Learning Zone

Five Steps to Creating the Perfect Fleet

By Lily Hartley
25 January 2021

Selecting vehicles for your business will take up a major part of your budget.

It’s vital you make the right decisions, but there are no easy solutions to this because there are so many factors involved. You’ve got to keep your employees happy while, at the same time, keeping a handle on costs.

So it’s no wonder that when it comes to vehicle selection, one of the biggest questions we hear is, “how can I make the best procurement decisions?”.

In our view, the best strategy involves doing your research and assessing all of the factors that could impact budget, capital expenditure decisions, leasing options and cost of ownership.

We know that every fleet is different. However, if you want to select the most appropriate vehicles for your fleet, all of these factors need to be considered and weighed against your business requirements.

Above all, remember that this all takes sound and accurate knowledge. With this in mind, our biggest recommendation is “always do your research”.

Here are our top five things you should consider when selecting your fleet vehicles:

 

Use and operation

The first thing you need to do is ensure you’re choosing vehicles which are suitable for the job. At this stage you should avoid any brand or manufacturer-specific parameters that might limit choices. Instead, focus on the required vehicle features and capabilities. Think about what it will be used for and consider things such as:

What types and amounts of supplies, products or equipment will your vehicle carry? For example, is a traditional boot important so that goods are out of sight, or is it more important to have the larger carrying capacity and easier access to cargo that an SUV provides?

Standardisations and specifications

Now it’s time to make some key specification choices. This will help to:

  • Support corporate objectives and branding (remember, vehicles are a main part of a customer’s contact with your company and they can therefore portray a certain image)
  • Ensure employees are always given the most appropriate vehicles for their job roles
  • Support streamlined maintenance programs, technician training and parts inventories

What kind of standardisations should you consider? Well, you could specify that vehicles must have emissions under a certain level, or that engine sizes are capped according to job role or experience. For example, you may offer vehicles with a larger engine size to senior managers, and so on.

Selecting the right fuel and engine type is increasingly important. These factors should always be near the top of your spec list because fuel spend is likely to represent one of your biggest budget outlays.

And nowadays it’s not just about choosing petrol or diesel – a growing number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles are also now available. To identify the best type of engine for your operation, you should research fuel types’ pros and cons, and cross-reference your findings against your requirements.

 

User requests and additional extras

We know some businesses allow a degree of flexibility when it comes to vehicle selection, in the form of additional extras and ‘perks’ designed to boost staff satisfaction.

However, while employee satisfaction is essential not only to customer satisfaction but for vehicle durability and efficient operation, it’s important to ensure that employee demand for comfort and convenience extras is aligned with your operational objectives.

 

Safety

If reducing accident costs is a high priority for your fleet, then we recommend considering technologies that are designed to enhance safety and mitigate the potential for accidents – for instance lane keep assist, emergency braking, etc.

But be prepared: some of these systems are expensive optional extras so you’ll need to undertake a thorough cost-benefit analysis of those solutions. It’s worth considering that better accident management might go hand-in-hand with a faster return on investment and lower costs.

 

Maintenance and upkeep

It’s easy to overlook the cost of maintenance when choosing vehicles. Be sure to do your research into projected costs for a vehicle’s routine service needs, parts and labour. Then, look into warranty coverage to check how it will offset projected repair costs.

If you have fleet management software, you may also be able to use your fleet-related information to learn what vehicles work best for your operations, and why.

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