sits idle can cost your company thousands of dollars in wasted fuel. Providing drivers with training on fuel efficiency can help to instil better practices and dispel common myths about small engines using more fuel to restart than to sit idle and the engine needing to warm up before driving. 

Another way to reduce fuel costs is to implement GPS guidance in all vehicles. A GPS provides the shortest, quickest, or most efficient route for drivers and minimises delays due to drivers being stuck in traffic or simply getting lost.

4. Not providing adequate staff training and support

Drivers often spend long hours on the road. Fatigue, poor driving habits, short turnaround times, and unfamiliarity with a vehicle can all result in accidents. Provide drivers with adequate training on vehicle use, fuel-efficient practices, when to recognise fatigue and how to report issues to help minimise their risk of an accident while driving.

In addition to training, drivers need to feel supported by their fleet manager. By providing clear and positive support for your drivers, the drivers are more likely to report issues, voice concerns and be aware of company policy.

5. Under or over using vehicles

Depending on your fleet structure, vehicles may be individually assigned or shared across the fleet. Each has its pros and cons, but it is important to ensure that no one vehicle in your fleet is being over- or under-used.

Vehicle overuse reduces the vehicle resale value and requires more maintenance than other vehicles in the fleet.

Under-used vehicles can cause maintenance issues, including dead batteries and seized brakes. Under-used vehicles also become unfamiliar to drivers and increase the risk of accidents on the road. Most obviously, an underused vehicle is an underused asset for a business.

Regularly assess your fleet usage and ensure that the number of vehicles in your fleet is appropriate for your company. Look into fleet distribution across sites and check that each site has the vehicles they need and doesn’t have unused vehicles sitting on site.

To conclude

Improving fleet management can help a company save money and have safer drivers on the road. To effectively manage your fleet, you need to assess all aspects of the fleet and see where gaps are and brainstorm how to fix them.