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Originally Posted On: https://blog.linxup.com/blog/15-truck-fleet-management-tips-you-need-to-know
Effective fleet management is crucial for businesses that rely on a fleet of trucks to transport goods and materials. Not only does it help to ensure that vehicles are running efficiently and effectively, but it can also help to reduce costs, improve safety, and streamline operations. From scheduling regular maintenance and repairs to tracking fuel usage and monitoring driver behavior, there are a variety of strategies and technologies that can be used to optimize the performance of a truck fleet. In this article, we will explore the key elements of truck fleet management and discuss 15 truck fleet management tips and best practices for keeping your fleet running smoothly.
If you’re managing fleets for your company, you’ll need some valuable fleet management truck tips that go beyond the typical list. For the most productivity, you need fleet management expertise developed into the software tools you choose for GPS fleet tracking.
Hiring a fleet manager and implementing fleet tracking software have countless benefits and we think you should know more about that:
- The general purpose of fleet management is to protect your assets.
- When you add GPS tracking, your company can improve the efficiency of the driver’s performance. It also improves the maintenance of vehicles and increases their longevity.
- A fleet tracking system gives the fleet manager the ability to gain real-time data, including mapping, reporting, and maintenance alerts. There are additional benefits which we will explain later in the article.
Recognizing the need for better control of your trucks by implementing new fleet tracking is an important step.
Keep reading for 15 tips you can use to implement a fleet management system for your business and find out why so many of our customers tell us, “If we only found you sooner!”
1. Truck Fleet Management and Fleet Managers
Hiring a fleet manager tops our list of fleet management tips because leadership is important for a work crew to be successful.
Fleet managers have the role of overseeing your feet operations. They bring experience and knowledge of the overall management process.
Your fleet managers understand the analytical data received from various software and know how to work with truck management software to optimize fleet operations.
The person in this role provides proactive solutions. They understand that being reactive ultimately costs the business money so they use tools of the trade in order to proactively plan ahead and foresee risks.
There is a difference between fleet managers and fleet dispatchers, although the same person can operate in both roles.
When hiring someone to fulfill this role, you want to ensure they can:
- Schedule driver training
- Understand vehicle maintenance
- Track registration renewals
- Maintains vehicle insurance
- Keep up with employee documentation
- Can perform route planning
In some roles, the fleet manager is responsible for preparing the operations budget for the fleet department.
They must be able to interact with leadership, vendors and customers, plus prepare reports.
2. GPS Tracking Software
GPS tracking for trucks helps manage your fleet in real-time. You can ensure drivers follow the correct routes for best times and efficiency. Driver’s productivity increases when they know their movement is being monitored.
In addition to tracking vehicles and pre-planning routes, you can also get valuable analytical data. The data can get used to discuss performance with your teams.
Fleet tracking software provides custom alerts that monitor the driving behaviors of the driver and vehicle. The fleet manager will know if they removed the GPS or turned it off.
Another feature of interest is GPS tracking cameras. Similar to dash cam video, tracking cameras save route history and allow you to send tips and information in real-time.
3. Purchase Vehicles With Built-in Telematics
Telematics features is part of the fleet tracking system. Many truck manufacturers are now offering this feature in their commercial vehicles. Telematics features have both free and subscription-based options.
The feature allows fleet managers, management, and dispatchers to receive real-time vehicle information in their truck management software.
Telematics programs include GPS fleet tracking software. They provide alerts about the vehicle’s performance in more detail. For example, you’ll get alerted when it’s time for routine maintenance or if a sensor activates.
You’ll no longer need to wait for recall notices to arrive in the mail. Instead, you’ll receive a digital alert via truck management software.
Built-in telematics features also come with an app that helps improve communications between the driver and dispatch. It drives accountability and input from drivers.
4. Geofence Alerts
With geofencing, the dispatcher can set parameters for each fleet. The feature is excellent for fleets drivers assigned delivery zones.
The dispatcher receives an alert if the driver goes outside the zone by setting parameters for assigned zones. The programs operate via several mediums, including:
- Cellular data,
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
You also have the option to set controls on how often you receive alerts. For example, if the driver leaves the zone, send an alert if they do not re-enter within a set amount of time.
The data isn’t only to alert when the driver has left the area. You can also receive helpful information from within the parameters. For example, the vehicle is idle for 30 minutes or longer.
Geofencing technology is a fleet management software feature that provides fleet managers with one of the most valuable tools. This feature. is packed with value, saving huge amounts of time. It can prevent theft, help with payroll, and improve compliance.
5. Performance Metrics
Tracking your performance metrics is essential to an effective truck fleet management program. The metrics track your fleet performance. With the information, you keep real-time data that assists with keeping vehicles on the road.
Your fleet remains available at higher rates when you keep track of your performance metrics. You’re more likely to schedule routine maintenance on time, reducing mechanical failures.
The expense of tow services and emergency repairs is reduced significantly. Today’s technology, when used correctly, can improve your fleet operations.
Understanding metrics helps your company implement strategies that improve overall efficiency from fleet to maintenance.
6. Condition Based Maintenance (CBM)
Vehicles provide sensors and computer-generated reports to inform fleet owners of issues. Condition Based Maintenance relies on that data.
The downside to CBM is that it relies on certain factors before the sensor is activated.
Manufacturers recommend that vehicles get an oil change when driven a set number of miles. However, there isn’t a sensor that alerts the driver that it’s time for a routine oil change.
Yet, if the vehicle is driven for an extended period and an issue is detected, the check engine sensor will be activated.
The sensor was conditioned to activate because the lack of oil or poor oil qualities impacted the vehicle’s operation.
7. Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
Predictive Maintenance is the schedule provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer. As mentioned above in the section on CBM, the manufacturer makes maintenance recommendations to assist with the vehicle’s performance. The above example shows the oil should be changed at x miles.
We have the same recommendations for rotating or replacing tires, switching out filters, and getting a tune-up. The vehicle keeps performing at high levels and increases longevity by following these recommendations.
There are numerous truck fleet maintenance tips to improve your PdM. First, fleet managers need buy-in from management. Although the manufacturer makes recommendations, you should know the wear and tear on your vehicles.
Implement strategies where you take inventory of the current condition of vehicles. To preset routine maintenance checks. Train drivers to become proactive in reporting issues or better yet automate alerts so you know when it’s time to perform maintenance on your vehicles.
You also want to investigate incorporating a computerized maintenance management system.
8. Preventive Maintenance (PM)
Preventive Maintenance (PM) is a strategy that helps your drivers and technicians recognize an issue with a vehicle. Early detection and repair prevent vehicles from breaking down. It also eliminates the additional cost of tow services and having a vehicle out of commission for an extended period.
PM relies on predictive maintenance to detect failures in vehicle parts.
Fleet management tips suggest using data from fleet tracking systems to stay abreast of the condition of your trucks. Create independent maintenance schedules to ensure routine maintenance is done on time.
Also, create reporting strategies for drivers to report irregularities as they occur. Your drivers are your best source of the condition of the vehicle.
9. Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) is a strategy that looks to prevent major failures in the fleet. These failures can lead to extensive losses for the company. RCM relies on preventive maintenance to reduce vehicle failures.
Things like tire blowouts, engine failures, busted radiators, and more are preventable with proper maintenance. RCM relies heavily on the vehicle maintenance department.
Vehicle maintenance teams need the required fleet maintenance technology to schedule maintenance. They are also charged with scheduling maintenance that provides the least disruption or downtime.
10. Driver Management System
Driver management systems are another fleet management tip you’ll find useful when selecting fleet tracking software. It is essential to understand your driver’s role in truck fleet management.
The driver is your first line of defense when maintaining your fleet. You want to build a team of drivers committed to the company. They also must understand that it costs the company money when the fleet is off the road.
DMS has reporting capabilities for the driver and allows your dispatchers and fleet managers to assess the driver’s performance.
Some people may see it as spying on drivers, but the company is actually protecting its investments. It is your job to ensure drivers are operating vehicles safely and are where they are following assigned schedules.
Most importantly, the software provides telematics data and helps track fuel usage.
11. Fleet Safety Procedures
Consistently look for fleet management tips that improve safety and reduce vulnerability for your company. We are in an era where business models continue to change based on current conditions. Your company may be relying on independent truckers.
You could also have drivers utilizing vehicles not owned by your company.
It’s crucial to have safety procedures in place to protect your assets and your brand. Here are protocols for truck fleet management of drivers.
Set standards for hiring practices. Make a list of requirements every hire must-have. These requirements include education, years of experience, licenses, certifications, and classifications.
Create written policies and require all drivers to adhere to them. Outline disciplinary actions based on the severity of the infraction.
Provide adequate training for drivers. Remember, experience in cross-country driving is not the same experience required to make local deliveries.
Build an employee database or use software to manage employee records. Include the following information:
- License(s) renewal dates
- Compliance training certifications
- Accident or infraction logs
- Vehicle maintenance data
It is also reporting to have reporting procedures. Mandate that drivers report all incidents, big or small. Also, ensure your maintenance teams keep track of all vehicle damage and have a reporting process in place.
12. Parts Inventory
Tracking your parts inventory will have a direct impact on your bottom line. Fleet managers oversee the department budgets. They must be able to account for how every dollar is spent.
Tips to help with fleet inventory includes:
Ensure all work orders identify parts purchased, when they’re used, and on which vehicle. If parts are purchased and not used, identify if they’re returned or stored for future use. Include a usage report for active inventory.
Create Security Protocols
Parts should not be accessible to everyone. Create protocols on who can remove parts from inventory and how it’s documented.
Inventory Control Systems
Invest in software that tracks inventory from the time of purchase to when and how it’s used. Set up alerts from high-ticket items. Review your records monthly.
13. Asset Utilization
Fleet asset utilization is often overlooked when managing fleets. In cases where drivers are allowed to take company vehicles home, you need a system to measure actual work usage.
There are three key performance indicators in asset management.
- Days used
- Hours driven
- Mileage numbers
Utilizing this data will help your company with scheduling routes more effectively. It works towards better staffing. Plus, you can schedule routine maintenance that does not interfere with service to your customers.
14. Fuel Management System
Consider investing in a fuel management system to track fuel usage and efficiency. Coupled with fleet tracking software, you can develop cost savings by creating more efficient routes.
You may also want to invest in a fuel service where your fleet is refueled on-site. Fuel companies offer volume discounts. Fuel cards are another cost savings method that is cost-effective.
15. Outsourced Maintenance Automation
Small to medium-sized businesses don’t always have budgets for maintenance teams. Instead, they outsource vehicle maintenance.
To keep track of repairs and services, use outsourced automation. This way, you know where your fleet is at all times, what services have been performed, and the cost.
Scheduling maintenance around downtimes is also beneficial to your overall truck fleet management.
Take Control of Your Fleet Management
Truck fleet management is doable with the right tools and action plan. Choosing the right software will make a huge difference. Having the capabilities to monitor both your fleet and drivers is essential.
In addition, utilizing the latest technology is faster and more efficient. You’ll have data at your fingertips instead of sifting through paper files.
After reading our feet management tips, are you ready to move forward? If your business can benefit from fleet tracking software, we can help. Click here to contact us today or to explore more of our GPS trackers.
Feel free to get in touch with our friendly sales team, click here on your phone or dial 1-877-732-4980.